Saturday, December 17, 2016

Da Lat: a mud hike

We came all this way, we might as well still go trekking, even if it's a tad wet. Right?  

The way down was great. Sliding and slipping and making mud balls. The kids loved it.

We walked through some coffee plantations, and crossed the river and admired the natives' skill on motorbikes, balancing wives and children and sacks of freshly harvested coffee beans, while plowing uphill through deep, wet muck.

And then it was our turn to climb back up the mountain.

Five hours later and soaked through our flimsy parkas, we forced some smiles in front of a waterfall:

We had braved the knee deep mud and the soles of our shoes had threatened to tear off from all the squelching, so we picked our way carefully, trying to keep our balance. The two wobbly suspension bridges had held, our guides were still cheerfully leading the charge and our picnic lunch hadn't washed away in a mudslide. Might as well enjoy the view... Right?

Well, speaking of sliding mud, the road out of Da Lat is blocked right now after all the rain, so we are having an extended stay until it is cleared.

And what do you know? The day following our epic Mud Hike has been clear and dry and perfect for sightseeing around town.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Halong Bay is just as cool as everyone said, and the 9 year-old was a little crabby.

not so thrilled about the long bus ride


Yes, yes, this boat was straight out of an Agatha Christie mystery, or maybe reminiscent of Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad.  Made me want to retire to my cabin to write witty snark about our fellow passengers, or perhaps ponder who did it, and with what murder weapon...

we worried that the precautionary life vest might would strangle or
smother him before he would even hit the water...

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A drive through our neighborhood

Off the main roads and headed into the heart of one of the "villages" of Saipan, here is a sample of what a flat neighborhood with paved roads looks like.*

*Other villages and neighborhoods are completely different in character; they are tucked away on hillsides and in thick jungle, accessed only by unpaved "roads," but sometimes with beautiful ocean views.