Land of the Rising Sun?

We’re off on another adventure, this time to Asia, our first visit. Departing Vancouver International Airport at 2:00 Tuesday afternoon, we flew for 10 hours and landed at Tokyo’s Narita Airport at 5:00 Wednesday afternoon, gaining 7 hours by time zone, but losing 24 hours crossing the International Date Line. I think. Here’s what it … Continue reading

Where’s Waldo?

To get our bearings and learn how to use Tokyo’s public transit system, we decided to limit our travels on Friday to a simple ride on the Ginza Line to see the Tsukiji Fish Market and a Kabuki play. The Tokyo subway and train system can be a bit overwhelming, although they do a pretty … Continue reading

Sky Tree

From our hotel, there’s a nice view of the Sensō-ji Temple, and off in the distance, the tallest free-standing tower in the world, the Tokyo Sky Tree. From the moment we checked in, getting to the top of the Sky Tree was on my list of things to do in Tokyo. The rain we had … Continue reading


Tokyo is a very high-tech and modern city. Technology and electronics are everywhere and in everything and no more so than in the Shinjuku ward near its highly-trafficked train station. We took the subway there Sunday morning and had breakfast at the Starbucks there, sitting next to a young couple from California here in Tokyo … Continue reading

Can Gio

On our second day in Vietnam, we left the big city and traveled 25 miles southeast to the Can Gio mangrove, a UNESCO recognized Biosphere Reserve at the confluence of the Saigon and two other rivers, the Soai Rap and the Vam Co, and their delta on the South China Sea. [NOTE: The full title … Continue reading

Quận 1

Our Vietnam trip has been planned by our longtime friend, Bill Dudziak, and a Vietnamese tour-guide, Nguyễn Loc. (Loc arranged for Trinh to take us on the Can Gio tour.) We will be traveling in Vietnam with Bill and his wife, Emily, and friends of theirs, Bob and Annie Cooper, with Loc as guide and … Continue reading


Friday morning, Loc took us on a tour of Cholon, Saigon’s busy China Town, starting with the Thien Hau Temple where we raised incense shrouded wishes for our family’s health and happiness. Next, we toured the Cholon market which is far too big to cover on foot, so Loc hired rickshaws for each of us. … Continue reading

Easy Riders

Cars are a luxury in Vietnam. Everyone goes everywhere on a motorbike – scooter, motorcycle, moped, it doesn’t matter, as long as it only has two wheels. Moms use them to take their kids to school. Dads use them to commute to work. Families use them for general getting around and it’s not uncommon to … Continue reading

Ở Cai Be

On Sunday, March 18, we left Saigon by van for an overnight trip to the Mekong delta. Our first stop was Cai Be (more appropriately, Cái Bè), a river town on one of many tributaries of the Mekong River, a two hour drive south of Saigon. This might be a good place for a few … Continue reading

Fish Farm

In Ho Chi Minh City, the Saigon River is joined by the Soai Rap River, known further upstream as the Dong Nai. Halfway between its source in the central highlands and Ho Chi Minh City, the Dong Nai River is joined by the La Nga and together they form Lake Tri An. At the confluence … Continue reading

Da Lat to Da Nang

On the drive from Bao Loc to Da Lat, I took a few photos of houses along the road that were typical of southern and central Vietnam. Road frontage property is obviously at a premium and the lots are all narrow and deep, so most road front buildings are multi-story with the extended family residing … Continue reading

Monkey Business

Having made it across the Dragon Bridge, we met our van and drove out to the Son Tre Peninsula. We continued up appropriately named Monkey Mountain about 1,000 feet to an ancient, 800-year-old banyan tree and its commanding view of the South China Sea. We had heard there was a chance to see monkeys along … Continue reading

Fish Story

Due to the change in our flights, we were now going to have four nights and three full days in Hoi An. On our first day, Friday, we were up early to drive south to visit a local ocean-side fish market. Alas, the seas were too rough, so the market was canceled, but it was … Continue reading

Huế to Go Ho

Huế to Go Ho

We didn’t spend much time at all in the city of Hue, choosing instead to visit sites in the surrounding area. Our first destination was the old Thanh Toan bridge, but as we walked from the parking area, we crossed paths with a wedding party and they seemed happy to have us tag along (at … Continue reading

Hang Én There

Hang Én There

Our purpose for driving to this remote part of Vietnam was to go caving in one of the world’s most beautiful karst systems at Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our base was Chay Lap Farmstay for two nights, sandwiching one of our hikes, an overnight camping trek to Hang Én … Continue reading

Chay Lap

Sunday was April Fools’ Day and today the joke was on us. Once again, Vietnam Airlines unilaterally rescheduled our flight. But it was problematic this time because the rescheduled flight from Dong Hoi to Hanoi would have made it impossible for us to catch our upcoming cruise in Halong Bay, so Loc arranged for a … Continue reading

Halong Bay

After a night in Hanoi, we caught a seaplane Monday morning for a 3-day, 2-night cruise in Halong Bay. The flight from Hanoi took us over bustling Haiphong harbor and out into the Gulf of Tonkin, then over the 2,000 islands peppering Halong Bay, yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Halong harbor, we boarded … Continue reading