June 18, 2013

If We Had a Top 10... (Hoi An, Vietnam)

If we were making a Top Ten list of our favorite stops on this trip, Hoi An, Vietnam, would definitely make the cut. (Though I don't think we ever will make a Top Ten list because it's next to impossible to rank all these amazing experiences. What makes something a favorite? Was it the best beach? The most intense? The funniest experience? The friendliest locals? Impossible. So we probably won't' do that.) As I mentioned in our post about Hue (read here), we visited Hoi An twice. The first time, we visited on a day trip with Roman while he was visiting us in Lang Co, Vietnam (read about Roman's visit to Lang Co for my 30th birthday here) After Roman left us, Tom and I decided we wanted to spend more time in Hoi An and ended up staying almost a full week.

Japanese Bridge, Hoi An

June 13, 2013

Best Birthday Card Ever!

I've been meaning to share this video with you all for awhile. My good friend, Nickie, sent me the best birthday card to Vietnam. (Read about my 30th birthday here.)

You guys, that's a talking horse with the voice of my friend, Nickie. Everyone needs one of these.

Thanks for thinking of me, Nickie! (She also sent an awesome lip balm with SPF from Hurraw. It's organic and vegan and raw and fair trade and all those hippy dippy things, and I LOVE it!)

Death by Africa (This is just a joke, Mom.)

So, as it turns out, when we casually and impulsively decided to visit Africa (read here), that we were unprepared for the amount of planning a trip like our's requires. Tom has been hard at work on an itinerary for South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia for weeks now. We'll share some details about how we plan on exploring Africa in a later post. For now, I want to tell you some scary shit I've been reading. I've been reading several different guide books and have come to one very serious conclusion: Death in Africa is pretty much a sure thing. 

(Mom, That was a joke. It's safe. I promise. Kind of.)

June 12, 2013

Huế in a Day (Huế, Vietnam)

Roman, Tom, and I are quite the trio. Tom knew Roman from the first time he lived in San Francisco (about 13 years ago when I'm sure they were involved in some shenanigans I'd rather not know about) and, when we returned to SF together in 2004, I was quickly introduced to Roman. His giant personality was overwhelming to a newbie like me but, over time, I couldn't help but love Roman. This was no more evident than the time about 5 years ago when Tom told Roman that he and his cat could move into our apartment with us for a few months without consulting me. (Roman had just bought a condo in the city but needed to leave his rental before the condo was ready, so needed a place to stay.) Of course, I gave Tom a stern talking-to for springing this on me without asking but, mostly, I was excited. It was during these two months that we really became the Three Amigos, the Three Musketeers, the Three….Little Pigs? What I mean is that we perfected the art of staying in, ordering take-out, and making games out of whatever was on TV. We had so much fun together, and we were all sad to be apart when Roman moved into his new place. It was also during this time that Roman became as much of my friend as he was of Tom. So, to say that I was happy to see him when he FLEW OUT TO VIETNAM FOR MY 30TH BIRTHDAY is an understatement. I was over-the-moon! The best part about our time with Roman was that the three of us got to be together again. But another great part of his visit was that we took 2 really great day trips. The first day trip we took was to Hoi An, which was amazing! We'll write more about Hoi An later. It was so fantastic that Tom and I went back and spent almost a week there after Roman went back to the States, so we'll combine our stories and photos from both visits into one post - coming soon! Another day trip we took was to Huế (pronounced "Whay"). Huế was the capital of the Nguyen dynasty and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site full of impressive monuments, including an impressive Citadel that we toured.

June 7, 2013

My Dirty Thirty! (Lang Co, Vietnam)

You guys, I have the best friends in the world. And, beyond that, my husband is the bomb-dizzle. He's the cat's pajamas. He's the bee's knees. He's my numero uno. Seriously, you should be jealous that my husband is so fantastic. And that my friends are so amazing. Here's why.

I turned into a grown-up a few months ago. That's right, I turned 30. And, because my life is amazing right now, I turned 30 IN VIETNAM! I have to admit that I was a little down about turning 30 away from home and my friends. We make a big deal out of birthdays in my circle and both of my BFFs (also turning 30) had surprise parties for their big days. (I made special videos for them. Check out the videos I made for Ashley and Lauren.) There was a part of me that really wished I was going to be home for my 30th and showered with attention, surprises, tiaras, theme parties, and feather boas by my pals. But, of course, I was still psyched to be lucky enough to be in VIETNAM for the big day! My biggest request for my birthday was that it be a bit luxurious. I didn't want to deal with haggling over a room rate, the possibility of bed bugs, or running out of hot water mid-shampoo. We used Luxury Link to find amazing deals on high end hotels for our honeymoon three years ago. (Read about our awesome honeymoon here.) Remembering how well Luxury Link worked for us before, my awesome husband (see above) returned to the site to book a place for my birthday and settled on the Angsana Resort in Lang Co, Vietnam. (Part of the Banyan Tree brand of properties.)

Embarrassing Sneak Peek of me, the Birthday Girl

June 4, 2013

Ho Chi Minh For the Win! (Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam)

Vietnam was a place that both of us were very excited to visit and after our time there we realized we loved it and we can't wait to get back!
HCM - Yes please!
Before we got to experience anything good that Vietnam had to offer we had a 16 hour, miserable, overnight bus ride from Sihanoukville that was supposed to be 11 hours (read about our time in Sihanoukville here), we arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (HCM) exhausted. 
Sleeper bus from Sihanoukville to HCM - a rough night