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Posts Tagged ‘Vietnam’

Lessons From The Road

Every week I get emails and facebook messages from people who tell me that I’m brave to be travelling on my own. They’re smitten by the idea of such a grand journey and all the amazing experiences I’ve had. But, any experienced traveller will tell you that ‘The journey’, especially on a shoestring budget, is only glamorous in retrospect!

I‘ve made my share of mistakes and then some! But I’m wiser for having had these experiences and hopefully I’ll be better prepared for the second leg of my trip.
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Ha Long I’ve Waited!

I’ve waited very long indeed to see Ha Long Bay.

I’d seen pictures of this UNESCO world heritage site ages ago and it’s been sitting on my to-do list patiently, waiting to be ticked off. The day trip was very exhausting. And I’d recommend an over night trip instead, to anyone asking. Ha Long Bay is a beautiful, calming sight; imagine thousands of islands floating on placid waters.

One thousand nine hundred and sixty islands spread over approximately fifteen hundred square kilometers to be precise. And the rickety old fashioned boats weave through the islands slowly and very quietly.
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Mr. Rinh’s Story

I wrote about Mr Rinh’s Story for my column in Hindustan Times today. You can read it here.
There is still a lot to say about his organization VAVA and The Vietnam Friendship Village.

I spent an entire day with the children living there. The Vietnam Friendship Village houses about a hundred and twenty orphaned victims of Agent Orange. They are aged between five and twenty and have varying degrees of disability.

I was taken around the place by the kind and gentle Mrs. Ha, who has been working at the Friendship Village for a decade now. The soft-spoken lady spent several hours with me, sharing information and introducing me to the staff, volunteers and the residents.
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Dinh Phuong’s Story

She’s 27, she’s a new mother and in another life she could be a dirt bike champion!

But in this life, she’s a bright young girl, who works with the impoverished rice farmers in rural Vietnam. Performing a pivotal role in changing the fortune of a tiny community.

I met Dinh Phuong when I arrived at the Xuan Thuy National Park in Nam Dinh District in Vietnam. The journey there tested my will and intent more than any other incident in my trip so far.
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Surviving Beautiful Vietnam

There is something really miserable about waking up at 5 am three days in a row, especially under vastly differing circumstances. On Tuesday, I woke up at 5 for my flight to Hanoi. On Wednesday I woke up at 5 to go to the bus stand to come to Xuan Thuy National Park and today I woke up at 5 because the lights went out. Just as well that I’m up actually, good time to get some writing done. Before my friend Dinh Phuong comes to pick me up and drop me to the bus station. I’m heading back to Hanoi, if you’re wondering.

The Xuan Thuy National park is huge area of wetlands and mangroves. People are engaged in either Shrimp farms or rice plantations here. It’s a very low -lying area and has a very unique set of problems. Here I met my next hero. But, more on that in my next post.
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