I think it is a dad thing, I love throwing Oliver up in the air and catching him. Oliver loves it.
It kind of looks like Oliver is a proud owner of a new car, and he is showing us what it is.
Pushing Oliver around on this toy (what do they call these things anyways). He loved it.
Fall is great, and with the leaves falling we decided to do a photoshoot with Oliver. He was pretty patient with us, and we got a few great photos. Here is one with him on the leaves.
I took this photo in our trip to Seattle back in February. We didn’t have a car and we wanted to try this pizza. So we spent about two hours on the bus to get to this joint, it was worth it. Delancey makes good pizza. You can even see the guy making pizza dough in the background.
We walked on the streets of the old town of Hanoi. We saw a few sights (temples, churches), nothing too crazy or different from the usual sights. Hanoi does have an interesting street setup. The names of streets are named after the guilds that used to line them. After reading about this in the guide book, I had visions of streets lined with goods of one kind. Modern times bring modern changes, and this part of town has largely been devoted to tourist (many cafes, bars and tour offices). There were some similarities among the streets though, below I will share with you the different streets (or at least what I would have named the streets due to their merchandise) and some of the sights that we saw.
Hue is a town which houses the an Imperial Citadel. The citadel is a huge complex in the middle of the city. There is an outside wall, which houses many buildings, shops and houses. We rented bicycles and crossed the moat to check what was on the inside of the huge walls. Inside the walls is similar to that outside the wall, a Vietnamese city. As we have been moving north on our journey though Vietnam, we have noticed that the farther north you move, the more chilled out the country comes. In Siagon, it was crazy, a ton of motorcycles and many cars. The past week, we have seen more bicycles, less motorcycles and way less cars.
This is understandable as the wealth seems to be more concentrated in the south. Vietnam appears to have the most fairly distributed wealth out of all the countries we have visited. Saying that, there are some houses which are large (not huge), and there are some people living in poverty, but no where near as polarized as India, Cambodia or Malaysia. Everyone seems to own a motorcycle, and a surprising number of people own electric motorcycles.
We went to see the imperial citadel the other day. It was great, there was a ton to see. The complex is huge, and as a result from its size, they were many times you could escape the crowds. It was great, Tanya and I would have a chance to walk alone, in quiet (the walls of the citadel cut out the traffic noise). We walked along the stone sidewalks, looking at the interesting use of porcelain to decorate the walls of the buildings. We even had the chance to watch a cat “play” with a small lizard, although, I’m sure the lizard wasn’t enjoying its last few minutes of life.
The complex has many stages in different stages of restoration, as some parts are pretty much fully restored, many parts are not. Which is nice, there seems to be a nice balance of what it used to look like, and now, what it looks like after it has been neglected.
The colours were truly amazing, full bodied reds, mixed with shimmering gold. Walls had the red brick colour, and were stained with years of tropical weather. Blue porcelain accented many buildings and green plants bordered nearly every wall. It was truly enjoyable way to spend the morning.
Mui Ne has some pretty spectacular sights. One being the sand dunes, there are two of them, one close to town (the yellow dunes) that sees a lot of tourists and another over an hour out of town (the white dunes). We signed up to go to the yellow ones early in the morning, early enough to catch the sunrise. Although is sunrise wasn’t anything spectacular, the sand dunes were. It was very cool, and the temp was nice as well. We had fun (despite the 4:20am alarm setting), and it was pretty neat, now we have a new fondness of deserts.
Ok, maybe I went a little overkill on the number of dune pictures.
After two days of looking at temples, not really getting too many shots I was too happy about, I went on the Internet and searched out what the best may have in store for us. I quickly saw how cool this place could be and got a little giddy. I committed myself to wake up a 4am and catch the sunrise the next morning. Tanya (who is not a huge fan of mornings) stayed in bed and I went out to check out the temples.
I was the first one to arrive at the Angkor Wat, however this didn’t last long. After I had my fill, I walked around back. The place was deserted, not only that, it was a fresh new perspective, enjoying the quietness, and the greenery I snapped some shots. Next it was off to Bayon. Another great place to take some pictures. Ta Prohm was my last stop and my favorite, it was by the coolest, mainly because the forest had taken over and the temple had a neat feel to it. These three temples are the best and are worth seeing. Here are some pictures of them.
Later that day, Tanya and I returned so that she could see the sights. We both agreed that the last sight (Ta Prohm) was the best. We went around 5pm to Ta Prohm and it was deserted, there was only one other couple in there, which was great, no tour groups, no hassels, just us and the super humid air (it had rained earlier that day).
While in Cambodia, one must go to Angkor Wat. So we did, we had the hotel booked for a couple of days so we opted for the 3 day pass. Using the strategy of saving the best for last, we say all the outer temple first, slowly making our way to the crown jewels of the World Heritage Site. This is a great way to see the temple as you start on the smaller less impressive ones and they get better and better as time goes on. There will be three posts on this, and this is part one.
Day one and day two: without going into boring detail of the names of the temples we went to, I’ll just say that we visited the outer most temples first. Seeing a lot of sandstone buildings worshiping Hindu and Buddhist gods. It was pretty pleasant and the crowds were low (because most people don’t see these temple).
Temple hopping is pretty enjoyable here, you get a tuk tuk, which has the most wonderful airflow, to drop you off at each temple entrance. There kids from the age of 4 try to sell you postcards and books, which is quiet humourious. Just say no about 7 times and smile at them. The kids give up and then ask where you are from. The people here are so friendly. We would walk around the temple seeing what it had to offer and then head back to our tuk tuk.
By the time you are done walking around these ancient structures, you shirt is covered in sweat and you are quiet hot, this is where the open air tuk tuk is great. As you move to the next temple you quickly cool down and repeat.
If you only interest is to see some temples (not try to get a ton of photos) and you have spent 5 months in India, only get a one day pass. The temples in India are for the most part bigger, in better shape and more memorable. Saying that, if you haven’t seen your fair share of temples, getting a three day pass for Angkor Wat is well worth the cost and experience, I would just recommend the saving the best for last strategy.