Wonderful Seafood dinner last night

We hesitated to do the buffet but it was pretty good, prawns, scallops, clams, roast beef, lotus salad, grapefruit and shrimp salad snails

Live music
It’s Womans Day today in Vietnam

Great dinner with best buddies, several lemongrass martinis

Art in the hotel
The view from our balcony in the morning

Drinking coffee on the Veranda, feeling that reality is coming soon. we will ferry to the mainland get a taxi to the Mekong Delta, overnight and get a taxi to Ho chi mahn City. We have hotels booked but not transportation yet. The last hotel is just to shower and organize our flight is around 11pm

Phu Quoc

Breakfast yesterday. Most places we stay at have Buffett breakfasts. They have all the usual stuff be we tend to get the Pho. Each place is different. Todays was a fish base, thin vermicelli rice noodles. We also try the new things.

Motor biking was exhilarating! It just works. Very few accidents. Lots of beeping. You must concentrate on the road under you, on traffic on all sides. We biked to the south part of the island and got lost a few times.

Pineapple cut for Sally
Yesterdays pool
Yesterdays pool
What is this?
Lard to catch fish
Stairs to nowhere
Swing in the water
Boats at the harbor
Trying to find the fish sauce factory
Beautiful lobster
Not the fish factory

We biked from 11am til 5 pm

Welcome drink and ice cold towel

Next hotel. Even better hotel. Less kids nicer staff

In Phu Quoc

Taxi from hotel to Hanoi airport. Same deal with getting the tickets back and forth and then pay for the luggage. We were there early so booked the nights hotel and worked out ideas for the rest of the trip with a cold beer. Nice beachfront hotel. Just a few minutes from the airport . Hung out at the beach. Then taxi to Irish Pub that disappointed us.

Papaya salad with soft shell crab
Winner for dinner was duck!

Bought a box of red wine. Had some in the room. Tomorrow we change hotels and hope for no rain.

More more pics

Home stay bedroom

We had a choice of a homestay or actually in someone’s house. Homestay is a separate room, cleaner but you still share the bathroom. The floor was clean not sure about the sheets. They didn’t stink. We slept well but that could have been exhaustion too.

Julie and Ching returned from another couple hours of trekking and the preparation for dinner. We made spring rolls and Panko fried chicken, buffalo and veggies, and some other stuff. So much food and of course everyone was in the tiny , sweltering kitchen, even the dog and cat.

Dog in the trash
Chong’s cute baby “V”
Spring rolls
Rice wine
Front yard
Side yard

Time for bed. I wasn’t sure if I could trek the next day. Uneventful day until the rooster started crowing right outside our room.

Morning view
Peaceful movement for Julie

Pancakes with bananas and honey

Work out room
Our hostess Ma
The mirror
Julie and Ching heading off for another 2-3 hour trek.
The view
Back to Sa Pa


The infamous BBQ
Train cabin for two or four.
Coffee in Sa Pa with condensed sweetened milk
Original moms with babies taking people trekking
My favorite picture of the trip
You can’t tell how steep and narrow the path is, trust me, no slipping here
But this is where my knee started to hurt
Home cooked lunch here
Rice dries for a day if it’s sunny
View from the homestay. I arrived on motorbike. I couldn’t walk anymore

I slipped at one point and my leg went out laterally and I jammed my wrist. Didn’t seem like an issues but another hour and a half of trekking, it got my attention. I was able to have a motorbike take me to the homestay while Julie trekked more. Lunch was made for us by a local woman, the ride on the motorbike was pretty scary. The path narrow and sometimes wet and rocky. I just kept looking forward through the uphills and downhills. The helmet would have done nothing for me if we went over the edge.

Sa Pa to Hanoi

Looking for bus:

Our wonderful Sa Pa sister guide reserved a sleeper bus for us. No idea what that meant. She also arranged for a taxi. We hobbled, well I did, to an ATM. Yay got money!! Then looking for shopping. I had just so many steps that I can take. Learned a new skill from Julie, for impaired knees and going up and down steps: up to heaven with the good foot, down to hell with the bad knee and it worked. Not much to shop for. Decided a beer would be a good idea. I didn’t care where but Julie wanted to be in the sun. All her sweat had dried and now she was cold. I didn’t care. So we sat down at the first outside place. She checked around to see if there was a better place. Ordered beers, they never have the ones we order so we got what we got and then realized that we had five minutes before the taxi came. Julie graciously went to get the back packs and we verified with the SaPA Sister desk that the taxi was here she said she had to order it so we went up to the street. More stairs. We think someone else took our taxi. Another driver comes up. We say bus, he says yes, we say 50,000 dong, he says yes. We repeat, he says yes. We get in. He drives around then stops randomly and makes a call. Then he doesn’t know where we want to go! Wtf!! Then he gives me the phone. It’s SaPa sisters and I say yes, we want to go to the bus station. He grumbles and takes us to a street and says it’s the bus. Not again!! There are busses to the right and left. We asked our guide what was the name of the bus, and where do we go. She said they would see us! Ugg. We went to the left. A lady at the desk said no tickets, not available until 5:30pm. We tried to say we had a reservation and that we could pay for the tickets. She was so unpleasant. Then a man from the bus motioned our way, seemed like he was saying that there was room. She was on the phone, others were waiting. And then a nicely dressed woman with make up said come this way. I answered who are you. Julie asked if she knew Ching at Sa Pa sister and she did. So another leap of faith! There have been so many this trip that haven’t worked out so well. She took my heavy backpack. Word was out that I was injured, again!! She basically flagged down a bus, driver came out, luggage stowed and take off your shoes before you go in. It was a bus with three sets of reclining seat, staggered upper and lower with room to put your small stuff by your feet. It has internet and maybe a bathroom! This has been the craziest trip!! Four hours to Hanoi. We have a hotel and no idea what we are doing next! Well first the hospital for some Rabies stuff, I hope

Train escapade. Hanoi to Sa Pa

So back to the train story….After wandering around in the Old Quarter, trying to get on a self-guided walking tour, especially looking for the Craft Beer area we walked back to our old Hotel. They had kept our bags. We asked about some BBQ places from our wine store and he suggested back by the beer area. I thought I booked a hotel for near that train station but before we taxied there I decided to check. It wasn’t. The train to SaPa was in a different direction. We still wanted to try the BBQ. Our hotel people got us a taxi for way less than we had been spending. The driver was a little angry when the road was blocked by construction. It looked very close but he was nice enough to go around. As we neared the hotel, we could see the map showing the end of our destination and no hotel. The road was getting very narrow. Again he was nice enough to check and see if there was a hotel. There was. No need for passports since we would leave around 9pm. Had a little wine and went out to look for BBQ. As I have learned in the past, train stations can be confusing and the booking site said that it was. We were happy to see that the train station was, indeed, very close to the hotel about a half mile. We checked at the counter, right place, right tickets. Be back at 9:20. I had been arguing with a Viator person about our booking. She wanted name birthdate, passport number etc and we gave it to Viator already. We had a confirmed ticket, paid for with a code to scan. We left in search of BBQ. We thought that we may have seen one across the street from the station, but you never want to eat so close to the station, touristy. Well we walked up and down streets, looking at and vetoing many restaurants on the way. We wanted BBQ! All of a sudden we were at the Prison that at we had been at earlier in the day! Executive decision, let’s walk back to the old hotel and have the BBQ we wanted. They had been closed when we were there earlier. Got a bit lost on the way, damn GPS. This has happened before and why the Hell don’t I get SIM cards? Mostly because I don’t understand them. I had one in Saudi Arabia and it was a pain in the ass to get and to put in my phone but they did it for me. As we got closer, saliva running down our chin ( was Rabies hitting so quick) it was still closed, wait, no, it wasn’t! We were able to sit right down and order. Three choices small, medium and large, a small burner was on the table they brought sterno, lit it and put two little trays with sauces on the burner. There was some oil. Then a platter of raw beef and chicken, another with lettuce and other greens, onions, zucchini, okra, eggplant and tomatoes and a basket with two baguettes and a small sealed container with margarine. Watching others we just started cooking up the food. Oil splattering everywhere. Was it a great meal? Not really but fun!!

Back to our trusty hotel for another taxi. This time it was a meter. We were headed in the right direction. He suddenly dropped us off and said 200 meters and pointed. We walked and walked in that direction and no train station. We thought that we were making it easier to get to the train station rather than our hotel. We went into a hotel and described our situation and the bell hop escorted us for several blocks and pointed and said 100 meters that way. Then we got stuck on a very long road that was very local, no side streets, no hotels. At the end of the street we tried to get in a taxi. He looked at the map and told us to get out. Next we tried a security guard. It’s getting late now. We are tired and hot and sweaty. We have been joking about how “hot” we are but it’s really about how hot and sweaty we have been. As we talk to the security guard, a motorbike pulls up. He asks if we need help, or motions that. He would be good at pantomimes as we were becoming too. He said that he could take us to the train on his motorbike. With a second of hesitation we jumped on. Though the streets, passing other motor bikes, in puddles, in a traffic jam we realize we are at The Temple of Literature, not the train. He did not understand us. I think we even made Chu Chu sounds. There was no way that we were going to make it. I popped into another hotel asking for train station and he said yes, 100 meters down the street and take a right. What the f? Is that just the automated response? So we did that and then some things started to look familiar. We started running a bit, it’s dark and the sidewalks are broken up in many places. We tear through the hotel, jammed our stuff in our bags and ran to the station. We were lucky that we knew where the gate was but the tickets weren’t right. They needed what the Annoying Viator person asked for. I needed internet. It was not good. A man who may have worked there, offered his hotspot. And after a long time we had the right tickets, basically the same as we had and boarded the train. It took a minute to find our private car but we finally did. I can’t believe that we made it. And so many wrong directions. A little wine and the rocking of the train put us right to sleep.

A 5 am wake up. We ordered coffee but it never arrived. Now for a 55 minute bus to the actual city


Train story soon, it’s crazy! Once we got to SaPa, as usual difficult to figure out where we were and where we were supposed to be. Asked a taxi driver and as usual 100-200 meters in that direction too. And to the right.

We found it with out too much trouble, checked in paid. Sometimes my cards work and sometimes Julie’s do. I think my ATM is blocked. Had time for breakfast and we chose right nest door after yesterday’s fun. Eggs and pho. Each pho is different, some better than others and some places have more condiments to put in. Repacked a few things so we just had a small backpack. And away we went. Suddenly we were climbing over a small fence and heading down. It looked like a local dump with loose stones and bricks. Julie was excited. I was not!

Sa Pa Sisters Adventure
Sa Pa
Ching our guide