How about a quick 2013 post with my standard promise to post more in the new year?
2013 was a busy year for me. I moved three times, started a new job, started learning a new language, and did a fair amount of studying. Moving to Vietnam was definitely the biggest event that happened, but graduate school applications were a close second. I am SO close to being done with them and I cannot wait! More posts after I turn those in! ;)
Anyway, here are a few highlights from the past year that I’d like to share:
An early Hanoi picture of Hoan Kiem Lake. My first apartment was very near here.
I learned to drive a motorbike!
I met too many of these. Ick!
I ate a lot of fun new foods! (Black sesame pudding maybe?)
I celebrated a new holiday, Tet, the lunar new year celebration in Vietnam. Here I am visiting the temple with Hien and her family.
Perhaps one of the more challenging experiences this year was teaching public school classes of 50 + kids. I’m not sure I will ever really get used to it.
Max and his family came to Vietnam. This is from a cooking class in Hoi An. I’ll make an actual post about this soon. It was so much fun!
Trekking in Cambodia with Max.
I attended (and was in) the wedding of one of my best friends. Congrats Hien and Duy!
I made a quick trip to Bangkok by myself. I could have sworn I made a post about this already. I’ll make one soon!
Quick trip to Austria. Hiking in the Alps.
Thanksgiving in Hanoi.
A new favorite winter food. Fried potatoes, fried corn, and fried bananas! YUM!
There were so many things that happened in 2013 that I did not capture on film or don’t have on my computer, including my trip to the States, but I think you get the idea. All in all it was a great year! Here’s to the many new adventures and friends I hope 2014 will bring. Happy New Year!
Asked by blocksoflife
Thank you for the compliment! :) That’s great that it motivates you…motivation is what you need the most to get traveling! The most expensive part of a trip is always the plane ticket, which usually costs me $800-$1,200, depending on where I’m going. But it’s important to remember that once you’re there you can save money in lots of ways. There are a lot experiences that come to mind, but my most memorable experience was probably exploring the night markets and the street food in Bangkok, Thailand! The food is usually one of my favorite parts about traveling! :)
I have discovered a new favorite-sugarcane juice! Small stalls began appearing around the city sometime in April, and while I first thought the idea of sugarcane juice sounded a bit odd, I decided to go for it while visiting Ho Chi Minh City and I’m glad I did! It’s sweet, but not too sweet, with a bit of added lime and ice and very refreshing. Another fun thing about this drink is the way it’s made, like fresh squeezed orange juice, but with a huge piece of sugar cane instead, which is rather entertaining to watch.
I wish I had a better picture of this, but the sugarcane is pressed through this contraption that’s cranked by hand. The sugarcane is pushed through several times until all the juice is squeezed out and it’s completely flattened.
Finished product! Yummmm.
Or get it to go. If you’re lucky you’ll get a fun Hello Kitty lid! ;)
A short while ago (okay, maybe a longer while ago…) I took a 2 week trip through Vietnam with my boyfriend. I had a blast and it was great to see and experience parts of Vietnam other than Hanoi, though I think the city still holds its place as my favorite. A close second though turned out to be Danang. I only managed to catch a quick glimpse of the city, but it was a great one. Danang has beautiful beaches, some that are almost completely deserted beaches and then less than a kilometer down, have more people crowded onto a beach than I’ve ever seen! (And I’ve seen a lot of beaches.) All along the beaches huge resorts are being built, which saddens me a bit. We stayed in a smaller hotel that was within walking distance from the beach. I’m not sure why this can’t just be good enough sometimes, but that’s probably best left for another post.
There are way more people in this crowd than the picture lets on. Check out all the people in the water. There are so many that they almost look like a solid line. Look at all that empty beach! Spread out!
The bridges in Danang are very unique, my favorite being a bridge that’s shaped like a dragon. The city has a nice blend of “modern” and “traditional” (I put these in quotes as I find the words rather subjective.), without overdoing either.
(Dead camera battery=subpar pictures from my iPhone 3)
One of our (not so) favorite, but memorable experiences involved durian ice cream from a small, sidewalk ice cream stand. I ordered it by accident due to my poor Vietnamese skills, picking chocolate and what I thought was vanilla. Max instantly began to complain that there was something wrong with his vanilla ice cream that tasted like “motor oil”. Since it had come from an old freezer and was literally cut off a giant block of what seemed like equally old ice cream, I just assumed that it just wasn’t very good, or had possibly started to go bad. I finally took a bite and he was right, but to me it tasted more like gym socks. Later on, whilst enjoying a beer to wash the bad taste away from our mouths, we decided to Google something to the effect of “Vietnamese fruit that takes like motor oil” and lo and behold, one of the top choices was durian! I’d never tasted it before and to be honest, probably won’t again. I’ve since smelled it and it also smells rotten! Certainly not my taste at all, but many people here seem to like it. Maybe it’s an acquired taste?
No pictures of the durian ice cream, but here’s another picture of the gorgeous My Khe beach.
And since I took about 50 pictures of these things, here’s a sand crab. This is way zoomed in, they’re really only a few centimeters long.