Remember how I said "Today we are picking up our clothes from the tailor" well, that was 2 days ago and we STILL haven't picked up the stuff. You know why? GETTING CUSTOM MADE CLOTHES IS ADDICTIVE every time we go its "another shirt" and "maybe these in red as well" so that we have 30 things to be made and picked up! Now in my opinion; that's alot. Mum is the worst she wants ths pair of pants in 5 different colours, 3 night dresses, 2 jackets, 2 silk shirts and other bits! I cannot believe the amount of stuff she is getting...

I am only getting to things; a gold silk jumpsuit and a bathing costume which will hopefully be great if we ever get them....

Today the boys rejected us so we went on a bicycle adventure we had a loveley time; tomorrow another adventure awaits,
and more clothes.
 
Today we are changing hotels, going to the beach and picking up our custom made clothes...

The day before yeserday we arrived in Hoian and were very pleased with what we found. Hoian is a chilled touristy yet absoluteley beautiful city. Full of old french buildings on the waterfront, cobbled alleys and hundreds of tailors and shoemakers. The first day was spent walking round soaking up the relaxed and laid back atmosphere, sleeping and drinking juice. We were pretty tired from our four hour car trip and really just wanted to eat and sleep. WE found a restaurant near our hotel which was amazing. Mum absoluteley died because it was so nice. It was a really old mouldy building with loveley shutters and mossy green walls cracking plaster but it was filled wiith old and new asian and european furniture which just made the whole thing very elegant. And the food was delicious.

Yesterday was also VERY lazy and was a girls day. We said goodbye to Dad and Cian and went to town to see the tailor. At first it was a bit awkward because we were in this big room full of mannequins and lovely fabrics and a bag full of drawings and ideas and were thinking.... "How do we start? What do we say?" But I finally made Maeve start because she is the bravest. Maeve got has ordered a party dress (designed by me) and a cropped jacket (designed by me) It was so fun walking around with the fiendly ladies talking about cut and fi and choosing fabrics for lining, jacket dress. After I had built up some confidence I pulled out some red and white stripy fabric that I wanted to be made into a swiming costume with crossed frill back and pockets in the front. I was a litte nervous that they couldn't make swimming costumes but she gave a quick glance at my drawings and closeley inspected the fabric before reassuring me that this was fine. Also on the list was a gold jumpsuit and a few pairs of pants for Mummy. We got measured up and agreed on a price before saying goodbye. The most astonishing thing was when they told us it would ALL be ready tomorrow at 4:00pm!!!!
I couldn't believe they could make all that in such a small amount of time...


Next we had a drink before heading out in search of some school shoes. I am a bit more nervous at how the school shoes will turn out and if they will be school earable, but hopefully all wil be well. After a drink a nice lady asked f we woud like a manicure; and infact I did want a manicure as a little reward for my long nails! So I left Mum and Maeve and followed this lady through the bustling markets, down a small alley and into her dark salon. It was my first ever manicure and it was very nice, I left with my nails all spiffy and pale pink with white tips and white flowers on my thumbnail.

Yesterday was great and hopefully today will be too, I can't believe our travels are coming to an end it makes me very sad but I am excited to be home....
 
It NEVER rains in Vietnam (except in wet season) but not in the dry season. Yet today, it did.

So after our first blissful sleep in in AGES I woke up to find myself with the sniffles and sneezeys but otherwise in high spirits. After a miserable attempt at a bath which ended up being cold and raining we had breakfast where Dad told us the days plan, a cycling trip to a beach about 14km away. Looking around us we looked a tad doubtful due to the rather dribbly grey weather but it wasn't raining so we shrugged and agreed and went to the bike rental.

Thank goodness dad made us bring rain coats because very very soon after we started it started to pour and pour and pour. I already had a cold so I spent the trip sneezing and coughing with rain and snot dripping from my face (gross but true). Other than being completely soaked though it was really fun and interesting. The beach was lovely though we didn't stay long because of the weather and the journey was fabulous.

I would like to take this moment to tell you all that it has been 10 days since I've bitten my nails!!! This is a HUGE achievement for me and they are the longest they have been EVER in my whole life. I hope to NEVER bite my nails again as my new years and new life resolution...

It is also 10 days till Maeve Dad and Cian are back in Sydney. Mum and I have a different flight which will take us 12 hours or so longer but its okay because Mum will probably spoil us without all the others there!
hehehe....
 


In other news a couple of days ago we went to Raffles for high tea! It was a bit spiffy in an old colonial hotel. We had the high tea in the conservatory which was like a old fashioned glass room and the food was delicious. Afterward we went to "The Elephant Bar" which was also very cool. It was an ecclectic room with big paintings of elephants on the walls beautiful elephant themed cushions and elephant heads on the walls. The whole thing was very special and really amazing...

So goodbye from rainy Vietnam...
Tomorrow we leave Hue for Hoian which is famous for food, tailors and shoe makers!!!

I am very excited but a bit sad as it will be our last stop on the trip:(

See you later,

Happy holidays,

Niamh
 
After a 10 hour bus ride from Cambodia to Ho Chi Mihn city in Vietnam; named after the father of Vietnam- Ho Chi Mihn we were very tired (being told that the journey will take 2 hours longer than planned WHILE crossing borders is stressful to say the least) we had 4 hours sleeping time befor waking at 3am to catch a plane to Hue (Pronounced Hway) which was not aloud to LAND in Hue due to bad weather so we had to keep flying around for a while till the weather improveed (remember it is 5am in the morning) so that when we FINALLY arrived in Hue we were all very grumpy.

ter a long long sleep we woke to the misty sun and quiet atmosphere of Hue -a sleepy city is nice for just walking around and watching all the interesting things go by- and got ready for a cooking class Me and Maeve (and Cian) were to do this morning.

The class started with a trip to the locals market where we bought lots of fresh produce; meat, shrimps, herbs and veg. It was really interesting and a little gross but very mouthwatering all at the same time!!! When we got back to the kitchen recipe books and fry pans, oils and lots and lots of veggies were all chopped up for us and ready to go.

We started with a pancake stuffed with pork, shrimp, mushroom, carrot and other yummies which was difficult because you had to flip it without letting anything fall out! When we finally did and started eating wide grins spread over all our faces. The pancakes were (pretty ugly but) absoluteley delicious. it didn't take us long to finish them off and get stuck in to rolling and frying fresh and fried spring rolls which were also amazing. We even let Mum and Dad try some of these and gave them a bowl of our beef noodle soup too because we were so full. All of it was gastronomical and I can't wait to make it for Mum, Dad and Nanny when we get home. nanny is always getting mad at me because I only cook cakes but i will now be able to prove her wrong...


Mu Ha Sha.....
 
Okay, so I won't do 2010, but I will write 10. I''ll try to do the best things but I am not sure if i'll remember...

Dodgy internet in Laos + Lots of adventures = Lots of time and little memory

1. Christmas was amazing, we spent it in a small tribal village located right next to a waterfall. After waking at 5am to get on a plane to Tadlo (the village) we arrived and had some breakfast before putting on some swimmers and heading to the waterfall for a christmas day swim. The waterfall was positioned like lots of small waterfalls and little pools (about the size of a swimming pool except with really strong currents) that fell into more waterfalls and more pools until you hit a really huge waterfall maybe 20m high  which flowed into the strong river. So we walked for a while, up and up trying to find the perfect pool. And we did. We had a wonderful day lazing around the waterfalls, lying on large warm rocks and swimming against the current. Making good "spas" with the smaller waterfalls where you clung to a rock and let the water beat against your back before a very different asian style christmas dinner.
 
Here we are in wonderful Laos where we have been located for 4 days, though for me it feels like only 2 and a half and it kind of has been only 2 and a half. You see in the hotel which we were staying in Luang Prabang Dad and I found we had caught the bug that Maeve and Cian had both had over the week. And we were sick as dogs...

So it wasn't until our second full day that I actually got to see Laos. We started (my) adventure with a visit to a waterfall with aqua blue water and trickling falls, it was beautiful and lovely as was the chicken sandwich I ate in the rickety tuk tuk -sheltered ute style "taxi"- The next day was started with a craft village where women were weaving shawls on the street and people were making paper. It was very interesting to see the wet goo turn into pretty sheets of paper. The day ended with a really nice 1 and a half hour massage for me which was a lavender aromatherapy, it was my first professional massage but won't be the last!!! In between we had a trip to another waterfall where we swam and mum and dad had a  few smoochies...

Did I mention the three adorable puppies who were staying at our hotel? My favourite was a really tiny.... I actually have no idea what it was but I decided to call it Coraline, the others were twin poodles and were also sweeties (but not as cute) While we were waiting for the minibus that would take us on the 6 hour journey to Vien Tien Coraline crawled all over me and annoyed dad. 6 hours later we were in Vien Tien...

NOW LET ME EXPLAIN Vien Tien to you with today.
So after a big breakfast at a bakery we put on some suncream and swimmers and went to hire 5 tubes for the day so we could go tubing. Tubing is when you float down a river in a big inflated rubber tyre. So we got our tubes and took a tuk tuk upstream. We jumped in our tubes floated down the river tall rope swings and deserted clubs all around us. We stopped for a drink but spent 3 hours floating down this river until we got back to town where we had lunch before heading back upstream on the tuk tuk again. It was now 3:00  we got out of the taxi to the sound of screaming whities and loud loud music. All around were young white people swinging over the river, dancing on the riverside clubs, drinking, swimming, jumping, screaming. I lost my shoes while rushing out of the way of a ginger who was swinging on a little flimy string, dangling 20 meters in the air.
Basically Vien Tien is a Hoon town. It is a place to go and drink, party, club dance and be young. Safe to say after a little look at the young hoons, a stop for a drink (at a bar which exclaimed; "WE HAVE PHSYCHADELIC 'SHROOMS" ) we got out of there fast bcause it was a little scary. Interesting but crazy. Vien Tien is a party town it is really hard to emphasize this. Every shop in town is an outdoor bar and every single bar just plays endless reruns of either fre\iends or family guy 24 hours a day. It is incredible.....

Tomorrow is Christmas eve!!! I only discovered this an hour ago... we will be on the road travelling all tomorrow and a bit of christmas day but our main task for christmas is Elephant riding!!!!! I hope you all have a wonderful christmas! I will try to blog a bit but internet is iffy here...

Merry Christmas,
Niamh
 

So if anyone is wondering I am still here in Vietnam with Mummy, Daddy, Maeve and Cian. 

We just returned from a cruise in Halong Bay which was fabulous. After a long and rather awkward bus ride with a couple of ausrtalians we arrived in Halong Bay. It's going to be really hard to sum up what a great time we had...

Arriving on the boat we met our familiars, the people who would also be cruising around Halong Bay.  There was Jess and Nikki, The McSweeneys and The Pearson's. From Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne...

It may have started slightly awkwardly but it was really very fun, in the end we were like best friends. we jumped on the boat and ran to our rooms. Mum had their own king size with ensuite and Maeve Cian and I were given to double bedrooms with ensuites that had a little door in  between the rooms. We spent a little bit fighting over who got a room to themselves and settled for Scissor Paper Rock (which I won). So I had my own room with a big bathroom and huge bed.

After a day of adventuring through a huge cave and pussy pathetic Kayak we returned to the boat for a sunset party before dinner. With Cinderella mocktails in hand we entered the party and got to know everyone and it was very good but the fun didn't really start till karaoke after dinner.

The challenge was set by the mcSweeneys who said that their table could beat ours at karaoke. we sat quiet but smu knowing that surprise would be the way to victory... They started with a silly song about gambling in which we snuck away to change into our costumes...
no one would know what hit them. Dad was first up with a hilarious rendition of "White Wedding" dance moves included and it was good, really good but not quite as good as th galea threes Video kill The radio star performed by Me and maeve, Cian doing lead. of course the croud was blown away and continued to be astounded through material girls performed with Jess who was on the other team and then.... well we did so many songs its hard to remember but I do know they admited defest.

The next day was mainly about nearly dying under the care of Nikki and jess who our kayak was attached to becouse Me and Maeve couldn't keep up with the group. As we exited the pith black cave that Nikki and jess had been paddling recklessly through Jess turned arounf andsaid "it was really dark in there" we look at to see that she is wearing sunglasses....In a pitch black cave! Nuh Duh...

But back to Me and Maeve. I was breaking down while maeve screamed at me because we were at least 5oom behind everyone else. Whoever decided to put us together (the two weakest members) was absoluteley bonkers so when we FINALLY caught up jess ands Nikki attached us to their Kayak.

THANKYOU!

This is a really long post...
Yet I haven't really talked at all about halong bay I haven't really done it justice.  Mums back so this is really great and today we take a plane to Laos. The post is called "The last Day in Vietnam" but really its the last day in Hanoi because in two weeks we will be back to Vietnam for the last 2 weeks of our trip. I really like Hanoi. some say its aan acquired taste but like alot of things its a taste that I really like...

So goodbye hanoi! Goodbye Vietnam!

for now....

We will be back (soon)


 
Yesterday we went on a daytrip to a river boat ride through caves along canals through valleys. It was very pleasant and we were all on little three people boats with drivers. Me and Maeve were on a boat together and our rower was very nice,

What wasn't nice was the journey there...

We thought that e would go straight to this river, maybe a 2 hour drive but after driving aroung Hanoi for an hour picking people up we realised this was not the case, when Cian threw up in the bus we knew something was even worse than a little bit of a long bus ride...You see, Cian never gets car sick, in the roughest oceans he is still reading so we knew that it was something worse than Niamh disease. He may have had a tummy bug but in anycase he wouldn't stop so I had to play Cinderella while my ugly sister and went bicycle riding Prince Charming (Dad). so I nursed Cian right through the uninteresting and unnesascary stop at a temple and at lunch. By the tme we got to the boat ride he was better....

So here I sit,  waiting for Mummy....
Picture
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Yesterday we went on a daytrip to a river boat ride through caves along canals through valleys. It was very pleasant and we were all on little three people boats with drivers. Me and Maeve were on a boat together and our rower was very nice,

What wasn't nice was the journey there...

We thought that e would go straight to this river, maybe a 2 hour drive but after driving aroung Hanoi for an hour picking people up we realised this was not the case, when Cian threw up in the bus we knew something was even worse than a little bit of a long bus ride...You see, Cian never gets car sick, in the roughest oceans he is still reading so we knew that it was something worse than Niamh disease. He may have had a tummy bug but in anycase he wouldn't stop so I had to play Cinderella while my ugly sister and went bicycle riding Prince Charming (Dad). so I nursed Cian right through the uninteresting and unnesascary stop at a temple and at lunch. By the tme we got to the boat ride he was better....

So here I sit,  waiting for Mummy....

 
I have to admit, when Dad told me our last day in Sa Pa would be spent doing a 15km mountain trek i was a little miffed. Not really very happy. Yet 15km later I am smiling ear to ear and typing enthusiastically about this walk.
    
It wasn't an early start
(thank goodness) so I was able to "sleep in" before some yummo breakfast. We met our guide (most things you do in Sa Pa must with a guide) who was a lovely local lady in traditional clothes and very good english. We packed our bags so we were ready for that night when we would be taken away by a night train back to Hanoi. I wasn't too enthusiastic when we started out but it only takes a bit of that stunning scenery and interesting winding path and you can't help but smile!

So we walked and walked and it is really hard to write how good it was, how fun it was, how amazing it was. We finished in  a small village where we ate lunch and met our driver who took us back to hot showers and free internet. So now we wait and relax till 7:00, when our train comes to whisk us away.

Goodbye sa Pa....


This is truly an amazing place.......

 
Picture
Before.
A ruff angry looking man woke up, to a most spectacular mountain view. We had decided today to rest, to have a little holiday so we slept in, read and had a nice, easy breakfast. After a bit of dazing and dozing we decided to stroll through the village of Sa Pa, in which we were staying.

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During.

A man in a stripy top, sat the gruff looking man; with hair everywhere possible on his face, down in a barbers chair in the middle of the street. A cracked mirror hung before us, and plenty of little knifes and razors. He started by giving Dad a careful once over. Over grown eyebrows, badly done choppy haircut, nostril hair and ear hair as well as an unkempt beard and rough face.
He carefully selected a bussing razor and started with the hair (on his head) by the end it was a work of art and he was like an artist at work carefully selecting his paintbrushes and making a few careful strokes before changing brush. the whole thing was so intriguing to watch, to experience.
Picture
After.
He was a new man.  Smooth and relaxed and happy. trimmed eyebrows, even haircut, clean ears and beard, soft face...
So we celebrated with an afternoon stroll up a mountain and visited pretty gardens dotted around the mountain and stunning views that accompanied them. There was one which was a bit Alice in Wonderland because to get to it you had to go up a tiny passageway of a path with big rocks to either side of you. Then it came to a dead end. We were very pussled until i carefully looked at the rock next to me....It was a secret low tunnel!!!! We crawled through it and after a bit more of a maze of passageways came to the most stunning view.....


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