Month: February 2010

Sights of Saigon

This is a journal entry from my trip:

Another fantastic day in Vietnam!  I met up with April and her friends Shea from Australia and Kelly from New York, and we all went to the War Remnants Museum and then for lunch.  The museum was very graphic (much more than the Cu Chi tunnels) and was an emotionally draining experience, but I’m glad I went.  It only solidified my belief that Vietnamese are a very forgiving people – I think we would have a hard time treating Americans as they do if we were in their place.

We ate lunch at a Mexican restaurant Kelly had heard about, and it was very good.  They had to catch a flight at 3, so I checked into the hostel early and ran into Skeet from Luan Vu hostel; we ended up eating some more with the front desk guy from the hostel, and chatted for a couple of hours.  I did a bit of shopping then went for dinner, where I met Jo, a girl who was also eating alone.  She’s from Australia and had her passport stolen about a week ago, leaving her stranded in Vietnam over Tet (the Vietnamese version of Chinese New Year), since all the embassies and government offices are closed all week.  We ate dinner together, then went out for drinks and chatted for about four hours.  We’re meeting again tomorrow morning to explore the markets.

Advertisements

Saigon

This is a journal entry from my trip:

I had a great tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels and Caodai temple today and enjoyed it much more than the Mekong Delta tour yesterday.  On the tour I met a girl from Australia, April, and we spent most of the day together.  Once we arrived back in Saigon we went for dinner at Zen, a very yummy vegetarian restaurant.  I’m meeting up with her tomorrow, and we’re going to see some of the sights in Saigon.  I’m not sure what I’m doing this weekend yet, but that’s the fun part of backpacking!!  Maybe I’ll find a pool…

Vietnam

This is a journal entry from my trip:

We arrived yesterday afternoon and spent the next few hours trying to figure out how to get through immigration.  What a long process!  We were all pretty tired so it was a relaxing afternoon and evening.  I’ve been getting out on my own more often, and met a named Skeet (not sure how to spell it) from San Francisco who is touring Southeast Asia for three weeks.

Today I met some more people on a Mekong Delta tour – Eric from France, on his way back home after finishing his MBA in Australia; a couple from Sweden, here for a month or so; and Vossito from Kuala Lumpur, here with her sister and brother-in-law for Golden Week.  It’s been a lot of fun meeting completely new people!  I’ve fallen in love with Vietnam – it’s so laidback while looking so hectic on the outside.  The weather is beautiful, the food is really good and I feel very comfortable in a country which is very foreign.

Chinese New Year, Hong Kong

This is a journal entry from my trip:

I picked up this journal at an outlet mall on the way to Lantau Island at a Roots, the last store I would have expected to see.  It turned out to be for the best, because I picked up a Roots sweater too, to replace Matt’s.

The Chinese New Year Parade was amazing and endless.  I had a great vantage point from on top of a metal barrier and enjoyed the dancers, floats, dragons, costumes and countless other things.

Weekend Happenings

Another busy week and weekend! It looks like the frequency of my blogging is going to continue to decrease as I spend more time on school. Already I am wondering if it was smart to take six modules as this is considered an extremely heavy courseload; four or five is normal at NUS, even for engineering students. Unfortunately, my colleagues at Waterloo are taking six courses and I would be very behind if I missed even one course. I am very glad that the courses at NUS seem to be lighter than those at UW!

On Saturday I went shopping in Chinatown, and watched some of the Thaipusam parade in Little India. Thaipusam is a Hindu festival in honour of the birthday of Murugan, the youngest son of the god Shiva and his wife Parvati, as well as the occasion when Parvati gave Shiva a spear to vanquish the demon Soorapadman. It is celebrated by a pilgrimage along a set route, often carrying pots of milk as offerings to Lord Murugan; some pierce their tongue and cheeks as well, and others insert hooks in their back and attach ropes which are ether pulled by a person walking behind or used to tow a bullock cart. The greater the pain, the greater the god-earned merit. (From Wikipedia)

Sunday afternoon I spent at Siloso Beach on Sentosa Island, a resort just off the harbour in Singapore – I’ve posted photos, although you may want to grab a towel if you’re prone to drooling. After a very relaxing afternoon I met up with my roomate, Pooja and some friends of hers, and we headed to the Geylang (red light) district for some fantastic Northern Chinese food. Surprisingly, the red light district is known for its delicious food, and the taxi driver who took us there told us there are even many families that come to this area simply for this reason! Despite this, the area was very male-dominated and I felt both conspicuous as a woman and glad to have two guys in the group to look out for the girls.