Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Me and the Dutchies out in Sapa
Local friend Mih who took us on the hike
Cat Cat Waterfalls
Up in the mountains in northern Vietnam. It's amazing up here, actually cold and feels like a small alpine village in the town of Sapa. I'm finally not sweating and for the first time in months am wearing pants and shoes.

Plenty of hiking up here around the scenery. Waterfalls, terraced rice paddies and some amazing local women who wear traditional outfits that actually look good. It's a utopia away from the madness of the rest of Vietnam, which was hot, full of pushy people and too many motorbikes.

I'm sticking around here for an extra day cause it's guaranteed to be good. The first two days were rainy and misty which wasn't the best for riding motorbikes around, but still had some good pics with the mist over the mountains. Today was actually sunny, with blue skies and was a reason to go swimming in waterfalls. Super cold water, but was refreshing.

I've been kicking it with two Dutch guys I met on the train and it's been a good time. We've got our own consort of local girls who follow us around trying to sell us local products and playing pool against us. Entertaining and we get to see some of the local culture through them. Big BBQ tonight with the locals.

Off to China in two days, to spend a month there. Had to pay $130 for my visa since I'm American, so going to get my moneys worth and see as much as possible. Looking forward to it and have been getting lots of chopstick practice in Vietnam.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Eline and I spent about 2 weeks in Laos, traveling from Luang Prabang in the north all the way down to the 4000 Islands in the south, right on the Cambodian and Thai borders. Its a laid back country, with people changing Laos Peoples Democratic Republic to Laos, Please Dont Rush. Often not much to do, but just sit back and read a book, of which I got through 4.

Luang Prabang was the best city by far, a French styled town with nearby waterfalls that were amazing. Rope swings, tiered levels to jump off and some that were just good for photos. Nice and relaxing out there in cold, refreshing water to cool down from the heat in. Lots of western people around.

Sandwiches are the popular thing to eat in Laos. A Laos Style sandwich has pork, egg and tofu with a ton of chili and vegetables. Definitely the best and for the cheap price of just over $1.

Vang Vien is a beautiful setting of a river with limestone cliff mountains all around. Caves to explore and a river to go tubing down. Big party town too which was fun to watch the world cup. Germany was still rocking at this point.

Vientiane, the capital has nothing to do. by this point, Ive seen too many temples and the ones here just werent impressive. Pretty much just a stopping off point to catch a bus and later a plane.

We took a sleeper bus down to the 4000 Islands in the south. Pretty sweet bus, air conditioned with 50 beds in it. Apart from all the bouncing and the local guy who sat on my feet for a couple hours, it was a sweet ride and we got some sleep, before arriving and hopping on a large pickup truck packed full of everything. About 50 bags of rice, lots of roofing tiles and live chickens lined the middle with about 20 people sitting along the sides. Bouncy, dusty ride out to the islands, definitelz entertaining with locals selling whole roasted chickens and lots of crazy things at each stop.

The 4000 Islands were a let down. More like 50 islands with a lot of bushes around and 2 big waterfalls on rocks. We only stayed 2 days as after biking one day and kayaking the other, we'd done everything there was to do. The best part was paying just $3 for a bungalow. Super cheap, although the food was expensive and small. Not exactly the place I'd go back to, but got in some reading and chilling time.

Here are some pics to check out:

Mandalay, Myanmar

Pics from Mandalay, the big city in the north of Myanmar. I extended my stay in Myanmar to get to know the country better as its been my favorite so far. Completely different from all others. Not very western, feels completely Asian. With the extra time, I was able to go to Mandalay, to sweat in the hot room every night, hike the labyrinth called Mandalay Hill (staircases everyhere and no signs on how to get to the top), check out surrounding villages, take a picture of the popular teak bridge, see more tmeples and watch some world cup. Almost had 2 run ins with the prime minister too. Once on top of Mandalay Hill where he was hosting the Laos president, and once at a pagoda where he was rubbing gold onto Buddha. Both times, super close to him, but the barefoot security guards wouldnt let us too close.