A Travellerspoint blog

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Arrived at first destination

Hong Kong

rain 32 °F
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After just over an 11 hour flight I arrived at Hong Kong airport. First impressions is it is a very clean and nice place with tons of helpful staff. So after a brief chat with staff at the airport I got myself organized with buying an Octopus card (like a UK Oyster card), took the Airport Express train then the subway to Causeway Bay where my hotel is located. All very easy and straight forward, have to admit I felt very safe, although I have just started this great adventure on my own.

Ok need to get out and explore this amazing place, where I almost relocated to many years ago, those of you that know me, will know the back ground on that. Guess it was just not meant to be, however I am pleased that I have finally got to visit such a lovely place, I almost had the luck of calling home. Not many of you know that.... Plus by the end of my adventure some of you may question if you really know me at all.

Just when I thought things could not get any better. I have now found out Times Square is just next door, with all the shops which is open until 22:30 at night. A huge thanks to my friend Joyce who recommended the hotel, which also includes breakfast. I first met Joyce when I interviewed her for a position at our overseas location by video conference, apart from that we have never actually met in person. This was another reason for wanting to make Hong Kong my first destination, to meet such a dear friend, whom I have been in contact for well over 5 years, via e-mail and Skype.

This evening I ate at a the Uosen Japanese Resturant, meal cost me £10:00 including a large glass of red wine, plus Japenese tea, so all in all a very good start.

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Posted by djAsia2010 04:36 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Hong Kong

Finally got to meet my dear friend Joyce

storm 77 °F
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Well dinner was just amazing! After getting turned away from an exclusive Private Members Club restaurant where my friend Joyce had booked due to wearing flip flops or thongs as some call them, forgot my shoes in the UK due to the strict 20kgs allowance for two plus months travel not good. Only shoes I had was my walking boots which did not really go with my outfit..... Funny that.

Anyway after rushing to good faithful Marks & Spencers for a pair of flat shoes, we returned to the restaurant where we were greated and treated to free champagne as an apology for turning us away due to my footwear (clearly not something which would happen in the UK). Of course no complaints on our part........ plus the club has rules and I was very lucky that they held our table, whilst I went off shopping for shoes... Yes let's just say fingers crossed this is the start of my lucky phase in life.. long may it continue.

The restaurant was amazing, lovely setting amazing food and fantastic entertainment, which was just completely different and really nice to see, especially for someone like myself who has never been to hong Kong before.

Joyce if you ever read this! You certainly do not look your age.... you looked amazing, plus are an amazing person, who I feel very lucky to have as a friend. Thanks for showing me what Hong Kong has to offer, the lovely meal at the Private Members Club and the present which you brought me. You have a special place in my heart and I will never forget the kindness you showed me. When you visit London of course it will be my turn to repay the kindness to you and your family.

Posted by djAsia2010 08:55 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Vietnam

Ho Chi Min City - good morning Vietnam!!!

sunny 85 °F
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Ok so I arrived safe and well in Vietnam, after a shot flight from Hong Kong. I arrived at the very busy hot and sweating airport where I embarked on finding my hotel transfer. The hotel was centrally located giving a good feel of the local area and how people live in this amazing city also known as Saigon.

After checking in and heading to the welcome party, I got to meet 11 great people who will be my travelling companions for my tour around Vietnam. Our tour guide from Intrepid is from Vietnam in the North, so there is nothing that he does not know. Am sure we are in for the time of our lives.......

On our first day we visit all of the amazing sites that Ho Chi Minh City has to offer, including a cyclo tour so we get to experience the crazy traffic in the city first hand. Families of four mum, dad, and two small children all on a moped, yes you can only imagine.

Day three we leave and start our travels to Vinh Long!! This is where we do our homestay to experience how the locals live, a huge difference from the City I can assure you. We take a bus ride to Mekong Delta, where we take a boat ride along the Mekong river, which connects Vietnam to Cambodia by water, plus is the gateway to the Indian Ocean. Everywhere we go we are greeted with huge smiles and people saying 'hello' the only word that we both know and understand, upon our arrival. Due to our great guide he has taught us some key words so we can interact with the locals, rather than them always making the effort to communicate with us. For example the following:

Hello - Xin chao
Thank you - Cam on
See you later - Hen gap lai
Yes - Vang (North)
Yes - Da (South)
No - Khong
Excuse me/sorry - Xin loi

Along with basic phases for drinks and food, all of this has made a huge difference to our travels and enables us to get by on our own and enjoy our free time on this tour.

I am so glad that I decided to return to such a wonderful place, although I am very different from them, they could not be more welcoming. Walking through airports I am made to feel like some sort of celebrity as everyone just stops and stares at me, guess they were not expecting to see such a talk female with such long legs, walking through there airport. Although a little daunting the first time it happened, I do not feel threatened in any way, totally the opposite, actaully it feels like a place I could call home.

Posted by djAsia2010 07:30 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Vietnam

Overnight sleeper train to Nha Trang

all seasons in one day 85 °F
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Goodbye Ho Chi Minh City......after a busy and final day, and a dash around the markets, we made our way to the train station where we all clubbed together to buy vodka, beers for our journey, as it was a group decision that we would hold a small party in one of the cabins (ok it was my idea really, I put my hands up...), which sleeps 4 people. Things started off well with 12 yes...... of us all in the one cabin, as you can imagine it did not take long before the cabin where I was sleeping was trashed, food was on the bunks, drink spilled everywhere, when after a quick loo break I met James and Karen who are both from the UK they are currently working and living in Singapore. Yes me being me I invited them to join us, so off they went back to there cabin to get the drink they had brought for the trip, where we all laughed and chatted until the small hours of the morning, with 3 hours remaining of our train journey and the drink all finished, thank heavens!!!! We decided to turn in for the night/morning, what was we thinking (or I thinking). I had turned into a nurse... given I was taking people or should I say guiding them back and forth to the bathroom, as no way they would have made it otherwise.

After feeling like I had just got into bed and closed my eyes, I hear the train guard.....banging on the door telling us it was the final station Nha Trang, we had arrived, the sun was already peeping through the clouds at 5:33am in the morning. We crawled onto our air condition bus for a short journey to our hotel where we all ate the biggest breakfast, no we did not all have hangovers, well I certainly did not, due to drinking the least and making sure everyone was ok before heading to bed myself. Let's just say a few of the group let there hair down, so much so they spent a huge part of the train journey throwing up.

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Posted by djAsia2010 08:41 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Vietnam

Xin chao - hello in Vietnamese

sunny 86 °F
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We set off at 8:00 this morning for our boat trip to a small fishing village which was just beautiful. Full of lovely smiling children all wanting to say hello to us...... Having over 20 under 5's running towards you all shouting hello was something quite special. Another picture to store in my mind of all those happy smiling faces which made my heart just melt. The lovely thing about children is that no matter what your race, they have nothing but unconditional love for you. They are clearly used to the camera and all demanded that we click click so you will take their picture, when you do all of them want to see your camera so they can see the image. They all seem so happy although they live very basically, a lot of us could learn from them.

We then took the boat out where we had the chance to swim, snorkel off the boat, the weather was just amazing along with the water, so salty, that you did not even have to swim just lie back and float, heaven. We had a lovely lunch on the boat, just how do the Vietnamese manage to do such fine food with limited space and resources, they provided use with a feast of fish, chicken, beef, noodles, rice, vegetables, squid, all cooked fresh on the boat. The fish was caught fresh when we were on the boat, Lam our guide who had the nickname Lamb Chop was just fantastic. He was fit, looked a little like Bruce Lee the kung fu legend, and made sure our trip with him was fun and enjoyable... plus most of the girls thought he was fit (nice looking for the older generation amongst us).

Just when I thought things could not get any better we then set off for Nha Trang beach which was just amazing. It is a pebbled beach, but here we had the chance to go in the jet-ski's, play volleyball and the like, plus have some pampering, after a tough couple of days I decided to do the works, manicure, pedicure, leg massage, plus I also had half a leg threading done, all of this cost me 390,000 VD which is just £13:00 bargain. Nha Trang has a special place in my heart for sure, I will be sad to leave tomorrow, that said it will be good to see what Hoi An has to offer.

Posted by djAsia2010 08:25 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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