I have been really bad at blogging since before the summer. Sorry. We have now moved back to Sweden and we have been home for a couple of days now. It´s dark, wet and cold. I wish for snow. Much better than this grey and dark weather.
Before we left for Sweden I was busy organizing my first ever photo exhibition. The embassy asked if I was interested to show some of my work at the big Lucia celebration. Off course I was interested. It was really fun and I sold every picture but one. It was for a good cause though, maybe that helped to get them sold. The excess money goes to "Heart of Linnea".
A lot of people who did´nt go to the Lucia celebration in Ha Noi have asked if they can see my exhibition pictures. Well, here they are. I really hope you like them.
Ossians choice of art to draw.
Ossian went on a field trip the other day. I signed up to follow them and keep track of a group of 4 kids.
It´s a nice museum and I think the kids liked it too. They where supposed to draw a drawing of one of the paintings/sculptures at the museum. At first all the kids on the groups went for the same piece but after a while they change their minds and started to choose a painting or a sculpture more of their liking.
More pics at the link "read more" down below.
Malcolm drinking cold refreshing drink between the games.
Both Ruben and Ossian are born in the summer and there are always friends that not can attend their partys because they are away on holiday or whatever. Because of this they wanted to celebrate before school ended. And they wanted to go to X-factory for lazer tag game.
Carol and I took 13 kids there and had a good time. Well, not all of us. I was pretty upset. We had ordered a bus to take us there and back. It never arrived so we had to go by taxi. And the cake I had ordered did not show up either. Well what did you expect people tell me, this is Viet Nam.
I´m glad that at least the boys had a blast. But it was kind of hard to try to explain why the cake didn´t come.
Because of the lack of light where you play I did not take any pictures myself during the games but the staff was inside and took some pictures. Click on the link "read more" down below to see some more pics.
Johan and I wanted to go outside Ha Noi to shoot some photos but we never made it. Sick kids, deadlines, school stuff etc have put an stop to it. But finally we could do it. Thursday morning we jumped on our motobikes and took of to Hòa Bình (at least it said so on google map), south west of Ha Noi.
It was a strange feeling when we got to the first village. In about 300 meters a two lane road shifted to a tiny little village road and, it seemed like we had nowhere to go. We had to go through the village on really small roads and alleys to get to the other side where we found agricultural areas. It was nice to get out to the countryside. I miss that a lot. Going through the greenery finally led us to the village Hòa Bình.
This day was very hot. When we left it was kind of cloudy so I did not bring a long sleeved shirt. Bad mistake. My arms was really red in the evening. Hòa Bình had of course a Bia Hoi (pub). It was just noticeable. We had to ask if it was a bia hoi and not someones living room. After the run in the sun it was heaven to drink their beer. Soo nice and cool. And soo cheap (5000 VND=1,5 SEK), so we decided to drink two.
On our way home we stopped at Van Phuc silk village. Both Johan and I found nice silk pajamas. Like the ones the old Vietnames guys wear out on the streets in the evenings. It´s very comfortable. I found out today that its not silk and I will probably go back and complain. Why is it always such a hustle to buy things in Vietnam? Anyway - the pajamas is very comfortable even if it´s not silk.
We will definitely do a trip like this again. It was a lot of fun.
Read and see more from the trip by clicking the link "read more" down to your right.
During Kaye´s visit we also went up to the mountains. Tam Dao was close enough for a day trip. Cecilia and David joined us.
It´s a bit tricky to get the boys motivated for a walk in the sticks. But I think they enjoyed the view and fresh cool air. And all the bugs you could find along the path. They were happy at least until they got hungry. We tried the walk 4 km to the waterfall but the snacks we brought for the kids wasn´t enough. We had to turn back to feed them at the local restaurants. Maybe next time we have learned our lesson.
At a quick look Tam Dao´s like a small alpine village in France. The tiny serpentine roads going up the mountain, narrow but high houses on the slopes. Very beautiful. I would like to go there and stay over a weekend. I think there is a nice resort on the slopes somewhere. With a pool.
If you want you can read more and look at pics at the link "read more" down below to your right.
Daytrip to Bat Trang. Kaye, Carols sister, likes pottery a lot. She bought a big urn. Not to bring as checked in luggage. We have to bring it home in our container when we move back to Sweden.
The boys tried to make muggs on a turner. It was difficult for them. But they had a great time and a lot of attention from other visitors at the factory. As usual the kids also painted already made pottery at the market while the adults strolled around buying pottery. Thank you ladies for keeping that work shop for the kids.
If you want to see how it went at the turner, click the link "read more" down to your right.
Well, you can´t get enough of Hoi An. We took Kaye there for a couple of days and I hope she enjoyed it as much as we did. Beach, wine, drinks and nice food. What more do you need to keep Kaye happy?! (Maybe a golf course)
We stayed at Little Boutique Hotel and Spa. In town for a change. Usually we stay by the beach. I can highly recommend this hotel. Very nice and friendly staff that did everything to help. When we´ve stayed by the beach we have´nt had enough time to explore old town. We wanted to change that by staying in town. After the really good buffe breakfast at the hotel we headed out to An Bang beach (15 min by taxi) and in the afternoon we headed back to town. I was a little worried that the kids would´nt like to stay in town. But the hotel had a nice little pool that did the trick. (We also bribed them with pocket money to spend in town.)
This time I went on my second photo tour with Hoianphototour.com. A late afternoon tour to a small village outside Hoi An. Looked kind of untouched by tourists. And as always Vietnamese people love to be photographed. A good opportunity to practice street photography in the country side. After the village we took the boat back to town for some low light photography on the streets in old town.
This day the guy who owns the tour company (Etienne) had his grand opening of his gallery. We where invited to go there by Pieter the tour guide/teacher. It was very nice and Etienne looked very happy to see us novices coming to his grand opening. Etienne had taken some pretty nice pics. I wish I can get that good.
If you want to see pictures (mine) and read some more, just click on the link "read more" down to your right.
I went to Singapore with only one thing in mind. Universal Studios. I knew that at least 4 out of 5 of us will love it. We hit jackpot. Carol also loved it.
Singapore turned out to be a place with a lot of stuff to do and see. We lived on the island Sentosa. A very green island (well, Singapore is all green but this was greener then the rest. Let´s call it jungle) with hotels, resorts and lot´s of activities. Luge was fun. It´s a track down the hill (like bob sledge in the summer). The boys tried surfing at a "bar/restaurant" (see pics). You could also race down the hill, up in the air on a wire. You could even try indoor sky diving. And that's only around the corner from where we lived.
On TV in Viet Nam there has been a lot of commercial´s about Marina Bay Sands. Even TV shows on National Geographic. Off course we went there. You can´t resist the power of commercial. It turned out to be very nice. We sat in the bar and had a few drinks (mocktails for the kids) and looked at the spectacular view. To bad we didn´t bring the thick wallet because the shopping center at the Sands was huge with lot´s of very expensive shops. Outside the shopping center is the Promenade. It´s what it sounds like. With restaurants and places to sit down and relax. When we where sitting there watching the sun going down we had a surprise. They have a light/laser/water/fire show out on the water when it gets dark. Very nice with the famous Singapore sky line in the background.
In total, we are very pleased with this trip to Singapore. If we have the possibility at least I want to go back. So much to see and do. And so easy to get around.
If you want to read more and see pics just click on the link "read more" down to your right.
Last week there was a Swim Meet at UNIS. All grade 2-3 competed for points to their home´s. Ossian´s home is Tigers. He did good and won one of his races and so did also two of his Swedish friends in Tiger house. Way to go!
It was special this day because Kaye was there. I think she enjoyed this as much as I did. Hope so anyway. We had to take Ossi from the meet earlier to pick up Ruben and go to the airport. Singapore was next stop for us.
I wonder how the competitions went
Ossian on his way to win his race. He is really good at backstroke.
Yesterday Kaye arrived for a 3 weeks stay with us. Our plan is to go to Singapore this weekend. The kids are free from school on Friday. Universal Studios is on the schedule. I think Kaye are more thrilled about this than the kids.
We are also planning to go to Hoi An and Ba Be national park. Busy busy.
So, hang in there, updates about the trips will soon be here.
And David, here´s proof of Kaye actually using the new camera. She´s been like a busy little bee in the alleys.