Gertie's Asia Trip 2010

Old May 7th, 2010, 05:50 AM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 26,411
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
gertie - well, I'm over 60 too, and I don't see why I should put up with it.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old May 7th, 2010, 06:01 AM
  #42  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,903
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
March 29
LAOS
Met my daughter at the airport in Luang Prabang (she had come in from SGN via BKK) and we are now ensconced in a little guesthouse by the river. This is a lovely laid-back little town, full of wats, orange-clad monks, bars and restaurants and quirky bookshops. Perfect for sitting about and doing not much. Very gaijin-friendly and full of the French.

We are off to explore the famous waterfall nearby and meet up with a friend of hers who happens to be here at the same time (it doesn't only happen to me).

After 5 days of rain in Hue, LP is hot and steamy again with occasional strong winds and torrential downpours, one if which this afternoon left the streets littered with fallen tree branches and debris. Power went out too!
Love it here. We have had a sunset cruise on the river all by ourselves, gorgeous light and lots of activity to watch. Got up early one morning to see the monks walking through town with their bowls for offerings. We felt a bit like gawpers here as there were so many tourists doing the same things. The monks carried on regardless.
Did a bit of shopping in the night market for my friends in Hong Kong. What do you get for people who live in one of the world’s best shopping cities? Laos handicrafts in my case.


April 3
Flew Luang Prabang to Hanoi. 3 nights there in the Queen of Heart Hotel. My daughter’s pick. Very central, lovely people who were amazingly helpful in answering all kinds of questions, nice rooms, decent breakfast in very sociable setting where we met fellow travelers, internet…

HANOI
We had an inauspicious first weekend in Hanoi. It drizzled and rained the whole time. Looks like Old Asia in the movies, full of narrow alleyways and unimaginable shops and stalls selling all kinds of things. Street food everywhere and women wearing coolie hats carrying huge loads on bamboo poles over their shoulders. Very little unreconstructed people’s republic in evidence.
I spent a day walking everywhere. In the Old Quarter, round the lake, into the French Quarter, across to the temple, then the rain came down in buckets. Never made it to Uncle Ho’s Mausoleum , and the Water Puppets were sold out. I hate rain.

April 6
Halong Bay

Then set off on a 3 day tour to Halong Bay in the rain. What a joy it was. Amazing natural rock formations in the sea, layers and layers as far as the eye can see. Misty and all shades of grey. We had a variety of boats, lots of lovely food, a night on a junk and another in a nice hotel, a jungle trek and some sea kayaking for the foolhardy, a spectacular cave, I could go on. Cups of tea on deck. G&Ts in a waterfront bar. And as a bonus, the rain cleared up and we even saw the sun. And wonderful company, 6 French Canadians and 7 Germans. Good language practice and no other English speakers for once. One of the best tours I've done.

Now we're back in Hanoi for tonight and off to Hong Kong in the morning. When I planned this trip I never thought it would all unfold to this point and here I am....
gertie3751 is offline  
Old May 7th, 2010, 06:19 PM
  #43  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 443
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Only one comment, Gertie, gaijin is Chinese. So you should say "falang friendly" in Lao. Also I agree, 60 is young!
Vientianeboy is offline  
Old May 7th, 2010, 06:20 PM
  #44  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 443
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sorry too early for me, meant Japanese of course.
Vientianeboy is offline  
Old May 7th, 2010, 11:31 PM
  #45  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,121
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This is thursday's button. We all have one. I grind my teeth and only just resist violence when someone asks the inevitable question, then reels in amazement that somebody of sixty could be A: alive, B: still upright, C: traveling on the own and D: actually happy about it.

'You DEFY Sixty!' they bray, 'incredible!'

'Thank you, thank you...' I say.

'Come any closer and I will kill you,' I think.
dogster is offline  
Old May 8th, 2010, 05:18 AM
  #46  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,903
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
HONG KONG
April 9
Flew on Vietnam Air Hanoi to Hong Kong.
Pints of G&T on the Cheung Chau ferry and fish on the waterfront. Central, Stanley market, Mid-levels escalator, Star Ferry to Kowloon. Aberdeen harbour has been all cleaned up. Trying hard to remember my way around as it has all changed so much since the 70s/80s. Weather isn’t good enough to go up The Peak.

April 12
MACAU
Just back from a quick trip across the Pearl River. Lovely to be in Europe-in-Asia. Cobbled streets, narrow lanes, pastel-coloured buildings, signs in Portuguese, but mainly what a change from last time I was there. A whole new area has been reclaimed and the 2 off-islands Taipa and Coloanne have been joined together in a huge casino complex complete with The Venetian (as cheesy as Vegas). We managed to avoid the worst excesses, had lunch at Fernandos and dinner at Litoral, stuffed ourselves with fresh fish, custard pies and gelato. Not to mention bottles of vinho verde.

April 17
Endgame
Well, who'd have thought it. After 13 weeks, foiled by a volcano! Here I am in rainy HK unable to get my flight back to London then to TX. Husband has airmiles and I'm looking at a trip across the Pacific. Pictures of people stranded in airports all over the world aren't encouraging.

Hong Kong has been a tour de force of eating and drinking and talking about old times. Daughter has gone back to work in Saigon and I think I must be mentally ready to go home. Hope I can get there.

April 18
15 hour flight HKG to EWR. Then a short hop to IAH and I’m home. Lucky me, lots of people are stranded in all kinds of unspeakable places.


REFLECTIONS
What a great time I had.
No major problems. Nothing stolen, nothing lost.
Baggage was manageable. I took my little bag on wheels. Started at 15kg and discarded stuff along the way!
I did less solo travel than usual. This was just the way this trip worked out.
Wouldn’t recommend India solo for a first-timer.
It was all so COLOURFUL.
Took far too many pictures. Sorting through them became a chore.
Amazed I didn’t get sick. Beginners luck.
Didn’t spend THAT much. The places I went to are relatively inexpensive.
13 weeks just flew by. Some friends wondered how I could stay ‘on the road’ for so long.
Certainly will go back to Vietnam. Not sure about India until I can afford Oberoi class.
gertie3751 is offline  
Old May 8th, 2010, 06:45 AM
  #47  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,470
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, Gertie, for a great report!
Marija is offline  
Old May 8th, 2010, 07:06 AM
  #48  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 26,411
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Welcome home, gertie, and thanks for the report. So glad you had a good time. Wait a month or so, and then think again about India. It's insidious...
thursdaysd is offline  
Old May 9th, 2010, 03:51 PM
  #49  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,025
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Gertie and Thursday, I plan to book my train tickets in advance online (already have booked some internal flights), but I do have some question marks in my itinerary that will necessitate making arrangements along the way.

I can see the benefit of a driver for certain parts of the trip - silly question, but would a solo woman sit in the front seat or the back?

Thurs, even though I try to pack light, my cameras and associated gear are bulky and weigh me down. So I'll have a heavy camera bag that will remain glued to my shoulder, plus whatever I decide for carrying my clothes etc (with plenty of empty room for all the clothes I plan to buy!).
Nutella is offline  
Old May 9th, 2010, 03:57 PM
  #50  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 26,411
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
I think it's your choice where to sit. I usually sit in the front, because the view is better, but you're safer in the back. Although maybe Indian cars come with seat belts these days.

If you're traveling by train it's a good idea to take a cable lock - the bottom seats have straps hanging down, and you can lock your luggage to the strap. (But the floor will likely be dirty - if you have a backpack you need to stow it with the front down.)

You might consider mailing some of your purchases home - visiting the post office was an experience - but the package (sent surface) duly arrived.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old May 9th, 2010, 04:26 PM
  #51  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,903
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes, I too prefer to sit in the front if I can. I only hired a driver in Angkor though. But sat in the front on day trips I took in India. For some reason other people didn't want to. The driving can be pretty hairy.

I carry my not-to-be-separated-from-me stuff in a little backpack that I almost never take off. The rest goes in my bag-on-wheels under the seat or anywhere really. I don't care too much if it gets lost/stolen. It looks quite disreputable and so far there hasn't been a problem.

I too sent stuff home from Vietnam, or rather, left a load of stuff with my daughter to mail when she gets around to it. And when I had a heavy winter coat made in Hoi An, I got the shop to mail it. Surface mail because no hurry. So far it hasn't arrived!

Good luck.
gertie3751 is offline  
Old May 9th, 2010, 07:55 PM
  #52  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
how much to ship the coat??
rhkkmk is offline  
Old May 10th, 2010, 05:32 AM
  #53  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,903
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hmmm. $17 or $20. That's a big difference in Vietnam.
gertie3751 is offline  
Old May 10th, 2010, 06:56 AM
  #54  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,121
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi gertie, I'm so pleased to see your post growing!.
dogster is offline  
Old May 10th, 2010, 07:09 AM
  #55  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,903
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Growing in a different direction though. I thought you had lost interest when I left India. Don't know why Vietnam wasn't a tag, I set it as one.
gertie3751 is offline  
Old May 10th, 2010, 09:08 AM
  #56  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,121
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nooo I've been reading along. It's been as interesting learning about you as Vietnam. What a whirlwind. I've done a few of those - when you go thru the pics you'll relive it all. I'm a bit busy. I head off again in a week.
dogster is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2017, 02:11 AM
  #57  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 55,151
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
I'd love to say thank you to gertie for posting this so helpful TR but fear that it won't "take".

oh well, here goes.
annhig is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2017, 05:25 AM
  #58  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,903
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes, it 'took' Ann. Thanks for resurrecting it. And nice to see Dogster from beyond the grave. Great memories.
gertie3751 is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2017, 08:02 AM
  #59  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,468
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Gertie for bringing up this thread.
Great read and of course, thinking of Dogster too. Great memories of reading so many of his trip reports.
Ann will benefit from your experiences.

So Gertie, where are you traveling next?
Happy travels to all.
ileen is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
tripplanner001
Asia
30
Apr 17th, 2014 06:23 PM
julies
Asia
29
Sep 29th, 2011 03:43 PM
waynehazle
Asia
43
Jul 27th, 2006 09:54 AM
Gilberto
Asia
20
Sep 18th, 2004 11:17 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:56 AM.