Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ha Long Bay

Who says I'm a picky eater? I like Cheerios, fruit snacks and ice cream!

Yesterday we took a day trip to Ha Long Bay with the Curry Family. Maya traveled like a trooper. She cat napped a little on the way up, walked all over the boat and the island with the cave. I said to Elizabeth, I feel a 3 hour nap coming on when we boarded the van to go back. The little stinker stayed awake until the last 15 minutes of a 3.5 hour drive! She played and squawked the whole way. I do not relish the reaction I get when she gets to America and finds out we actually restrain children in car seats!

The two friends reunited. Here's Maya taking something away from Kiet (Just like old times, I'm sure.)

The Curry Family from left to right: Jud, Elizabeth, Kiet, Maggie and Blaine.

Kiet does not have two heads. That's 5 year old Minh hiding behind Kiet.

Rooster and Hen Rock, or Two Cocks Fighting, depending on which tour boat you are on.
For awesome film footage of Ha Long Bay on a sunny day, I highly recommend the movie

Remember the restaurant we went to in Saigon where the cooks are all around the perimeter? Well, they have one in Hanoi. Here we are at Quan An Ngam in Hanoi. We had our own personal nanny this time. This is Ling (spelling?). She descended upon us immediately and hovered over Maya the entire time. She even stood behind her and fed her! We finally found some chau (rice porridge) that Maya actually likes. At this restaurant, it's pureed! After Ling shoveled a whole bowl of chau into Maya, she carried her around so we could eat. We started to panic just a little when she got about 10 feet away but then she came right back.

Today at lunch Matt showed Maya another way to eat Cheerios with a chop stick. The old skewer trick!

Here's a beautiful papaya tree with blossoms. Notice the young fruit growing right out of the flower!

This afternoon we went to the Museum of Ethnology. It's a great museum about the Ethnic Minority groups of Vietnam. They make up 13% of the population and live in the Northern mountains or the Central Highlands. Most of you have probably heard of the Hmong people. They are just one of the many Ethnic groups here in Vietnam. Inside the museum are all the artifacts like religious objects, costumes, tools and musical instruments. But outside on the grounds are all kinds of traditional houses that you can walk through.

This is a Bahnar communal house where the men of the tribe would gather to make perform ceremonies and make important decisions.

This morning I moved us to a hotel down the street. When I could not talk to my boys two days in a row, even from the lobby I said enough is enough. We felt terrible but I'm so glad I did it. We found a beautiful new hotel 4 doors down the street. There is a koi pond in the lobby that Maya and I enjoy visiting on our walks. When I asked about prices, they were just a little more than the other hotel. The only room they had open was $10 more, but now we have working internet, a computer in every room, a complimentary fresh fruit plate and two free bottles of water daily. Breakfast is still included! They set up a little bed for Maya in our room (just like the other hotel). But when we returned from the museum, there was a baby toy on the bed and a baby bathtub in the bathroom! If you're ever in Hanoi I highly recommend the Hanoi Elegance Hotel. There are three of them, all downtown, convenient to everything!

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