merryn, michelle, sophie - on the bus to sydney
michelle and i
playing animal kingdom in the terminal at sydney airport. i suck at this game.
damien and simon, the latter blinded for a few seconds, at our hotel in singapore. unfortunately we didn't get to leave the airport. michelle and i were really smart and spent a precious hour of sleeping time watching america's next top model. i am now kinda in love with that show.
oh, snapple. i am very envious of singaporeans, and everyone else who lives in a place where this heaven-in-a-bottle is sold. i find it a tad ironic that there's a koala on the label and yet you can't buy it in australia. also, singapore's changi airport was probably the nicest out of the three we arrived in.
the sunflower garden at singapore airport was the closest we got to real (not airport) singapore.
after dumping our bags in the hotel in hanoi, we went on a cyclo ride through the city. having had no time to adjust to the whole no-road-rules thing, it was a terrifying journey.
see above. the guy cycling mine and michelle's cyclo looked about 300 years old and kept groaning as he pedaled. i was a bit worried he would have a hernia, or worse, topple off the bike dead.
the view from our hotel at night. i loved that the streets were quiet from about midnight onward, everybody goes to bed.
le group at the ho chi minh mausoleum. this place was incredible. it houses ho chi minh's body, preserved in a glass box. you have to walk in single file past his body, quietly, wearing the right clothes etc. i couldn't ever imagine anything remotely like this happening in australia, we certainly wouldn't do such a thing for a politician (although emma might for kevin rudd.) also, i have never seen a dead body before or so many people with guns, so it was a day of firsts for me.
next was the vietnamese museum of ethnology. i have lots more photos from this place that i'll post later. it was really interesting. they had models of traditional houses that you could go into, which is where this photo was taken.
after spending only one night in hanoi, we got on a spooky looking hogwarts express-esque train to go to sapa, in the lao cai province of vietnam. the trip was meant to take 8 hours so we went overnight - here's merryn and emma being hot. the train trip was fun. i learnt how to play poker, had my first disgusting tasting of choco-pie (yuck) and had the best three hours of sleep ever.
one of the views from our hotel in sapa. again, there are lots more photos that i'll post later. sapa is beautiful and amazing and i want to go back.
l - r: soph, me, michelle, simon, ashleigh, damien, merryn, emma. a great group of people to be with.
emma, michelle and ash model our beautiful jackets with detachable sleeves and hood - the height of fashion, obviously.
the markets in sapa were so much fun.
when we got off the bus in sapa, we were met by countless girls asking us each our names, ages, etc. at first i assumed they were trying to sell us stuff (as it is in hanoi) but after a little while we realised that they just wanted to be friends. these girls were all around 14 and they were the coolest kids ever.
we spent the morning shopping and being shown the city by the girls, then we played a clapping game with them. it was so much fun!
after a while we started to attract a little crowd.
no exaggeration when i say that this was one of the best mornings of my life.
we went up this mountain to a park overlooking sapa. it was unexpectedly beautiful. soph and i saw ostriches (!) then we saw a performance from various hilltribe groups.
the next day was our 5 hour hike to the village. mai, pictured, came with us and helped us along the way, helping us over tricky parts of track (or lack thereof), telling us about her life, and verbally and physically abusing simon, which proved to be fantastic entertainment.
the landscape of the sapa valley is breathtaking. there was so much to take photos of! here are rice paddies and a small village.
sing (sp?) and mai. these girls were so gorgeous, i asked them if they'd come back to australia in my suitcase and mai replied that she'll just dye her hair blonde, take my passport and pretend to me. i guess that leaves me the suitcase?
they taught us a game in which you have the throw a rock in the air, grab a stick then catch the rock. needless to say, we were not so skilled in this area. it was fun though. in the background is the house we stayed in for three nights while we built the house.
this is the house we built. it was a little bit unfinished when we left but i think it would have been completed by now. it was hard work but more than worth it. we built it for a woman whose husband had died leaving her no house/money. she was incredibly thankful.
the second last night we spent in ha long bay - we spent a day on one of these boats, cruising around the islands, stopping around lunch for a chance to swim in the south china sea and explore some caves in a kayak. it was lovely.
ha long bay was quite beautiful.
there are more photos, lots of building the house etc, i will try to post them asap
michelle: these aren't big enough to put on a video are they?
other memories, in no particular order:
- quite a few aqua parties
- myself losing spectacularly at pretty much every card game known to humanity
- animal kingdom!
- merryn and i on the last night, shopping in hanoi - i have never experienced so many people staring at me
- buying too much
- swimming in the south china sea, exploring the caves in a kayak
- maddie leaving her passport on the plane
- simon's manrobe
- mai calling simon 'ladyboy' once she saw said manrobe
- airbus on the flight back to sydney
- damien's 18th birthday and emma's lovely story
- not showering for three nights
- meeting the most incredible people
Current Mood: tired
Current Music: Getting Better - Gomez