Saturday, January 30, 2010

2 weeks in Vietnam

Well I've been in Vietnam almost 2 weeks now and I don't even know where to start to tell about this trip.  It has been an amazing experience in all ways.  The food, the people, the differences in culture and just getting around is a big adventure.  I arrived safely after almost 24hrs of travel from Boston to Saigon which was the most traveling I had done in a 24hr period. My friend picked me up on a motorbike, we strapped my bags on and off we went into the streets of Saigon.

Here I am the motorbike...hahahaha

Right away I was introduced to many different foods, most of which I have had in the USA and the ones I hadn't had in the USA scared me off enough to say "no thank you."  Mmmm how do you say "no frog eyes in my soup please" in Vietnamese?  

This is one of the first dishes I tried here and it was absolutely delicious.  Basically a beef stew with fresh basil, cilantro and peppers.  I've been back for seconds ;-)  Almost everything here is served with fresh basil and greens and of course lots of noodle dishes.  Here is one of the noodle dishes I had:

I spent the first week in Saigon wandering around and peeking in to all the little allies and shops.  There is something fascinating around every corner. Women carry heavy baskets on their shoulders all around town selling fruit, vegetables and more.  I'm very curious why it seems only the women do this?  Below is a photo of a woman weighing and selling fruit from the baskets she carries on her shoulders.

Some of the architecture is quite fascinating here too, there seems to be a cross of Asian and art deco style here.  One of the famous buildings though is the main post office in downtown Saigon.  Below is a photo of the inside of the post office.

The second week I left Saigon and headed up to Nha Trang, which is a gorgeous 7 hr. train ride north from Saigon.  Here I am catching the train :-)
Saigon is so hectic and full of traffic so it was nice to head off to a beach town.  The train was fairly comfortable, not very clean...but not much is here.  The ride was gorgeous though.  Here is one of the photos I took from the train along the ride.

Once arriving in Nha Trang I was pleasantly surprised by this little beach town.  I loved it!!  There is lobster and seafood everywhere.  I felt I had died and gone to heaven.  Here is a photo of the beach outside of my hotel.
I will definitely be sharing more photos when I return, Vietnam is a very photogenic place. I've taken almost 1,000 photos already. There is so much to share and to tell but I'll have to wait to return to give more detail and add more photos to my blog, flickr, etc.  I had an amazing time in Nha Trang...I really fell in love with it.  I'm now back in Saigon and just picked up some Prawn soup yummy!! Here is a photo of the soup.

I've also been frequenting all of the markets and have picked up a lot of herbs, spices and teas for new soaps.  Vietnam is an amazing place and I am sure I will be returning here again.  There is an abundance of raw and natural ingredients, it's a soap makers dream come true!  Here is a photo at one of the markets of some beans, nuts, dried fruits, etc. 

I'll be taking a hydrofoil from downtown Saigon tomorrow to Vung Tau, an island that is not far and also has gorgeous beaches.  I'm really looking forward to that. One thing that I haven't been able to do since being in Vietnam is post anything to my facebook pages as facebook is banned here and you can't sign on.  I find that strange since you can sign on to MySpace and many other social networks.  Well I will just have to catch up on all of that when I return next week.  

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    Misobel (Mary) said...

    Wonderful pics! Looks like you are having a blast! I am so jealous you got to eat Pho in Vietnam, the real deal ;)
    Thank you for sharing, I really enjoyed your post!

    Glowbug Design said...

    I had the pleasure to spend three weeks in Vietnam last January and another week in October. It is truly a magnificent place! I too LOVED Nha Trang. If you make it to Hanoi, check out the water puppet show. It's very cool. Also, there's an island down south called Phu Quoc that is gorgeous this time of year with lots of snorkeling and scuba diving, not to mention pristine beaches. I can't wait to hear more about your trip! Have fun and be safe!

    Amy Nicole/RubyMtnBeads said...

    It sounds like you are having a fabulous trip! I can't wait to see more pictures and hear tales of your adventures.

    Amy W said...

    You've captured so many wonderful aspects of the country - I feel like I've been there with you! Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip!

    Burnt Mill Candles and Soap said...

    that picture you took at the beach is so pretty!

    have fun on the rest of your trip

    Mirna said...

    The rice field looks like what we have in Indonesia.
    Lovely scenery there :)

    Can't wait to read more of your adventure.

    VaBeachQuilter said...

    Amazing pictures!

    I wanted to let you know that I gave you an award. Go to: to see which one.



    Brett Widmann said...

    I'm very pleased to see that you had such a wonderful time in Vietnam! It was good hearing from you while you were there and I am glad you made it there and back safely.

    Like the experience, I would assume, the photos you posted are spectacular! The food, the culture, and the fun are conveyed quite nicely.

    Welcome home!

    brookepickering said...

    ooooh how wonderful! The pictures remind me of the 10 months I spent in 1986! can't wait to get together when you get back and hear all about it

    Miss Val's Creations said...

    Wow! This trip looks amazing! So jealous! Keep enjoying.

    DeShawn Marie said...

    Hey everyone I am back and will be posting more this weekend. It was such a great experience and I truly loved Vietnam. Thanks for all of the support and well travel wishes.

    Brett Widmann said...

    Your photos are awesome! The trip looked breath taking. It looks like you had an amazing time. Along with getting new soap ideas ;)

    Brett Widmann