Ha Long Bay Cruise, Vietnam

Our Cruise to Ha Long Bay, From Start to Finish

Bart & I waiting for our car service to take us to our crusie ship to Ha Long Bay,
A three hour drive from our Intercon Hotel Hanoi. Ha Long Bay is a world Heritage site
and is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The traffic in Vietnam--filled with motorcycles, some carrying stuffs you cannot imagine:
The drive is an experience in itself.

More Motorcycles:

Stopping at a ceramic workshop where you can buy souveniers done by the disabled:

Some rural scene on the way to Ha Long Bay:

Beautiful sculptures:

The ceramic workshop:

Madonna Davidoff in the middle of two buddhas:

Finally, we reached the port to board our ship to Ha Long Bay:

Our ship the Ha Long Ginger has only 10 cabins plus an interior made up of all wood .
It resembles an old Asian sail ship. Really beautiful and cozy, plus romantic:

Having my first Vietnamese beer while waiting to board:

The captain of our ship The Ha Long Ginger

Our ship The Ha Long Ginger:

The Ship's bar:

Our Ship Guide named SON

My lifesaver--I made sure I know where it is...

Our cabin:

Our cabin bathroom:all marble

The ship dining area:

More views of Ha Long Bay( lime stone islands, lots of them)

Bart getting his coffee:

Stopping at a beach at Ha long Bay:

Another cruise ship The Indochine: a view from the beach
Madonna Davidoff at the beach in Ha Long Bay:

Bart swimming at Ha Long Bay beach:

Again, yours truly after a swim in the water:

Back again in our ship:

Bart enjoying the breeze at the top deck of the ship:
Madonna Davidoff on the top deck of Ha Long Ginger:

Approaching the Fisherman's Village: some of the fisherman's kids selling shells:

Fisherman's Village homes: All of them have TV and electrical power:

After seeing the Fisherman's village, we are now visiting the Ha Long Bay National Park:

Waiting for dinner at sunset:

Our dinner at the ship: giant prawn, Vietnamese fresh spring rolls, crab soup, grilled fish, calamari and of course dessert
The Morning after: before breakfast in the ship, more vendors -
I bought a sea shell from one of them:
Bart & I before breakfast:

This is a typical Mini Mart vendor in the sea:

After breakfast, we are now visiting one of the famous caves in Ha Long Bay:

Madonna & Bart inside the caves:

Going back to our ship after the caves:

Madonna Davidoff in a tradti0nal Vietnamese dress:
Our last lunch buffet at the ship:

An unforgetable cruise of the Ha Long Bay:
Bart and Madonna Davidoff 2009, Vietnam

Museum Tours Hanoi, Vietnam Part2

The Museum of Ethnology has an outstanding collection of the different ethnographic spectrum that makes up the Vietnamese nation. Displays include clothes, cultural implements, social rites and full-size model ethnic houses in the grounds. It is located in the Cau Giay District of Hanoi.

Bart and I inside a Tay House from Dinh Hoa district, Thai Nguyen province.

At the Indoor exhibits: A representation of silk and cotton garments
made and worn by Thai Thanh women in Nghe An province.

Inside the Ede Long House in Ky village, Dak Lak province.
It is 42 meters long and would have accomodated the families of daughters
and granddaughters of an extended matrilineal family.

A cartoon from the Childrens Ceramic workshop of the Museum:

Madonna infront of a group of Vietnamese school children:

Bart resting inside one of the ethnic houses:

The exterior of the Ede long House:

The Bahnar Communal House:

The Bahnar Communal House has a height of 19 meters and
it is from the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Acording to the Bahnar,
communal house is a symbol of skill and strength of the villagers.

Madonna Davidoff Resting infront of one of the houses:

The exterior of the Bahnar Communal House:

Bart hugging one of the poles of the houses:

After the Ethnology Museum, Bart and I went to see the Temple of Literature Below:

Temple of Literature: Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam
Built in 1805, the The Temple of Literature in Hanoi, Vietnam was established and dedicated to learning. Stone sculptures record the names of scholars who passed its exacting examinations:

The Grounds of the Temple:

Below is the statue of Confucius, a great politician, philosopher who founded the doctrine of Confusianism which had a great impact on the culture, phsychology and ethics of the Chinese people and other neighboring countries including Vietnam:

Madonna Davidoff enjoying the flowers and scenery of Temple of Literature:

The telephone booth:

The rooftop of the Temple of Literature:

Vietnamese Water Puppets:

Bart with one of the Vietnamese musical performers:
We bought two CDs of Vietnamese instrumental music.

Hello Hanoi, Vietnam

April 21, 2009

Landed in Hanoi, Vietnam and meeting my hubby Bart,

we checked in at The Intercontinental Hotel Westlake, Hanoi:
These are the rooms at the Intercontinental above the Westlake:

Our Bedroom at the hotel:

Below , infront of the rooms:


Our first breakfast Breakfast in Hanoi, Vietnam: Great Buffet,
a selection of Vietnamese, French and other international dishes.

Touring the Old City , Hanoi:
The Old Twon of Hanoi, is very colorful, lots of motorbikes,
peddlers, vendors, little shops and markets:

Bart looking for directions:

I am in one of the traditional shops in the old town:

Below, I bought a custom made stamp with my signature in it:

Inside one of the small temples in the old city:

School children in the Old town:

In the French Town, Hanoi ( Influence of French Colonial time)

We had to take the motorbike: what an experience: whew! they go very fast .

Goodbye Bali

April 20, 2009

Before leaving Bali for Hanoi, Vietnam I made sure I went to some spas in Bali.
All tanned from swimming, I am realxing after a massage at one of my favorite Spas in UBud: The Sangrila Spa and Verona Spa:

Maritel and I after our full body massage and Lulur Balinese scrub finished off with a soak in petal flower bath at the Verona Spa in Mokey Forest Road, Ubud. Bali:

The facility at Verona SPA:

Bali ,Rice Terrace Walk in Ubud

One of my daily routine in Bali is taking a meditative walk through out
the rice field terraces of Ubud.
In Ubud, the air is cool and crisp at this time of the day.

I start my walk from here:

I continue my walk by passing by some farmers working on their rice fields:
They are very friendly. Behind the rice fields are some balinese villages:

A small balinese house in the middle of the rice field. I wonder who lives there:

Come follow me for more Rice Terraces and fields.

A farmers resting hut:

A temple dedicated to to Dewi Sri the Rice godess:

Another Balinese house in the middle of rice field:

During my walk I go back to Saris Oganic Cafe to have tea.
Sometimes I even have breakfast there.

A view from Saris Organic Cafe:

The Entrance to Saris Organic Cafe:

First Destination : BALI

I am staying again at Ubud Inn (where the author Elizabeth Gilbert of the book "Eat Pray Love" mentioned meeting one of the Staff of Ubud Inn named Mario or I Nengah Urip -his Balinese name) at Monkey Forest Road, in Ubud Bali.

Below is Mario and I in front of the water pond Garden in Ubud Inn: Mario Speaks several languages and I was able to converse with him in English and French since I also speak French , so I was very much impressed with him. He also speaks a little bit of German, having studied it in school here in Bali. He plans to take me to the famous healer/palm reader named Ketut Liyer ( also mentioned in Gilbert's book) in Ubud. I am looking forward to have my palm read. I recommend Mario as a guide/driver to anyone coming to Ubud. His email is mariourip@yahoo.com.

This is my second time here in Ubud Inn and myseventh time in Bali. Yes, I love the island so much i keep coming back. Below is my little "Bungalow with my own walkway leading to the front porch.

I enjoy staying at this place , the staff is very nice:

and it has a beautiful garden landscape with salt water pool.

It also has wireless connection from the front restaurant where I am blogging this.
My front door, beautiful Balinese architectural design :

My simple Balinese bed : In some of the other places that I had stayed, in Bali ,
the furnishings are more intricate then the one I have below, but this bed is one of the most comfortable I've ever slept in--like a baby. I like firm matresses it's better for the back.

This is where I eat my breakfast: Normally I order typical balinese Banana pancake topped with coconut and a bowl of tropical fruits such as papaya, pineappla and banana. I also enjoy a cup of rich Balinese coffee which is a lot stronger than American coffee.