Posted in Travel

Side Tangent from Travel for some music

So I’ve been out of the loop for music of late, but two artists have come back on my (and the world’s) radar, Lady GaGa and JoJo. Both of them have been out of the spotlight for years. Lady Gaga hasn’t been seen since 2013 and JoJo hasn’t had a new single for almost a decade.

Lady Gaga’s newest single is called, “Til It Happens to You” about her story of being sexually assaulted. Just hearing her song, brought shivers to my skin. She’s an incredible artist and for her to speak her story ,I can only imagine how hard that must’ve been. But I think it sends a positive message to men and women alike that it can happen to anyone. What need from each other is to be more understanding, compassionate, and kind to one another. Have a listen and be prepared to think about life for a while after.

On a lighter note, JoJo has reemerged from a long hiatus, and she still sounds great. Three of her new songs have been released, and are totally worth hearing. They’ve moved away from the pop songs and more into a deep ballad about love. I love her choices for musical instruments and her vocals still blow me away.

So have some headphones ready!

Posted in Travel

Hoi An to Hue…. what a trip

On our last day in Hoi An we actually got to meet up with Amanda (from Nha Trang) since she arrived in right as we were leaving, so we had a quick lunch together before we headed to Hue (Whe-y).

We took a very shady bus, but met a lovely Englishwoman, who’s traveling around Asia before headed to Australia to be an Au Pair for 6 months.

We hit tons of traffic due to construction, were stuck in a tunnel for a long time- about 45 minutes, at a dead stand still. Then our bus couldn’t get out of first gear, so we were literally crawling down the road for the better part of an hour. Finally we stopped when it sounded like our bus was one foot in a grave. A few locals came and helped to repair our bus.

30 minutes later we were back on track and able to go faster than first gear. We were only about 25 km away from Hue so we did indeed make it to the city by 6 pm (the estimated time, even though it’s only about 120 km away). With all of our stops, the guess was quite accurate.

But once we got to Hue, we made it to our hotel and settled in. Thank goodness!

Posted in Travel

Cham Island

Today we ventured to Cham Island, about an hour away by boat. There is no power grid there, so everyone runs all electronics off generators and the main diet of the locals is fresh seafood- scallops, squid, crabs, etc.

Fresh Seafood (PC; NJES)
Fresh Seafood (PC; NJES)

After we saw the local market part of the group split go to the beach while a few of us chose to go the the ancient pagoda that was very close by. Our guide told us that this pagoda was unique since three religious where worshipped here; buddhism, taoism, and confucianism.

Following our trip to the pagoda we met some lovely little baby calves, which I had to pet! One even gave me a kiss, very much in love with those babies!

Some of the people on the tour decided to go snorkel, but I of course opted for the beach, a lovely afternoon on an island, enjoying the sun and shade.

After the group returned from their snorkel session, we were provided a fresh seafood lunch with; prawns, squid, fish, pork, greens, noodles, rice, and for dessert we were served coconut dumplings, wrapped in banana leaves.

Overall, a lovely day at the beach and on an island.

I also mused a lot about life on the boat ride back, which I’ll go into deeper in my next post. Enjoy some pictures of Cham Island~

Cham Island (PC; NJES)
Cham Island (PC; NJES)
Crystal Clear Water (PC; NJES)
Crystal Clear Water (PC; NJES)

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Posted in Travel

My Son Temple

Today we went to the My Son Temple (Mee-Sin) where Hindus once prayed. It was stunning and gorgeous to be surrounded by temples that have been around for centuries. We left at 5 am and arrived about 6:30 for our morning tour.

Mom and I at My Son (PC; NJES)
Mom and I at My Son (PC; NJES)

Since I’m tired from traveling today, I’m going to mostly post pictures!

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Posted in Travel

Hoi An; Fittings, Food, and Fun Times!

Had my first fitting at the first shop today, and then after went to a second shop got measured and got fitted later in the afternoon. We’ll have to compare which looks better once they’re both done. But the second shop, A Dong Silk was faster and seems to have been a little better. Although my blazer from Kimmy’s is absolutely stunning! The dresses are making their way to being finished as well, but I’ll go back tomorrow for both shops to see how the fittings are going.

After the measurements were taken we left and headed to The Market for our cooking class. We started at 11 am and learned from four different cooking stations; rice pancakes/coconut pancakes, rice dumplings, crispy pancakes, and cutting Cao Làu noodles for Cao Làu soup.

Cooking Group (PC; NJES)
Cooking Group (PC; NJES)

We all had a blast trying everything out and seeing how well we did!

Rice Paper Stuck together; Jill and Lisa (PC; NJES)
Rice Paper Stuck together; Jill and Lisa (PC; NJES)
Cutting Cao Làu Noodles- really tough! (PC; NJES)
Cutting Cao Làu Noodles- really tough! (PC; NJES)
Very weird foods! (PC; NJES)
Very weird foods! (PC; NJES)

We looked at many strange and different foods; pig ear, liver, cheek, and other parts all in a stew (I passed), unborn chicken eggs (totally passed), fried frog (I tried, it really did taste like chicken!), clams, jellyfish salad (passed), silk worm salad (literally looked like maggots, totally and most definitely passed).

All in all, new foods were tried, new friends were made, and new memories were created!

Posted in Travel

Hoi An; Shopper’s Paradise; World Heritage Sites; and More

We arrived to Hoi An at 7 am this morning and were brought to our hotel Nhi Trung Hotel, located a short walk from the main strip of the city/town.

IMG_6231On our first day we got fitted for some dresses and a blazer, very classy although a bit pricey.

After the initial measuring, mom and I ventured back into the city to explore. We picked up some more of the homemade cards that pop up, along with visiting the covered Japanese bridge before continuing to the other side of the village. I picked up a pair of chang (elephant) shorts which make me look a big bottom heavy!

We found a lovely western café named Cargo, also owned by the woman who opened Morning Glory were we went for dinner later in the evening. I ordered a delicious Passion Fruit Juice while mom got an Iced Chocolate, both wonderful choices in the blazing heat.

Later we dined at Morning Glory, the newest of restaurants owned and operated by Mrs. Vy.

**pictures to follow, can’t update**

Once dinner was finished we left and walked around town a little more before calling it a night

Posted in Travel

Nha Trang the Beach

After breakfast we walked to the beach, and boy oh boy were we glad we stayed the night!

Panoramic of Nha Trang (PC; NJES)
Panoramic of Nha Trang (PC; NJES)

Very much worth stopping here because the water was crystal clear, sand- a beautiful yellow, and a blazing sun paired with a breeze. Perfection.

Mom and I (PC; NJES)
Mom and I (PC; NJES)
Posted in Travel

Nha Trang; another slice of Heaven

So we took a 5 hour bus from Mui Ne to Nha Trang with the intention to head straight to Hoi An since it was a long ride. Once we arrived to Nha Trang though we decided to stay for the night and break up the trip a little. That being said we met a very nice young woman traveling for a year after taking a year of absence from work in Montreal. We ended up staying at the same hotel as her, since we didn’t make plans and were trying to get away from all the hecklers as quickly as possible.

It ended up being very VERY close to the beach and very budget friendly

Dolla Hotel (PC: NJES)
Dolla Hotel (PC: NJES)

After we settled in, we went to dinner with our new friend to a wonderful little place called Chopsticks

Post Dinner Photo Op (PC; NJES)
Post Dinner Photo Op (PC; NJES)

Following that evening, the next day we ventured to the beach, but not before stopping for breakfast at Kirin Restaurant, very close to the beach.

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Breakfast Fruit Plate (PC; NJES)

Posted in Travel

Mui Ne… literal heaven on earth.

So after we arrived at Mui Ne, we stayed at little resort called Mia Resort.

Reception (PC; NJES)
Reception (PC; NJES)

Upon our arrival, we were greeted with mango sherbet and ginger iced tea, plus an iced cloth. I can definitely get used to living like a princess, first step. Move to a foreign country, money last so much longer that way! 😉

But truly this was a wonderful way to relax, and mellow out. A much needed actual vacation after the year I’ve had. All thanks to mom, so thank you mom for providing me with such a great chance to see the world, but also kick back and relax.

Bungalow 27 (PC; NJES)
Bungalow 27 (PC; NJES)

As much as I’d love to talk about how great it was to sit back and relax, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Carrot Juice and Passion Fruit Juice (PC; NJES)
Carrot Juice and Passion Fruit Juice (PC; NJES)
View of the Pool (PC; NJES)
View of the Pool (PC; NJES)

So we had breakfast included every morning; a mix of the buffet- traditional Vietnamese food and Western food, a selection off the a la carte menu.

We opted usually to dine at our place because the ambiance was so pleasant, a breeze at all hours, and also the service was divine. The staff was more than accommodating, friendly, professional, and helpful.

I plan on coming back for sure!

On our last evening we decided to leave our little bubble and dined at a wonderful Indian place called Ganesh.  Also would give this place 2 thumbs up!

First night at Mia (PC; NJES)
First night at Mia (PC; NJES)
Spa time! (PC; NJES)
Spa time! (PC; NJES)

We were also given 2 free complimentary 30 hour recovery massage at their spa.

Talk about relaxing and refreshed afterwards. The music lulled us to peace and the masseurs were above all, professional and polite.

Panoramic of Pool (PC; NJES)
Panoramic of Pool (PC; NJES)
Panoramic of Mui NE (PC; NJES)
Panoramic of Mui NE (PC; NJES)

And of course I can’t forget to include my new life motto;

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Off to Nha Trang!

Posted in Travel

Sleeping Buses, yes they’re a thing. I want to franchise it in American *DIBS*

So we decided to take a bus from Saigon to Mui Ne, which was a total of less than 5 hours, although the book claimed it would be closer to 5. We booked a sleeping bus, which consists of three columns and two rows of partially reclined seating.

It was a great way to travel, although the buses are a bit narrow for walking around with a backpack! If you’re ever in Vietnam, I would totally recommend taking one of these. Actually a guy I met in Saigon, Shane, kindly told me that the buses are actually quite comfortable and nice. I didn’t believe it, but call me a liar, he was correct! Guess that first pint is on me!

Since I can’t upload pictures at this time, I’ll have to come back and do that later!