Notes from Hanoi
First let me apologize for the interruption in blogging. My email was hacked in Bangkok when I used a machine in our hotel at the end of the red light district which was booked for us at the airport curtesy of the Thai government…go figure. It was an education all around. Did you know that half of the beautiful girls offering their wares are not girls? I’m not sure whether the European and American men I saw there looked sad, surprised or resigned. It’s a mystery.
After we got to Yote’s things started to look up, we saw the city from the river buses and the sky train, easy to use and delightful. The sleeping Buddha and the standing one, the cannon in front of the palace were amazing. We spent a couple of days wandering until…Yote’s father took us to dinner on the river. Tom offered to pay and dropped his credit card! Did you know that even when the credit card company says you can replace the card, you can only do it in the USA? So the new cards had to be sent to my efficient brother who overnight end them to us in care of Yote. Of course, “overnight” is nearly a week half way around the world. So Yote and his dad sent us to Hua Hin to their fabulous condo on a magnificent beach…poor us! We were 5 kilometers outside the town on a part of the beach near the queens summer palace…poor us! Where we spent a delightful week until the cards and my daughter’s generous wire of cash came in. Did you know that certain banks, like ours, block their ATM s in certain countries? They never told us when I sat with them and made a complete list of our itinerary before we left the states. Oh, the things one learns while traveling. Imagine, Thailand is a blocked country, while I can use the ATM in Vietnam, go figure!
Anyway, when we finally left Yote’s house, he had done everything imaginable for us, lent us cash, driven us to the station, we finally left. To said you could hear the sigh of relief, but Yote was far too generous and gentlemanly to show anything but kindness. We boarded a plane for Hanoi. Flying is the only way to fly, forget trying to overland when you have wasted a week. I will try to add photos. At 8am we leave for Halong Bay boat trip.
Right now I’m at a hotel on the beach at Hua Hin. They think I’m a guest (I’m staying at a neighboring condo) so they gave me one hour free WiFi. They never asked if I was a guest. I will try to write the blog before they figure it out.
We were staying with Julia’s friend Yote in Bangkok. He has been wonderful, talking us out for breakfast, equipping us with a cell phone, lending us money. Last night his father took us all to dinner on the river, great Thai food!!! Tom, Yote’s father is a great conversationalist and a jolly man. Our Tom started telling him about our squirrel problem. He countered with the big problem at his farm …elephants eating the coconut trees. Thai tom has a 400 acre farm that abuts the national park, you know elephants, tigers, that sort of thing. The elephants, wild ones, have destroyed 800 trees of sweet coconuts that Tom was growing organically. Tom certainly had one up on us. Then our Tom began brainstorming about the problem elephants. Together they came up with a paste made of strong peppers that could be painted onto the trunks of the coconut trees. Yeah, and what if these elephants, being Thai, actually love hot, spicy food? The men had a ball talking and laughing about that and golf. I wish Yote’s whole family lived closer to us.
Yote gave us the keys of his parents condo on the beach at Hua Hin where we are now, beautiful but not many elephants. So we did have a small crisis this morning. Tom lost his credit card, we had to cancel it and are trying to secure new. What a hardship being in a luxury condo on the beach in a resort town in Thailand. Poor us! W had a long walk on the beach, watched people dig for cockles, and fish boats trawl for what ever seafood was in our delicious rice noodles. Poor us. Now we will toddle back to the condo after dinner and go to air conditioned sleep overlooking the sea. These hardships sure are difficult.
Pretty sultry here, but no rain today. Bangkok is an interesting place, street food is great, just ate a bag of pork. Strips and ribs. Lots of fruit for sale and wonderful drinks. The market scene was wild but pretty commercial except for some reproduction antiques. Dad was looking for bugs and coins. Found coins but expensive. Neat trendy clothes for young people cheap.
Coming home saw lots of prostitutes at bars waiting for men. Dad not impressed.
Everyone here very thin. Must loose weight…hand me another pork rib.