At Tet holiday we went to Penang, Malaysia. This Island was not what I expected. I had done no homework at all before we went there. The island turned out to be a big city with a lot of people and high buildings everywhere. I was expecting beaches and bunglows.
But the urban areas was clean and well organized. A dream compared to Ha Noi. But not as great character. The only wildlife we encountered was the butterflies and snakes and bugs at the butterfly farm. Oh, and also the runaway horse on the beach. Poor creature. I think he wanted to get into the shadows. Yes they have beaches there. They where, like the water, dirty. The water was also murcy, just like the lakes back home in Sweden.
We took the kids to Escape. A big playground for older kids and adults. High altitude tracks (climbing and balance acts high up on wires - like an adventure thing) and other fun things to do. Do not go there on a weekend. A lot of people and the charm of novelty is not a good combination. Not for me anyway.
I would have liked to explore Georgetown a little bit more. It´s an world heritage site. The kids put an early stop to our trip there. You cannot argue with hot and hungry kids without starting third world war, so we went back to the hotel. Into the pool.
Despite my prejudiced expectations this trip was nice.
Read more and see pics by clicking on the link "read more" down to your right.
Update from autumn 2012. Sorry for the delay.
Anyway... we had a nice long weekend in Hue with Selin family, our neighbors. Did some cultural sightseeing and as usual the kids where not as pleased as the adults. Most of the time we spent on the beach and the pool. And at the hotel spa. Nice.
It was a lot of fun on this trip, the Selin brothers likes photography (they are 12 years old (tripling´s)). I spent a lot of time trying to learn them how aperture and shutter speed works together. And we also went around taking photos.
On the down side going to Hue is all the people trying to rip tourists off. We went on a cyclo trip (three wheeled bicycle to drive around tourists) and we agreed on a price before we took off. When we got to our destination they wanted A LOT MORE. I was really angry and was shouting a lot at them and trying to explain that we will not pay more than agreed upon... take it or leave it! When they finally understood that we was´nt any regularly tourists in Vietnam they took it and all was fine. I think those cyclo guys was well known to rip tourists off. The other cyclo people nearby did thumbs up and smiled broadly when we did´nt give up.
And then there where these people working on the streets selling paintings. They never gave up. They could follow you for 50 meters trying to show you all the paintings they had. Even when you told them during the first meter that you where´nt interested. This things never happen in Ha Noi. Here they are indifferent about you buying or not (except one or two guys selling books in old quarters).
Apart from the annoying cyclo guys and painting sellers, it was a very relaxing weekend at a very nice hotel. I can highly recommend Ana Mandara.
Took a lot of pictures. See some of them by clicking on the link "read more" down to the right.
Last Friday Carol had the day of and the boys was in school. We (and Bonzan) took the opportunity to walk by the Red River on the island "under" Long Bien bridge. This is not what we usually do because the boys is not interested to explore Ha Noi the way we do.
It was nice to see all this greenery And this is only 5 minutes walk from populated area in Ha Noi. Nice.
Boys were off school for 2 days and we had a lovely extended weekend in Hoi An. This time we also stayed at a hotel at the beach. Unfortunately the beach had been washed away in front of the hotel. But we went to An Bang beach instead and it was lovely. We went with Clarissa and her daughter Cassandra and also a friend of Clarissa, Susanne. We had a great time in Hoi An exploring different tailors and restaurants in the old quarters.
For a change we will probably stay in town next time. If the hotel has a pool that is. The boys will refuse if there is no pool. Spoiled brats....
I also attended a early morning photo tour. It was fun. We went by boat to the other side of the river to a fishing village. We spent most of the time taking pics of the women buying fish and other sea creature´s from the fishermen when they brought in their catch. Then we went to a small fish sauce production plant to practice low light photography.
If you want to read more and see pictures click on the link "read more" down to your right.
Late update..... When our boys had autumn brake we went to Thailand with the new family next door (Maria and her 3 sons). We stayed in Ao Nang and Centara resort. Last time we stayed at Centara we had a great time and the resort was really good. This time it was almost as good as last time. It had been worn down a little - and they had NO FRESH MANGO at breakfast. I missed my mango the whole week.
The boys, Ruben, Ossian, Axel, Hjalmar and Erik had a great time in the nice pool. We went cajaking to Railay beach one day and as always this Thailand trip involved a longtail boat to Chicken island. We snorkeled the whole day. It was lovely. Only we on a paradise beach. We brought pick nick baskets for lunch from the hotel. Expensive but very nice.
We will have a hard time in the future when we want to go on holiday´s. Because Ossian and Ruben are now so used to stay at fancy hotel´s that they will not like more "basic" standard hotel´s.
See pictures from the trip. Just click on the link to the right, "read more".
Today Ossian our youngest son went to the hairdresser and cut his hair off. First time ever at a hairdresser. Earlier I have cut his hair with the machine but for a couple of years ha has´nt cut his hair at all. Carol has, after nagging a lot, cut the tips of his hair a couple of times. You can imagine how big this was for Ossian. See the before and after down below.
That a haircut can make such a difference is amazing. He looks both taller and older.
Yesterday at a Birthday party for Celeste. Pirate party.
Jonathans VIP card.
Today me, Jonathan, David and Johan went to Fox Club. If you have a vivid imagination you are probably thinking that this is not a good place for married man to be (see Jonathans VIP card). But it is. If you like to play pool, that is.
As usual we stand no chance against David. He´s just to good. If the other guys shape up a little they give David a challange, but I´m not even close. I suck at pool. But I have a great time with the boys so I do´nt mind at all. We ended our little outing with the best Bun Cha ever.
I took some pictures while we played. Click the link "read more" down below to see them.
Today when I got home Bonzan was not at home. Nadja our neighbor came by and told me they borrowed her and she was playing at the tennis court with Filippa´s dog Bong. A 3,5 months puppy. I joined them and it was really great to see them play.
After the tennis court we went to our porch and had a cup of coffee. They dogs where very tired but after a while they started playing again. Bonzan was hard to capture with the camera. She is so quick when she´s running around playing. Bong on the other hand was a better target to shoot with the camera. See pictures on the link "read more" down below.
Monika eating Nem.
We had two lovely guests visiting us for over 2 weeks. Monica (friends daughter) has been working in New Zealand and stopped by on the way home to Sweden. Her Friend Sabina met up with her and they did Ha Noi and surrounding together.
They mostly made it by themselves but I managed to join them on different occasions, like Temple of literature.
It was very nice to have company and they where the nicest guests ever. They liked everything we put on the table and we are not used to that in this house, Ossi (and Carol) being the way he is with food. We did´nt even need to clear the table, Monica and Sabina just took control over the dirty dishes (good for them we have a dishwasher).
They continued their tour and left by train to Beijing and after that they went to Singapore.
I took some pictures when we did outings in Ha Noi. Click on the link "read more" to view.
I´m sooo sorry for being sooooo lazy. It´s about time to update you on what´s been going on over here in Viet Nam.
When the kids back home had autumn holiday, Edman family came and visited us. Ruben was so thrilled to meet his friend Linus. We had one week together and the rest of the trip Edmans was in Phu Quoc.
Except the outings in Ha Noi we went to Ninh Binh, 120 km south of Ha Noi. It´s also called Ha Long bay on land. Mountain peaks rising straight up to the sky, like dragon teeth. After a short bicycle ride we went on a small boat along a river (more of a newly dug big ditch actually) to a cave that went straight through one of the "dragon teeth". The cave was very narrow and it was fun but I could do without the long boat trip before arriving there. If it was´nt for the scenery the boat trip would have been a real pain.
On the trip to Ninh Binh we also visited the Temple of Dinh Emperor. Situated just in front of one of the peaks. We only stayed for maybe 30 minutes and we did´nt get much of what the guide said. But it was beautiful.
Like everybody else visiting Ha Noi Edmans shopped a lot. That´s what most people do in Ha Noi. It was nice to have friends visiting and I hope more will come before we head back home for good.
As usual I took a lot of pictures. Just click on the link "read more" to the right and you can view them.