Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On the beach at Ho Tram

There is a lovely beach a few metres away from our bungalow.  The water is warm and the waves invigorating - wonderful South China seas.


And recliners and beach art



Nearby the local fishermen go about their daily tasks.  The traditional shaped boats are still used - although they are a mix of natural cane construction and more modern plastic form.



The catch is brought back to the beach to be sorted and sized.


Sadly there seems to be a high level of plastic rubbish brought in in each net.  Andrew likes to interact with the fishermen and women - just dying to give them some advice - for once I am thankful there is a language barrier that stops him doing so.


You can see him thinking " if you added an outboard motor
you could cover twice as much ground"
As well as boats they use surf casting and net trawling for shellfish.



And after a busy day patrolling *HIS* beach Andrew likes to sit back and relax, trying to set a new fashion trend for dealing with his sunglasses and reading glasses by wearing both of them attached to his head at the same time.



Ho Tram Resort - Vietnam

After overnighting in Ho Chi Minh we caught the resort shuttle for the 2 hour drive to the coast.  It seemed like there were 100km of road widening going on.

The resort is peaceful and we are enjoying it immensely.  There are 63 bungalows which are set in serene surroundings.  It was busy at the weekend but since then it has been very calm.

There is a fresh water pool, a sea water pool, tennis courts, restaurant areas, playgrounds, gardens, sculptures....it is all well done



Our accommodation is a spacious and well appointed.  Thatched roof bungalows with a partially open air bathroom.  It all works very well.

Bungalows

Meals are eaten in open air restaurant areas.  The breakfast buffets are generous in their variety and the other meals have been very good.


There is a beach side bar, which we have not spent a lot of time in, but we know it is there.  We had a drink there tonight and the soundtrack playing had a Christmas tune which was followed by the Lord's Prayer in soft opera style.



And then there is the beach.....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Singapore

We flew Singapore airlines back to Asia and had a one day stopover in Singapore before heading to Saigon.

Both of us had last visited Singapore over 20 years ago and the changes are all positive.  We enjoyed the city and would happily return to explore the various parts as we spent our limited time in the civic area near the river.



One of the biggest changes is the Marina Bay Sands complex which dominates the skyline and serves as an orientation point of reference.  We didn't vist it, but across the top of the 55 storey three tower blocks is an infinity pool looking over the city.



Walking along the river it was interesting to see the number of sculptures that have been erected.  From a Salavdor Dali to unknown sculptors, the themes tended to be a reflection of Singapore's history and people.


One of the most engaging is the children jumping into the river.


Walking past the museum we saw an unusal sight - chickens crossing the road, followed by a rooster wandering through the city traffic.  All got to the other side safely.


Andrew was pleased to see the building he had spent some time in during the 1980's while on a Shell business economics course (centre building below)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wedding in NZ

Paula and I returned to NZ - for the main event of Chazzy & Simon's wedding on 11-2-11.

We were pleased to be able to catch up with a number of people during the short period of time we were back in Wellington.  We also had the great fortune to have lunches at both Logan Brown and Hippopotamus, re-confirming the excellent standard of NZ cuisine.  Surprisingly, one or two splendid bottles of wine were also enjoyed during this trip.

The wedding was a great success.  The service was held at St Mary's, in Karori, and was followed by an excellent reception at Pencarrow Lodge.   


  



The following day a barbecue was held out at Waikanae. Both days the weather was great and it was lovely to see so many people enjoying themselves.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

A week visiting the southern provinces - part 2

I have had my quota of Pho (noodle soup) few months. A typical day can be pho for breakfast (I struggle with the meat in it at breakfast), Sticky rice and chicken & vegetables, and pho again for dinner. One morning there was French bread sticks, but my companions prefer the noodles. I have turned down animal intestines, fish with more bones than flesh, green leaf soup…I avoid the fish as I dislike the bones, but the broth that they often come in is divine. I hope my companions don’t notice I just take the broth.

I'm not sure #4,#5 are supposed to be
'insipid soup'
 You notice that villages specialise in something. One village may have stalls out the front and all of them are selling knives. In the next village all of them are selling charcoal. In the next village all of them are selling watermelons. Specialisation is strong, but I am sure there is a market for diversification.

 


 
Yes, a large pig beside the girl
opening the coconuts
A diversified stall with more than one item

 We have stopped for watermelons, coconut milk (doesn’t rock my boat) and on both trips we have stopped at the village of Napong, less than an hour from Pakse. Here they specialise in flatten, marinated, barbecue chicken. As you stop the vehicle mobile sellers come running up with chickens on sticks and a lot of cars treat them as a take away. We stopped and sat. You choose your chicken(s) from a table and negotiate a price. The lady heats them up over the charcoal and whacks them into pieces with a large cleaver, and you eat it with your fingers and sticky rice. The chicken is good. Although both times for my second piece I have gone for something that looks like a wing only to find it was both times half a chicken head. This time it had a beak, last time it had an eye. At that point I decided both times I had had enough chicken. I have avoided the chicken feet mainly because my companions seem to think it is a delicacy and also it seems like too much work for me.