Saturday, March 30, 2013

flowers in Mui Ne

Pretty flowers around Mui Ne...

beach sunset, Mui Ne

We arrived in Mui Ne around midnight Friday night... So Saturday evening was really our only evening there to catch a nice sunset and we did! I loved it. After I took these photos we headed a few doors down for massages in bungalows on the beach and then a nice dinner... where our table was on the sand. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

kite surfers, Mui Ne

Nick and Jen prefer kite surfing at a beach about 20 minutes away... Saying that the area we were at gets really crowded... How right they are! Goodness...

Hiep Hoa Resort, Mui Ne

We stayed on the main beach road at the Hiep How Resort... at $25USD per night for a room, it was great! The place is family run and has its own small are on the beach with little porch areas off each room. Very nice.

getaway weekend to Mui Ne!

Right now I am on vacation with my brother Lenny, but two weekends ago I went to Mui Ne Beach with my friends Nick and Jen. It was my first time there... Nick and Jen go often for the kite surfing. Mui Ne is the closest nice beach to HCMC and takes about 5 hours by car. We hired a private van to and from.

This was the perfect weekend getaway. My goal was to do a lot of nothing... Other than reading my book and relaxing... And I succeeded!

Below are pictures of the beach where we stayed.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

HIGH TEA @Caravelle Hotel, HCMC

Jen and Nick are two of my closest friends in Vietnam this year. They are a lovely couple from England, who kicked off their first year of marriage by moving to Vietnam!! The three of us will be leaving Vietnam about the same time. They are moving back home and I, off to Milan. I already look forward to visiting them at their house on the sea!

A couple Sundays ago the three of us decided to treat ourselves to a fancy high tea! I have never had 'high tea' before... But was up for a posh-but-relaxing afternoon. Nick and I had both been quite sick the week before... More on that for me later... So a nice treat was needed.

We were going to go to high tea in the Bitexco Tower... Including the amazing panoramic view over the entire city... But found out that they only do high tea on Saturday. We ended up going to the Caravelle Hotel... Right next to the opera house in District 1 and it was really nice. We spent a couple hours hanging out and having treats from our tiered plates of goodies!

Andy's pirate!

To my dear Mr. Andy Lynes,

I found this cute peg-legged and bearded pirate phone charm.... And he reminded me of you! (Minus the peg-leg part, thankfully.) I plan to send him to you when Lenny heads back to Denver next week... So call Lenny up for a Sweet Action date or something!

'Til our early morning walks to the museum,


Indian dinner with Patrice and Heather

Heather and Patrice both had the same night as their last in Vietnam so we met up for a lovely Indian dinner ...and stayed about 3 hours! Patrice is one of my closest friends from Saigon last year and is now teaching in Shanghai, China. It was so good to spend time with her while she was back in Vietnam... And awesome to see two of my closest friends - her and Heather - really get along!

We went to Saigon Indian on Mac Thi Buoi St. Mmmmmmm

Notre Dame and the post office, HCMC

On Heather's last day in HCMC, we went to the Paris Baguette near me for some coffee/juice treats and postcard writing. From there we went to the main post office to mail the cards... And walked over to the Notre Dame Cathedral too. ...One of my favorite areas in the city!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

the city just after Tet

Below are some photos of the city center still celebrating the Tet holiday...

Ladies selling balloons in front of the new shopping center...

The People's Committee Building all lit up...

The Rex Hotel...

HCMC dragon parade and cute KIDDOS

Walking through District 1, we came upon this crowd watching two dragons puppets that were lit up... The puppets danced about and there was energetic live music.

In the crowd were a number of motorbikes and bicycles with really cute kids enjoying the afternoon entertainment...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

L'usine cupcakes!

In need of a sweet treat after a yummy sushi lunch -- Shannon, Tim, Heather, and I went to L'Usine on Dong Khoi for some cupcakes. Mmmmmmmm. So worth the calories. (And always a lovely photo.)

The next day (Heather's 2nd-to-last day in HCMC), we went to the new L'Usine on Le Loi for a mid-morning snack...

Mmmm soda chanh...

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm... latte!

And the NEXT day, Heather and I went back to the one on Dong Khoi for a lovely lunch... salad and sandwich... and THEN may or may not have each picked up a cupcake to bring home and enjoy before she departed on the long flight! (By... 'may not have'... we definitely did.)  : D

My usual - the S'more cupcake!

Heather's fresh coconut and chocolate cupcake...

day back in HCMC after Tet

Shannon and Tim had one full day back in Ho Chi Minh City (after our time in Thailand) before heading back to the States... and we packed a lot in!

We began the day by going to the tailor to pick up the clothes that were made - success! ...Then went to District 2 for a nice meal on the river at The Deck. From there, we went to the Thi Nghe Orphanage in the Binh Thanh District (near my school).

The nun that ran the orphanage since the 60's retired over the summer and now the government has taken over the running of the orphanage more... we technically weren't allowed to volunteer with the children without having handed in a copy of our passports a month before... but the man there did give us a tour of the orphanage and we were able to hold and play with some of the kids for a few minutes. Overall - it was a great experience, albeit a difficult one... seeing this kids can be really tough.

From the orphanage we walked to this spot on the river... it's one of my favorite scenic spots in the city and I pass over this bridge everyday to and from work...

We walked over to a temple just off the river too...

The next day (Shannon and Tim were on a plane!)... Heather wanted to go to the War Remnants Museum. We got there during the museum's lunch break... so walked around the block for a few minutes until it opened back up for the afternoon... below are some random photos from our little stroll...

Decorated local school for Tet...