I got a call from Heidi Perez, my long time travel impresario at Nature Expeditions. I "met" her in 2002 when Phil and I planned a trip to Chile that she helped me arrange. this woman is not just a travel agent - she is more like a travel consultant and advisor. Heidi helped us plan the Chile trip and then the next year helped Jennifer and me plan our trip to Cambodia and Vietnam - still a trip I look back upon with great memories (and which I have mentioned in prior blog entries as it was the best time ever to be at Angkor Wat etc. due to SARS)
the other person we have used in a similar fashion for very personalized trips to the former soviet countries is Joanna Millick at MIR Corp out of Seattle. and at some point I will regale you with tales from those trips as I have dozens of pages of journal entries and plenty of photos to go with the narrative - but back to Heidi...
we were discussing places we might want to visit in the future and afterward she sent me some information on southern India - which along with Sri Lanka is very high on my list right now and it may be that I get there in 2012 very late... as the weather is tropical and always hot I would be looking at December....
I wrote a rather lengthy reply to her and in it I was recalling the trip she planned for Phil and me to Laos and Vietnam in early 2009. we made a stop in Hong Kong on the way over for a couple of days. Hong Kong is a place we always love to spend time - western luxury and British history and Chinese exoticism in a perfect mix. but I digress as I often do-
I specifically recalled to Heidi a day we spent in Hanoi - in the morning we visited the "Hanoi Hilton" POW prison where john McCain was held for years and very late that evening we watched the inauguration of President Obama. it was an amazing juxtaposition of events that have framed our world view as boomers. the war - which we watched on TV - and which we referred to as The War because it was the one we lived through- that our peers were sacrificed in - that we hated and ranted and protested and fought with our parents about. and all the while we were in the middle of the civil rights movement which through a long and slow process led us to that day in January 2009 when President Obama was sworn in.
I know that if you are even a sporadic reader of this blog you understand that travel is my passion but sometimes I feel like I don't express how amazing travel is in creating new perspectives on the world around us, how it creates and promotes new relationships with people we wouldn't otherwise get to know, what gifts there are in such experiences.
anyway - since Heidi called I though today I would post some photos from the fabulous trip she helped us create in Vietnam that January two years ago...
let's start with two of my favorite images that have always paired
up in my mind-
souvenir ceramic ladies in traditional dress from a stand along the Perfume River in Hue
and the latest fashion available for individual tailoring in Hoi An
Next some temple photos from Hue (top) Hoi An (middle) and Saigon (bottom)
I loved these doors opening on to the terrace from inside the temple
the beauty of the red lacquer and gold trim really caught my eye
The incense coils hang in temples throughout Asia and always make for an interesting picture
(loud speaker included at no extra cost- the old and the new)
here worshippers light incense to honor the dead or to pray for the future
this temple is dedicated to those who make their living on the water
in Dalat we visited a temple complex where monks lived and prayed and they were at their morning prayers when we walked by - the dog (god spelled backward as we learned as kids) seemed less interested in the chanting then the fresh air.
and below the symbol of the Cao Dai sect at their Holy See - located north of Saigon in the countryside and featured in a segment of The Quiet American
a famous novel from my childhood.
and finally a few strays I like and decided to include today- the amazing color of the water in Halong Bay
and the wonderful rainbow of silk lanterns in a Hoi An vendors shop
have to get back to packing.... take a trip- call Heidi at Nature Expeditions Incorporated in Florida - she can help you plan a journey that will create just such magical moments for you!
and no- LOL- I don't get a commission - seriously - GO SOMEWHERE treasure the time we have... next week will be the one year anniversary of my sister's death at 54 years of age... we all have so little time- even if we live to 100- it is the blink of an eye- don't wait... "just do it"