For irregular readers, I’m an electrical engineer in the power industry. My day job was building new substations in suburban streets, and now my job is to do maintenance on these kiosk sub stations that supply houses, businesses and everything in between!
My capstone project (ie my engineering thesis) was about micro hydro power in Guinea, near Indonesia. Another student did a technical analysis, and went to the village it was installed in, whilst my thesis was about ensuring that matching technology to communities were assessed on all their needs, not just how many light bulbs! A more transdisciplinary approach – which wasn’t truly ‘engineering’ but as a double degree student with an Arts degree, I think it was acceptable. In any case, I got a Distinction (the only grading higher is High Distinction).
Part and parcel of my thesis preparation was to assess all types of renewable energy sources for the community. I independently researched geothermal, solar, wind, biomass and hydropower. The alternatives being used in these areas are largely diesel generators.
Overall, micro or pico hydro are ideal for mountainous regions in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. Their needs are small – lighting in evenings, safer cooking options rather than burning wood and the hazards of smoke. In some cases, they have TVs. Essentially, there needs are small, and the technology is an appropriate size.
However – can renewable technologies work for our developed economies? If you’re reading this, you have to have electricity, and more than for a few hours a day! The demand you and me create on the network is a whole different ballpark to these rural mountainous communities. The problem with renewable energy sources is that storage isn’t simple – nor is storage simple with the current nuclear or coal based power plants. The different with fuelled power plants is that you can ‘burn’ more when you know your going to have a peak demand on the network – in extreme weather conditions, in evenings when everyone’s home and cooking. Renewables predominantly only work well with batteries.
Batteries have a number of drawbacks. First, they aren’t cheap (yet), particularly the size you might need to store a few days worth of power. There’s issues with the type of power you get – now you get AC power – a wave. Batteries give you a straight line of power, no wave. To get a wave, you need a rectifier. That’s before we talk about the heavy metals that make batteries.
I totally support further research into renewable technologies, and battery storage. I think the solution is the level of investment where renewables can meet base load, and coal or nuclear power cover the ‘peak demand’ that I mentioned before. The reality is, though, that whilst renewables cost more per unit, it’s unlikely we’ll see the inversion of where we source our power.
What do you think about our power needs? How do you feel green and renewable power sources should be used vs how they are used currently?
I’m (only) 28, but for my age, I’ve travelled quite a lot (see my completed bucket list for an idea)! As well as packing and flying internationally or domestically 4 times a year, home to my parents from boarding school. These are the things that work for me, and I’d recommend to others:
You gotta be able to carry it all: makes sense really, but don’t rely on trolleys or porters, cause somewhere along the line, you’ll be tripped up
Remember you ‘things’ count: three bags, or whatever (coats), then everytime you’re walking from taxi to check in to gate to plane etc, mentally recheck the count!
Paper shopping bags: work a treat for those 5 novels you want to take! Putting them in checked luggage could put you over, having them in a disposable bag means if you do accidentally leave it anywhere, it’s not the worst thing in the world, and you’re unlikely to be challenged for taking more than one piece of carry on this way
Wheelie suitcases: I swear by them. But then I hate having heavy things on my shoulder, so I also don’t usually use an over the shoulder handbag
Spare underwear: seriously, I think this enough in your hand luggage. I don’t like to lug too much around
Face washer: in a zip lock – great to wash and try ones face on a long trip. I sorely missed packing this for this trip, and it would have made a world of difference to feel ‘clean faced’ part way through.
Paper copies of tickets/reservations: I know phones are fancy now, but with long flights smart phones can lose charge, cost a fortune to download data, or plane not work. Especially in the developing world, take the time to print and carry documents you might need. If nothing else, it helps to show taxi drivers!
Umbrella: Place it in the front pocket of your checked suitcase. Some airlines/airports confiscate your umbrella (Marrakesh!) so checking it is best. Having it in the front pocket makes it easy to access in a sudden arrival downpour (Greece! I didn’t pack one, so I bought on for 3 Euro!)
Swiss Army Knife: I can’t praise mine highly enough, even if it was from an ex. I stash it in the front pocket of the checked suitcase. Even locked, I can wiggle it out, and use it to cut off other tags etc
Light scarf: no matter where you are going, these are great as a light stopping eye mask, a pillow case on the suspsicous pillow case, or to keep you warm
More underwear: the last thing you want to run out of is underwear. It’s small – pack more than you need. Yeah, I’m not a huge handwasher on holiday either :p I like to put the dirties in the inside suitcase pocket
Dirty clothes: I like to fold everything, but distinguish dirty stuff by pulling it inside out, and then folding it. Saves me wondering if I wore it (I will rewear stuff in cooler climates, I turn things inside out when it’s got no more wears!)
Toiletry bag: I don’t believe in one carry all – there’s never a big brick sized space left in your bag! Many smaller bags work better – I reuse pencil cases from school and zip locks bags.
Take reading material to leave behind: either thin your collection at home, or buy second hand books. I love library books, but not for international holidays!
Power boards: don’t buy countless adapters, buy one, and pack your local power board to charge all your ‘things’. As an aside, I really do take less and less electronics every time. They are just too much stress to leave in a room, or always carry. A phone with a good camera is usually enough for me.
Do have a pearl of wisdom when you are travelling and packing? Please add to the discussion, I’m sure there’s some tricks I could leanr.
Regular readers would know I’ve been back a touch over a week from my 10 day holiday to Vietnam via Malaysia with the BF. We’ve been dating for about a year, and this is the first ‘proper’ holiday we’ve taken together. We had been away for weekends interstate, and moved in together in August.
Before the holiday, we were both pretty stressed, preparing for a week away from work, and handing over work to others. I was a right royal pain in the backside (I assume) around the house, as I have pretty exacting standards. I was even a little worried I was just a cranky pants, and I might ruin the holiday with all my ‘it’s not quite right’ feelings.
However, there is something just magical about holidays. I knew the moment that I stepped into the airport, I would be in ‘holiday’ mode, and I would be as excited as a grown mature adult should be. Therefore I tried to limit my childish hand clapping, and big grin, but it was hard to contain! There’s nothing I love more than checking in for a long haul flight at an international airport in my home city! And that excitement ratchets up further as the plane pushes me back in my seat and we take off into the night to somewhere new and different. The BF asked me more than once as I peeked through my row to his row, what was up. He’d probably not seen me this excited in a long while. (The seperate rows were because the plane was empty, so I capitalised on the opportunity, and lay across three seats for most of our Sydney to Kuala Lumpa flight, sleeping!)
I love travelling. (I love it til I get used to it.) I love the unknown, the feeling of uncertainty, but all the time in the world to grapple with the difference and similarities in a new country and a new city. I was so pleased to be seeing two new countries and two new cities (and the inside of Kuala Lumpa’s airport… which is a different country, but I can’t really say I’ve seen the city).
In the first 24 hours, there were some hiccups in our trip! We spent a little more time in KL than we perhaps should have 😉 What I loved was that neither of us turned into screaming angry cranky pants, even though the BF had hardly slept on the 8 hour flight. We saw the bright sides – like access to the McDonald’s and a Starbucks. And somewhere to browse sun glasses. And the lovely smell of cinnamon doughnuts – which were in fact cookies (and yes, I enjoyed two!). We both know what each other needs to be ‘ok’. He needs a cappuccino ASAP after waking! I need naps when possible, and seeing I’d been doing droptober, I needed sweet treats stat, to make it feel like a real holiday.
As it was our first experience with a week of unscheduled time, there were countless questions of ‘what do you want to do now/next?’. Thankfully, I’m pretty easily pleased, as I shared in my post about my holiday plans. When in doubt, turn on the TV or pick up a book. I think the BF was a little worried that I might come away from the holiday thinking we ‘did nothing’ but to be perfectly honest, no matter where I go in the world, I like to take the time to relax on the holiday, as well as seeing things. I’ve never been a huge one for running myself ragged! Overall, I think the BF was pretty patient about my commitment to relaxing and laziness, letting me have ample time to laze around reading books, blogs and snoozing! That being said, on reflection, I think our next holiday would probably benefit with me having a clearer idea of the activity options available (including costs) and roughly working out what to do each day. Had we done that this time, we might have asked about bike riding and rafting tours sooner, and ended up with enough time to take the tour we preferred rather than being offered the only thing running the next day (which we declined). We also looked into visiting an amusement park in Nha Trang, but some presearch (new word!) might have told us it was pricey for what it was without getting our hopes up!
Overall, I feel like we got on better than I was willing to hope. I suppose I’ve been tired and cranky more often than not since we’ve moved in together, thanks to work getting busier, a full dance card outside work, and not getting enough sleep. Thankfully, the holiday allowed us both to sleep soundly in air conditioned comfort of luxurious hotel rooms. Our days were filled with eating out, which I love – although by the end of it, you almost want to wake up and make something yourself! I had some genuinely great moments – room service, the Sheraton in general, the buffet breakfast and the mud baths. I even got excited taking the photo of the pretty plane and uniforms, which I showed you yesterday. And finding Banana Republic (I will share my spree there soon, I promise). And the departure from Sydney! Those moments, those are the gems in the crown of a holiday. Those sparkles make the experience richer, and I’m so glad I was able to share my wonder and joy with the BF!
Do you remember your first holiday with your current or past partner? Did it go well? What stories do you have to share?
There’s so much I observed and want to share with you!
Here is more or less a stream of thoughts from my last day in Nha Trang (and two days before our holiday was due to end). Sadly many of the random thoughts don’t have photos – sorry! So random holiday photos are mixed in wherever! More posts on packing, what I wore and what I bought to come though.
Like Nha Trang’s second language (after ‘Vietnamese’) would have to be Russian! There are SO many Russians, and so often we were handed the menu in Russian, and as we said ‘thank you’ they whipped it out of our hands to bring us another menu!
Women really cover up when scootering or bike riding – including the most amazing face masks. You can also buy long gloves, to protect ones fingers and lower arms. And there are even nude coloured sock (with a gap for the part of the shoe that goes between the big toe and the other toes). Seems getting any darker is NOT ok!!
There’s a very strong ‘café’ culture here (Vietnam). Seriously, we went to a few nice shady tree covered cafes and struggled to find food – though there was lots of cake, so I never went hungry! Seems the BF has less of a sweet tooth, or is already enacting some of our diet plans for when we get home. There’s no end to variation of juices and smoothies – every fruit, with milk, yoghurt, ice cream, combinations. Almost every menu included variations with strawberries, and whilst I love strawberries, I seldom actually saw any for sale at stalls. And the few strawberries that did feature on the top of Tiramisu or Cheesecake, certainly looking a little… seasick? Passion fruit and pineapple, however, were for sale everywhere, and gosh darn, delicious too! As were lemon or lime juice – which is a misnomer, there’s nothing Vietnamese like more than sugar, so the above juices were mainly sweet, usually with a salty tang. I just love fresh lime or lemon juice like this!
Days are long when you’re on holidays with no commitments, and I think I realise how much ‘dithering’ occurs in a holiday with a family of five. We may not think of our family as patient, but I think we most certainly are! The schedule I shared with you for family holidays certainly still left lots of empty time for the BF and I. I was more than happy to while away countless hours of TV and reading, but given wifi was only in public areas in the Sheraton (for us lowly people who are not ‘Club’ members), there was only so much reading for him – most of his reading is on the tablet, and usually emails (I think… and some news).
Therefore, there were more ‘activities’ than usual. Happy hour was often out at a bar – classy places like ‘The Drinking Hole’ and ‘Booze Cruise’ – places that offered free shots after a certain time, and free cocktails for ladies at other times!!! And let me tell you, alcohol is ridiculously priced. It seems the locals steer pretty clear of it, but a wayward team would have a field day here! Honest to goodness, in a market stall out of a tourist area you can buy a bottle of Gordon’s Gin (the BF’s chosen poison) for approximately $9! Compare than to $45 at least in Sydney. There was even a cocktail called the ‘Fish Tank’ which included a bottle (yes, a BOTTLE) of gin, vodka and rum! We actually wondered how you would drink it all before it got hot! Are there insulted glass holders for things that big!?
Other activities we enjoyed were playing pool – I certainly had some lucky breaks, as I don’t really have a born talent at pool! Thankfully, the BF won. He likes to win. I won one game, thanks to him sinking the white ball when all he had left was the 8 ball. Interestingly, we saw a lot of snooker and pools halls (well, noticeably a few, whereas I can’t recall otherwise ever really seeing them anywhere). They seem to be a haunt mostly for men, though when we played at about 6pm, we were the only ones in a room of at least 12 tables. The staff were all women, and all… provocatively dressed. I started to wonder whether I was the usual clientele! I did observe that I felt more comfortable in a country where women can dress like this, that I too can wear shorts or short skirts – comparing it to my visits in the middle east, where I continually wonder if I’m doing something risqué or ‘wrong’.
We enjoyed a day at the mud bath – another very popular activity for the Russians, who seemed to arrive by the bus load! Like most of Nha Trang, the mud spa seemed big enough for many more guests than it was accommodating. For $15 we got entry and a mud bath, so hot and cold outdoor showers, and then some cool and warm pools. When I say ‘some’ it was really more extensive than that! There were countless pools – ones with artificial water falls, some with jets of water, others with slides, a large, shallow circular pool with a large covered perimeter with lounges, then pools more organically shaped with sandy peripheries and more lounges! There was of course the full suite of massage and spa services available, although at a far less competitive price to what’s available on the streets in ‘town’. Nonetheless, it was a well organised system – carefully handing in your valuables which were placed in a plastic bag to be entombed in sticky tape – ensuring that you’d notice any tampering. You were then led into a change room area, given a towel and a key, and if you didn’t have a swim suit, you could borrow one of their rather dashing suits (tongue firmly in cheek there!). The key corresponded to a locker, which was naturally of a woven fibre, and there were countless change rooms around the outer edge of the change area, large enough for one, with a curtain for modesty. The whole system was very well thought out! As the change rooms were in an arc, men to one side, women to the other, you exited to meet one another and follow a path to the mud bath area. Sadly I took hardly any photos as my phone was entombed in the plastic. Others did take their tablets from pool to pool to take photographs, but it did seem a little perilous with all the mud!!
Again, authentic tourist I am not! I like to eat what I like to eat, and the last thing I want is food poisoning! I have a good history of getting ill on holidays, so with much joy I came away from my trip to Vietnam unscathed. The BF was not so lucky! Here’s a photo document of some of the meals (and some of the meals we didn’t have – ie market stalls!)
We went to an outdoor Barbeque restuarant. I have never seen so many staff! There was at least one staff member to each 2 chairs, I’d say! They pretty much did all the BBQ cooking for you, so much so they tut tutted when I went to take a skewer – they’d determined they weren’t yet fully cooked.
It’s sort of surprising at the same resturant as the Nacho cheese, we got the following two dishes:
Poor cultural joke up ahead:
We certainly weren’t that adventurous! And to go with all that eating? Drinks! I love all things pineapple, so there were lots of blends of juices. I also enjoy mojitos, and some margaritas, and even a caipirihna to swap out that mint and rum. And the BF was all over the gin and tonics – with a side of beer sometimes.
I feel a little uncomfortable posting about my holiday, and that’s because my highlights weren’t particularly culturally unique to Vietnam, but about the luxuries I enjoyed. We spent some nights in Ho Chi Minh city (or Saigon) and a number of nights at the beach side town of Nha Trang. The weather was incredibly warm and steamy – at least 30 C (or about 90 F) daily with high humidity. It really made being out and about a tiring and sweaty business. That being said, we strolled around a lot and saw as much of ‘normal life’ as possible.
Let me start by saying that I usually travel with my parents/immediate family or alone. When I travel with my parents, they cover all the costs, so we usually stay in cheaper hotels. When I travel alone, I usually stay in hostels where that’s normal (ie Europe and Northern America) or in cheap hotels in the Middle East and Asia. That being said, in my recent few independent trips, I’ve created my own tradition of a ‘night of luxury’ usually on my return leg, where I stay somewhere fancy, and enjoy the modern comforts of a private shower, and a big bed rather than a bunk! So I’ve spent a night in Abu Dhabi’s Hilton, and a night in the Bahamas Sheraton. Both nights were an amazing rest and a great end to a holiday! I felt clean, even if all my clothes weren’t!!
Travelling with the BF, well let me tell you, it was a new experience for us both. The BF’s only travelled for sailing competitions in Australia and South East Asia, and as such, was often sponsored by the boat owner. He stayed where he was put up. So, this being our first international trip together, the expectations were to be discovered.
My one ‘thing’ was that I wanted a hotel with a nice bathroom – ideally not dated, or growing mould in the silicon (as you know, I dislike even discolour silicon and had two attempts to fix it in the loft!). Thankfully, both places we stayed have certainly met, if not exceeded my expectations in bathrooms! It certainly has helped that the cost of things in Vietnam is far cheaper than in Australia. When we compared the costs of the two hotels we stayed in, they were cheaper than nights we’ve paid for in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Orange. I have no idea what my stay cost at The Holiday Inn in Melbourne, as I was kindly put up by the conference company. The other thing is, whilst we pool finances (and used our ‘team account’ for some dinners out, and some accommodation costs), we both see the room rate at half of the listed price, essentially our ‘part’ in the price.
That was my long winded justification of our week long lap of luxury!!
I thoroughly enjoyed staying four nights in the Sheraton. There was the world’s biggest king sized bed, with a snow white fluffy doona to combat the 19.5 C temperature the air conditioning constantly pumped out. There was BBC World and CNN on the TV along with endless repeats of Amazing Race, and interesting Discovery Channel shows. There was even French cartoons, Russian news in English (that was a revelation) and an Australian channel. I spent many an hour horizontal, between reading the novels I bought with me, watching TV and napping. I think the BF was surprised at just how chilled out I can be!
We enjoy the pool – with views of the bay. Although the winds whipped up at time, making it positively cold, it was great to laze around in a modern pool setting. You only needed to raise the flag and a man would come running to take your order from the menu, which was kindly floatable! Seriously, it was behind a plastic cover, but it was essentially a kick board!
There was also a beach right across the road from the Sheraton in Nha Trang. The traffic is pretty constant, though worse at night than during the day. We visited one evening, and again the morning of our departure to have a proper swim. Interesting, the Sheraton (and the neighbouring (not so) Luxury Hotel) offer staff to assist in crossing the road at the pedestrian crossing! Complete with a Sheraton bat they usher you to the middle, and then across to the other side. Once on the sand, if you’re lucky you can score a lounge, but nonetheless there’s a supply of fresh towels. Again, the kick board menu is available – although I’m disappointed I didn’t see the main road dash to get the food to the beach!!
To fully appreciate the luxury, I enjoy room service – we ordered two coffees, which were potently strong! Then we got waffles and banana pancakes. Sadly, there was just not enough maple syrup (see I do my Canadian readers proud, I hope!), but they were delicious all the same. I did feel like a princess! And all for less than $20, which seems close to reasonable, compared to what it would cost for room service in Sydney.
The last morning of our stay, we enjoyed the buffet breakfast, which wasn’t included in our room rate, as it was about $20 per person. Let me assure, there was nothing lacking from the buffet! There was Vietnamese soup, a salad bar, cold meats and cheese. Say nothing of the omelette making man, who would also do eggs any way you wanted. There were reading made waffles, pancakes, crepes and mini French toasts, but of course the man would make you a fresh crepe! There was croissants, bagels and doughnuts. This doesn’t even go into all the condiments, and fruit, and juices. Let’s just say, Droptober was well and truly over come November 1 when I consumed my fair share! It certainly made up for some of the less plentiful buffets we had in Saigon and also the Luxury Hotel.
As I said, I feel somewhat uncomfortable recounting these highlights of the trip. What I do realise is that I enjoy experiences. I like feeling ‘special’ and ‘splurging’. By contrast, the first ‘thing’ I bought was a set of metal cup measures! Seriously, the BF eclipsed me in the first week, but I came out strong in the end (largely due to finding a Banana Republic, which we don’t have in Australia, and I find the clothes are exactly my style).
What makes an authentic tourist, or a proper holiday in your mind? I’m ready to make it controversial, so please be honest!
I mentioned in my post on Friday that I half achieved my plans to go Aria restaurant here in Sydney. I thought I’d share some photos of our lunch during Good Food Month.
The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper hosts Good Food month, and part of the initiative sees high end restaurants offer a lunch time deal at a relatively affordable price ($38). This usually includes a glass of wine, and tea or coffee. My father has taken me and my mother previously – this year he lucked out, having two lunches with his two lovely ladies seperately, and another lunch with my two brothers at a non-Good Food event.
This was all planned for my rostered day off Friday, and happily coincided with the night we flew to Vietnam. What a wonderful start to a holiday! I think I will return to Aria for my birthday and sample a degustation menu, which is sometimes up to 10 courses! I enjoy these nights immensely, sharing veryhigh end food and wine with close friends, and coming away with great memories as presents!
Dear readers – I am homeward bound, I’ll be reading all your comments in a few short hours! How I’ve missed you all!
So every month I like to check in with my progress on my new year’s goals. But interestingly, I’ve added some goals along the way throughout the year, and they haven’t been added to my monthly review (see the last one here). I latched onto doing this little side project of 12 things I want to achieve in two years (ideally 2013 & 2014, though I did start a little into 2013) . It’s like a condensed bucket list. Sadly, I only check in with my blog readers when I’m on my road to achieving some of those. So I thought I’d write a post about what I’m NOT achieving, and perhaps kick me into action (with the added accountability!)
I’ll only talk about the ones I’m not consistently achieving in the new year’s goal, so let’s have a look:
New Year’s Goals
Not eating sugar: I get on this bandwagon and off as soon as I justify the occasion, and then it’s a slippery slope from ‘just this once’ to ‘yes please’ at every single offer! Moderation is not something I do well with cakes, sweets, biscuits, brownies, chocolate… need I continue? It’s not enough to rest on ideas like ‘at least I don’t drink soft drinks (soda, pop)’
Training for water polo: well I took a season off, so that might be ok. But I didn’t really swap it for something else. Even committing to exercising twice a week (as I would with polo) would have been good for me. Some weeks I was on fire, running every second day. Other weeks, I’d call a walk to get an ice cream exercise!
12 in 2 goals
In summary I had the following (check the old post for links about what I’m on about!):
Dinner at Quay: Done for my birthday in 2013
Dinner at Aria: Will do it for my birthday in 2014. BUT… as part of Good Food Month, my father took me there for lunch exactly a week ago! What a treat, and a semi ‘achieved’ for this goal.
Sydney Harbour Bridge climb: cough cough, this is simply putting down a few hundred dollars, praying for a beautiful day, and doing it! I should just book it in with the colleague who was interested. We’ve pencilled in 22nd November
Go jet skiing: The BF thinks I can do it at Christmas, as he knows a place in Perth (where his family are, and we’re headed for Christmas)
Go zorbing: Would you believe it, when I was in the area they did it, they were closed!! UNBELIEVABLE! I even drafted a post to report on it… I was that sure I’d do it!
Visit Lexi in NZ: Well, that’d be fine, if Lexi hadn’t moved back to Sydney when she was surprisingly accepted to Medicine!!
Do a knife skills course: Did it, and reported to you all here.
Learn to surf: Oh yeah, that! Summer is the time to do it, I should speak to my friend about that. I did email him, but it’s been more than a week, and no news 🙁
Read the new testament: See I set an *achievable* goal, and then went and started reading the whole darn thing. I reported in with a book review when I got to the 1/4 mark (13 weeks in), then promptly moved house and didn’t resume reading. It’s tough going at times. I get a few days behind, and it’s a mountain to get up to date. I really need to etch out ‘bible time’ and get back to this. I want to do this, no one is making me! And I do enjoy it some of the time!
Go on a silent retreat: I found one, and then it became the same weekend a friend from out of town was visiting, so I didn’t book in. I should look into them again
Run a half marathon: I’m not there yet, but I did compete in a 9km run, and I did the 5km Neon Run, just the 5km fun color run to do in Feb. Other than that, I have no real training plan or goals. I need to plan to get further!
Plan and prepay my funeral: Hahah, no. It’s expensive, but I also think I need a will first. So I need to hassle the solicitor today about what I need to do!
How do you kick yourself into gear, and ensure you do the fun things, not just the mundane things?
Not long now til I’m back to normal programming – please comment as freely as usual, and I’ll read and reply to everything once we touch down (if not sooner).
The BF and I are going overseas! We’re going for just over a week from Friday night 25th October to Monday 4th November. I’ve tried to queue up some posts, but I can’t imagine I’ll reply to all comments as promptly as usual. And I might not be commenting and reading all your posts either. What are holidays for, but a little digital sabbatical? We’ll see – I might not be able to resist the lure!
We’re spending two nights in Ho Chi Minh, and then some nights in Nha Trang and then back to HCM city. Whilst I’ve been a blogger, I’ve not been overseas, but I love travel. On average, I make one BIG international trip a year, usually for a few weeks, to either Europe or the US. I like to go back to old faithfuls, but it’s just as important to me to see new cities and countries. I’ve never been to Vietnam. I did do a project in primary school about it though!
I’m not a huge tour girl, which is sort of in line with my no guide book motto from Honeymoon with my brother, which I mentioned in my all time favourite books post. That’s not to say I don’t think about and research what I’d like to do on my holiday.
I’ve done a fair share of my travelling with my family. They’ve structured most of it the same way. It goes a little something like this:
wake up (and read/watch BBC world/CCN <- it’s not a holiday if I don’t see one of these news channels!)
nap/read/watch trashy movies
cocktail/happy hour in the hotel room, sometimes with board games (scrabble is a favourite)
So much better than the usual eat, sleep, (rave), repeat. (Sorry, it’s a song lyric of a song I can’t stand, and whilst I don’t rave (though I do Neon Run), but the song is so pervasive!) I really mean eat, sleep, work, repeat.
Here’s what I’m considering as activities whilst we’re there:
visit flower farms
visit silk worm farms
zip lining (though there’s been some deaths, so maybe not!)
cu chi tunnels from the war in HCMC
sampling endless Vietnamese coffee, and pastries (seeing they were once a French colony)
visit Hoi An
mud baths and hot springs
get cheap manicure and pedicure for…
get sandals made!! in Hoi An (I love some leather sandals that are dying, from Greece)
What would your must see/do/buy be in Vietnam? Have you been? What would lure you to visit?