Sunday, December 20, 2009

Why not let your inner child loose. Snow Tubing at Kingvale.

Click on photo below to view a PICASA slideshow.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

Click on photo below to view a PICASA slideshow.

Friday, December 11, 2009

December Days

Click to view some Facebook photos. Pictures are worth a thousand words.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Vietnam Tour 2009

Vietnam - thirty five years since the war. Today the enmity is gone, and they say it is a country with a unique and rich civilization, spectacular scenery and highly cultured, cordial people - the inspiration for our trip. Through an organized trip by Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT), eleven of us (from California, New York, North Carolina and Maryland) along with our trip leader, Tuan, traversed the entire country from north to south, covering seven cities. From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, stopping en route to explore the idyllic seaside retreat of Nha Trang, the French-flavored hilltop town of Dalat, and much more. We hope the pictures give you a sense of the country and the people. Here's our route through Vietnam.

Hanoi: The eleven of us met up in Bangkok, Thailand. From there we caught a flight on Vietnam Airlines into Hanoi to meet up with Tuan. The city of Hanoi with its French colonial legacy is a city of lakes, shaded boulevards and public parks. The streets are packed with traffic and motorbikes, and no signal lights. For pedestrians to cross the street - find a small break, put your foot out and start walking at a slow even pace. Never change your pace and the motorbikes ingeniously maneuvers around you. Throughout the city are a zillion cyclo rickshaws for hire. Being rickshawed through the narrow streets of the Old Quarter area showed us the city's rich cultural heritage. Click on photo below to view a PICASA slideshow.

Halong Bay: From Hanoi we drove to the magnificent Halong Bay, with its 3000-plus limestone islands rising from the clear emerald water. After spending the day cruising the bay, visiting fishing villages and exploring a cave, we spent the night on the junk. Click on photo below to view a PICASA slideshow.

Hue: The next morning we returned to Hanoi to caught a flight south to Hue. The city lies along both sides of the Perfume River. There we visited the Duc Son Orphanage, which the OAT foundation has donated funds to help the orphanage. Click on photo below to view a PICASA slideshow.

Hoi An: A picturesque riverside town south of Da Nang, a place to go for custom-tailored clothing. The city was relatively untouched by the war, and serves as a museum piece of Vietnamese history. Here are beautiful Vietnamese and Chinese temples. Click on photo below to view a PICASA slideshow.

Nha Trang: After a quick flight from Da Nang to Nha Trang, an seaside city along the South China Sea with a beautiful beach. We got to go to a beautiful island beach for relaxation (finally)! Click on photo below to view a PICASA slideshow.

Dalat: After days of hot temperature and high humidity, it was a nice change of weather upon arriving in Dalat. The city is considered the jewel of the Central Highland with lakes, waterfalls, evergreen forests and gardens. It was once called Le Petit Paris with a miniature replica of the Eiffel Tower behind the central market. Local industries include growing garden vegetables and flowers. Click on photo below to view a PICASA slideshow.

Ho Chi Minh City (HCM): After catching a quick flight to HCM, which is still called Saigon by some Vietnamese, HCM is the country's capital of commerce. Here is where you find the same designer shops as here, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Marc Jacobs and more. It is here that the economic changes sweeping the country are most evident. Here in HCM are the historical hotels. We were lucky to stay at the Rex Hotel, which during the war American Information Services made its base at the hotel, and was the scene of daily press briefing to foreign correspondents, or "five o'clock follies", as they were called. Click on photo below to view a PICASA slideshow.