Friday, August 31, 2012

Bac Ca, Vietnam

Tessa, Nico, and I got off the tourist trail in Bac Ca, Vietnam, a small town about 3 hours by bus from Sapa. We rented motorbikes for 2 days and drove around the mountains. Most of the locals we encountered seemed surprised but happy to see us.

These ladies were drying corn.

Rice paddies

I pulled over my bike and asked these ladies (via guestures and smiles) if I could pick rice with them. This is her "Who is this crazy person?" look.

She showed me the proper technique.

The brown water was really muddy. I was a lot slower than them too. I only did it for about 2 minutes and then went to wash off my feet from the squishy mud-water. Thanks to Tessa for taking the pictures.

I think these ladies appreciated the attention. That's a big difference between Sapa and Bac Ca; in Sapa,  the locals are so used to the photo-obsessed tourists , they usually try to ask for money if you want to take their picture.

Motorbiking is by far the my favorite way to get around Asia - you can stop at anytime, go wherever you feel like, feel the breeze, smell the food that people are cooking, and see what the locals are up to. It's great.

Kids riding a water buffalo. They probably do this every day.

Cool kids on a motorbike!

Friends since 3rd grade, friends for life!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Catba Island

Getting caught up with my pictures here. 
Just to clarify, now I'm in Taiwan. These are from a few weeks ago in Vietnam.

I split from Nico and Tessa for a few days to go on a rock climbing trip on Catba Island, its famous here! 

Cliffs jutting out of the crystal-clear water...

Pretty impressive scenery!

I went with an Australian-run company on one of their day trips, kayaking in the morning and rock climbing in the afternoon. It was great. Shirtless guy is one of the guides, who all looked like models.

Took this from in the kayak

My kayak buddy was a 19-year-old British girl on a month-long vacation with 2 other friends. 

Didn't take my camera out for the rock climbing part because it was raining! They had 4 different top-rope routes set up on a beach, I tried all of them and was able to do 3 out of the 4. The last one had an overhang and was pretty advanced... at least I tried!

 Here are the pictures from their website where we went climbing.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Locals of Sapa

On our hike to the hilltribe village in Sapa, we were stopped by dozens of ladies trying to sell us their hand-made purses, hats, and clothes.

All of the stuff she is wearing is handmade. Can you imagine how many hours that took?

This girl was so sassy. I asked her if I could take her picture, and then afterwords she said, "Now you buy from me!" Instead I tried to get her to play a game...

All you need is a coin, and you get the kids to guess which hand you're hiding it in, no language required. It's a trick my dad taught me.

Thanks to Tessa for taking these pictures

Tessa and I got these headbands which were intended to be straps for bags. 

Here's Nico drawing a picture. We stopped to take a rest and spent a few hours doodling.

Kids playing at the waterfall.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sapa, Vietnam

Rice fields


Nico and Tessa, my travel buddies through Vietnam!


View from our hotel window! Only $12 per night for all of us!


Early morning by the window


On our hike to the village. Sapa is extremely touristy but still a fun place to walk around.


Kitty on shoes!

Tessa loves the cat


Tessa bought some headbands from these ladies. Everything is handmade, stitch by stitch.

Chinatown, Bangkok

After our 2-week stint in Cambodia, we stopped in Bangkok again before heading to Chiang Mai. Here are some photos from Chinatown!

Bonus pictures from the night train. First class! Comfortable but too cold because of the air conditioning. It was the first time I had to use my sleeping bag.