Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Cu Chi Tunnels

Built by the Viet Cong in the 1940s as protection from French air raids during the Indochina conflict, the Cu Chi Tunnels extend underground for more than 250km in the vicinity of Saigon alone. This network of passageways later provided vital access to the rural areas surrounding the city during the Vietnam War, when the tunnels housed living quarters, hospitals, booby traps, and storage facilities for the Viet Cong.













The tunnels, and complex, are definitely a tourist attraction, and its one of those things you do so that you've seen/done it. But because of where I've come from and what my family has been through, it's difficult for me to "admire" them - although, of course, I can totally appreciate the hard work that went into creating the network.















Half way through the tour we stopped and were able to purchase some ammunition to fire some some riffles at the range. Kien was so disappointed he wasn't able to fire a weapon or go down to the shooting area. He's just too little, but I've promised him that when he is big enough we can go shooting. Jef got to fire a machine gun and it was fun!





There was also a demo of how rice paper is made. I love eating rice paper so it was great seeing her do it.




Over the last school holidays...

We've been back for over a week now. Settling back to routines hasn't been easy...not sure why. I've not been able to shift my sleep back to this timezone, so surviving on a few hours a night (well, early hours of the morning) means my brain is not firing on all cylinders. This week I'm determined to get this sorted.

We flew over to Saigon on Tuesday 2 October in the first week of the school holidays.



We stayed in an apartment in District 1, in an area that is relatively new. It's quite different to where we've stayed in the past where we step out the door and in amongst the action. At this apartment its quiet and pristine.











We were in Saigon for 4 days, and it wasn't until Saturday that we had a chance to take a walk across the bridge and see what's over there.









Sat Kien down to a bowl of Pho - so great he loves to eat beef noodle soup!





Such an interesting area, and we didn't get a chance to explore it all that much.









When it rains, it rains! We were walking around and could feel the raindrops getting fatter and heavier. We took shelter at a roadside store/dairy type, and after a few beers we decided to just purchase some ponchos and get back to the apartment. Best decision ever! It was so much fun in the warm rain. Kien and I had such a good time jumping in puddles all the way home.





Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The War Memorial exhibition, the Winter Gardens and the haircut

The Winter Gardens

We've not been for a while, so on Sunday, after the haircut, Kien and I chose to visit this place first. Always a good time, always beautiful, but never this busy when we've visited! We only walked around half of one of the glasshouses, bumping into people and dodging cellphones and tripods. Kien and I looked at each other, and he said, "Yeah, way too crowded. Lets get out of here."





I know from the pictures it looks empty of people, but that's because its the first strip near the entrance way, and I basically stood in the middle of the isle, blocking the way for the photo op.

The War Memorial

From the Winter Gardens we ran up to the museum, stopping for a rest in a tree.



Truth be told we were actually racing each other, and I would have won but the cunning Kien choose to call a rest break. I told him he was a cheater. The denial was palpable.

There's a fantastic kids exhibition happening at the moment called "Secret World of Butterflies". Kien enjoyed colouring in his digital butterflies and seeing it fly on screen.





Also in the WWII section is this new interactive table where you fly the plane around to collect photo images for HQ intelligence. Kien loved it so much. We went back a couple of times after seeing other exhibitions just to have another go.



One of my most favourite parts of the museum are the stairwells. I used to imagine myself living here and running up and down the stairs in my ball gowns.





The haircut


We went to the Warehouse in Newmarket on the hunt for a new bay blade. Kien wanted to buy one with his own money - from birthdays and Christmas presents that we deposit into his bank account. Afterward we walked up the street on Broadway to a shop called Tip Top Haircut. The hairdresser was eccentric, and we waited for quite a while because the dude just talked and talked. He was so nice, and listened to Kien describe the haircut he wanted. Kien and I had done a google search beforehand and found a "something like this" picture. So we showed the hairdresser.



The hairdresser commented a few times how it was good Kien had his own sense of style. Ha, does he ever! Red and blue Crocs? Why not.



Yeah, Kien was in desperate need of a haircut. Oh, and in the pic above it captured a winged seed Kien had found and was trying to fly it high to catch the wind.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Juneau whales and glaciers

For our stop in Juneau we decided to organise for an onshore excursion from the ship prior to disembarking - like the day before. That's the first time; normally we try winging it. But this time I wanted to make sure we got to see what we wanted for our stop in Juneau and not miss out. It was totally worth it.

We got up really early (as the afternoon tour was sold out so we had to get on the 8:30am session). Short bus ride to the catamaran that took us out to the channel where the whales play, and then away we went. The catamaran was fast, and manouverable.









For two hours we looked for whales, and when we came across one, the captain would slow down and quietly glide up close so we could watch the creature.









We then zoomed over to see some sea lions lazing around in the sun.





It's so beautiful out here. We were fortunate to have had spectacular weather. It was definitely crisp and cold, but it didn't matter. We were dressed warmly and the sun was out.









Back on land the bus took us to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. We went for the 2.5km walk to the waterfall to get a closer view of the glacier.













Then it was back to the township for a quick walk around before it was time for all aboard. Such a pretty little town. What an adventure we had.





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