Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Just feeling a bit nostalgic today, checking some traveling sites. Yeap, no more traveling this year. My rucsac will be all 'rusted' over.

But then again who has the energy. One of the great things about having a bump in your tummy is that you sleeeep a lot...I'm basically like a 3 year old. I need my naps, my 10 hour nights, I'm spoiled rotten...and... IT'S GREAT!!

Monday, May 22, 2006


We've entered the rainy season, so the fun is officially over. We stacked our cameras on the shelf after our last failed attempt to shoot on Sunday Ake's cousin becoming a monk ceremony. It's was pouring again. In fact reasonably clear skies will have to wait till September. To get an idea, it rains heavily pretty much every day, so guess where we're hiding? Cinemas...

After all the controversies, The Da Vinci Code made it to Thailand, funnily enough with constat Thai subtitles reminders "Be advised : It's fiction!"...I know probably half the world read it, but I just started reading a book so I saw the movie with no reading comparison. While it isn't one of my favorites, I really liked it..a well paced, intriguing enough....an Indiana Jones feeling.

The sad/funny thing was that just as the movie started this guy sat next to us. He had the 2 smelliest feet ever...to the point where Ake dropped the Thai politeness and said to the guy :"Oh, God!!! Man , you totally stink!" Don't know what he did...but the overwhealming odor seemed to diminish and we watched the movie in peace. :)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Woman in HANOI

Hanoi's Old Quarter in home to all the tourist guesthouses with a cool Vietnamese touch serving excellent bread and cheese for breakfast and to large number of the old Vietnamese generation.

The Lake that rests in the middle of the quarter is just gorgeous looking...you've got the lovers (by Asian standards I thought Vietnamese guys were quite up front and confident), the retired bunch and office gang looking for a mid day break.

I couldn't help thinking that all these old guys were the ones that fought in the war and the women the ones that fed the country throughg those rough times.
They looked very peacefull and contemplative smoking their cigars, reading the comunist papers, playing Chinese Chess...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Mission Impossible III

The actually did it!!! They made Mission Impossible without showing the mission. All you know at the end is that Cruise gets in and puff puff a bunch of guys and steals the rabbits foot which we're left to guess it's some chemical weapon.

Bottom line is...among several dodgy survival scenes (Yeap, Cruise has just about 9 lives), there some good moments which truly resemble original idea of the movie. The first half is captivating, but the second one is more like 'the hero saves the day, and darn it, we don't even know how'. The bad guy, Philip Seymour Hoffman is an ace. Best point about Cruise, he's unbelievably fit, or we're left to believe so, but anyway, it looks good.

MI I stays a classic. MI III overtakes MI II, which I thought was a disaster.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Hanoi - The Water Puppet Theater

Fabulous really!

We got first row seats and my only regret was that I could not see any of the kids behind. The show was magical. Bright colored paper-mache puppets, live Vietnamese folk music, few words and great simple stories, plating rice, catching fish, going to school and getting married -Vietnamese style.

The absolut highlight of Hanoi for us. As we read in Lonely Planet, the water puppet theater is one of the UNIQUE things about Vietnam. Superb!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

What else is new? ...nothin' much really...another jam in Bangkok.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Hill People - Cat Cat Village - Vietnam

Here's our favorite Vietnamese. This old guy was peacefully walking the hills around the Cat Cat village near Sapa, minding his own bussiness, stoping at time sipping the cold air and enjoying the scenery.
We managed to get up close when, as we were chatting with some guys around they called him in Vietnamese to check out how Thai coins look like. He took one, turned over and handed it back smiling. We told him that he could keep it as a souvenir if he wanted to. He nodded as to say 'Thank you' and walk away happy, tossing the coin around.

Best of all, out on the hills the villagers around Sapa were casually following their daily routines. People approached us rarely and it felt like being a fly in a Vietnamese village.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Hills of Sapa - Northern Vietnam

Some of the most pitoresque hikes in Vietnam are those around Sapa. Gorgeous place indeed. Poor foreigners catching their breath while patroling the rice paddies while, naturally, the Hmong think nothing of it.

The lower hils are so wonderfully sectioned in rice paddies, higher past 2000 m the jungle rules. We were considering hiking Fansipan, the tallest peak in Vietnam but once we read the requirements (fit chaps = 2 days, regular guys (like us) = 4 days) we decided strolling around on the lower hills (1500 m) was good enough for us.

As I said, our first stop at Bac Ha we were pretty much ignored by the locals. Sapa was strange and funny most times, cause 70 year Hmong grannies were shouting stuff in English at us, normally selling all kinds of embroidery (good looking stuff - I cracked under pressure and I bought some in the end - actually I really loved colors), and kids were either innocently charming (again running empty bottocks through the rice paddies) or ferocious entrepreneurs chasing us for miles to sell us stuff. I believe they must hold the world record here: we had 2 10 year old girls walking behind us with merchandise for 30 min. Patience is a virtue, right!