Monday, November 2, 2015

On to Hanoi, October 31, 2015

Our first night in Hanoi we went down the street from our hotel to a grocery store.  I picked up quite a few food items to do a bit of cooking when I get home.  After having supper at a small Vietnamese restaurant on the way we headed back to the hotel.  Here you often have to walk in the road with the motorbikes and cars as sidewalks are totally covered. With parked motorbikes, street food sellers and in this case a family having dinner.  We stopped to see what they were cooking and they invited us to join them.  They pulled out a couple very plastic stools for us. I almost fell over trying to sit on it.  Not so hard for betsy. As soon as we sat down they pulled out a couple. Green plastic cups for us and poured in beer out of a two liter bottle.  Who could say no.  Then they wanted to share their food which we turned down.  During the second glass of beer 3 policemen in green pulled up to the curb.  There were two other police in blue on the street.  Everyone jumped up and started piling up the stools, moving the cooker and generally getting out of the way.  I asked a girl if we should leave, she said yes, we said thanks and proceeded down the street.  They were all so gracious and generous.  A great time.   Below are a few of the group. 

This encounter was a highlight for us.  Notice the motorbikes behind us parked on the sidewalk

Our hotel in Hanoi was host to many members of the communist party who were in town for a meeting which happens every four years.  Because of these we had a bit of extra security

All the attendees had matching suits and briefcases.  Their ties and socks (if they wore them) were different

While out shopping we met this baby. Her mother had a clothing shop about 4 feet wide. She will grow up in that shop. 

The changing of the guard at ho chi Mihn memorial

This lovely lady chews beetle juice. It does darken the teeth, but is really red.  Her teeth have been blackened to make her more beautiful

She and betsy are tight buddies

Packaging noodles.  Sometimes you just have to use your feet

A beautiful girl from Nigeria we met at the ethnographic museum. Sue was in Vietnam studying software design

Climbing down from the long house. We were supposed to touch the boobs.  I can't now remember why. The house gets longer as the family gets bigger.  A new room is added with each marriage in the family

We visited the prison where many American pilots were held during the Vietnam war.  The prison was actually built by the French when they ruled the area.  They used it to detain Vietnamese protestors

Very interesting to read their take on things.  One of the exhibits has john mccains flight suit in it.

In a grocery store we found this baby milk

We are now on the plane flying from Hanoi to Taipei. After a 2 hour layover there we are on to San Francisco

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Custom made clothes , October 29,2015

These are our custom made clothes. Planning to wear them to next years class reunion.  Won't that be fun!

While we waited for our clothes to be made we had a one hour massage from these lovely ladies who had just opened up that day so of course we got a 30% discount.  Our one hour massage lasted over an hour and a half.  We didn't get back to pick up our new clothes til almost 10 pm

We had lunch at a buddahist nunnery. This is a 16 year old nun who has been at the nunnery for four years. She was very shy. 

On the road from Hanoi to Halong bay we passed this farm.   This morning we flew from Hue to Hannoi, then drove 90 miles to Halong bay.  Along the way we had lunch at a workshop where many handicapped people work. 

This girl is doing embroidery by hand. All the work was typical local scenes

There were a lot of people doing the same work. I wouldn't last long doing this sewing.  They were all sitting on plastic lawn chairs. 

How do you bury an emperor - Hue, Vietnam. Wednesday, October 28, 2015

We went on a boat to visit the tomb of the 4th emperor of Vietnam. Along the way,we saw a variety of sights. This gentleman paddled up to our boat for a sale.

At the tomb of the second to last emperor (early 20th century) the climb to the top was 138 steps in 90 degree heat.  Our group rose to the occasion and very few chose not to make the climb. Each emperor builds his own tomb. This King was in some disfavor because he designed a high priced structure to house his remains.  He actually died before it was finished, but the tomb was still finished because the people are very superstitious and even though they were taxed heavily for it they werent willing to take the chance. The emperor had quite a few guards at the tomb. 

The tomb part was at the top.  Spare no expense.  Lots of decoration done with mosaic.  Much broken China in the designs. This box houses the emperor. 

Also stopped at a buddahist temple along the way.

This monk lakes around and didn't talk, but every so often he hit this metal bowl with a hammer.  Cool song. Long lasting gong

This is a baby monk.  Till they pass a certain level of proficiency (maybe about 16) they keep this shock of hair.  When a full fledged monk, it all gets shaved.

This is frame of a hat worn by many field workers we saw. There are 9 circle hoops that ironed grasses are sewn to.

Grasses are sewn on

Early in the evening betsy and I went to a market. In the section of the market with numerous tailors we decided to have outfits made.  Many measurements were taken.  This is a photo of my numbers

This whole family took part in the making.  Silk shirts and black pants for next years class reunion

Driving highway 1 along the South China Sea, Tuesday, October 28, 2015

Today we drove along Highway 1 which pretty much follows the South China Sea and through some knarley mountains.  We talked at lunch with a Viet vet in our group and asked him about his feeling.  He said it was weird to travel this highway because it was  a major sight of fighting during the war. 

A stop was made at a marble statuary "factory". This lady is doing some final sanding on this piece of pink marble.  An english speaking employee told betsy the pieces are mostly made at a factory somewhere else.  I picked out the table and stools below. Without asking me where I lived a sales person told me I could buy it and have it shipped for $2200. Sounded pretty cheap. But no sale.

Didn't even think of buying this guy

Really hot so had Huda beer with lunch. Love it.

Did a walking tour of the imperial palace. I love the way it has weathered over time.

Flag of Vietnam 

Below are a mother and child on a motorbike.  Many of the women cover all their skin when outdoors. To be beautiful, you must be white.  It was about 90 degrees this day and most young women wore face covering, long sleeves and many had hoods on their shirts.  It was also common for their hands to be covered.  Some still wore the face covering at night just to filter the air.

This girlies a university student visiting the palace.  She had a decorative face covering with a teddy bear on it

In our hotels, betsy always got the long robe!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hoi An life and crafts, Monday, October 28

We started our day on a boat like this to ride to see how the fishermen work and to end up in a village where many craftsmen live and work

This is a small fishing boat that will not go out to the ocean. Many of the fisherman throw large nets and catch anchovies 

This is a larger boat that may go out to sea for several days to a week. Scary!

Saw lots of these nets.  They are dropped down and after a bit lifted up.  Didn't see it happen

This is a motorbike ferry. Costs 500 dong (25 cents). Motorbikes everywhere

Organic greens farm

60,000 dong was the price for two small cups of delicious cinnamon ice cream.  20,000 dong = $1
The money here takes concentration.  We sometimes get our decimal in the wrong place.  Betsy was bargaining for something and offered 5000. She was turned down before realizing she had offered $0.25 for a shirt

Below is the $1.50 pedicure. This woman found us in the street. Promised $1.  Took us to this room. And then the price went up if we wanted more than color.  

Lots of tailors here.  You can get fine clothes made at a good price if you know which one to go to. All machines I saw were treadle. 

We were trying to walk down this street to find a cup of coffee.  Movement is challenging   We are still unscathed.  

Because we were so tired we took a taxi back to our hotel and ate across the street.  Here we are with the owner of the restaurant. She asked to have her picture taken with us   The cute waiter/bartender made us a tamarind margarita with salt, sugar and hot pepper on the rim.  Delicious. We did have to share a bottle of Larue beer to put out the fire.

Our bartender with the margaritas. 

Our new best friends!