Archive | restaurants RSS feed for this section

They Draw & Travel

30 Apr

Here’s a cool website for some travel related artwork- it’s called They Draw & Travel. It features artwork from artists all over the world. The website makes it easy to narrow down to what you’d like- you can search by destination, art style, and vibe. Below are some that have caught my eye (click on the images for a larger version). Happy browsing!

TDAT- Buenos Aires

TDAT- New York

TDAT- Los Angeles

TDAT- Greece

TDAT- Tanzania

TDAT- Kyoto

And if you are food minded- here’s the original site called They Draw & Cook which TDAT was spun off from. Enjoy!

We’re Back. For Reals.

25 Jul

Even though we technically flew back to the states last Wednesday, we were still “traveling” in the last week. Less than 2 days after we got to SFO, we jumped into our car and headed towards LA for a family/friends reunion. After enduring many transit connections over the course of our trip, the 6 hour drive down I-5 seemed like a breeze!  We spent a long and fun filled weekend in LA and now we’re back in the bay area, ready for more reunions galore. Here are some things we are embracing about being home:

Having personal space. It’s nice to not be surrounded by people wherever we go!

Getting free water with ice in restaurants.

Non-confusing weather. July in the northern hemisphere should be no rain jackets or umbrellas.  We’re talking to you, Europe!

Consistent internet.

Driving…from one end of the parking lot to another.  Hey, the Gilroy Outlet is very big.

Our laptops. It’s glorious to be blogging with a real keyboard!

And the most important thing:

Spending time with our families and friends in person.

We are so happy to be home!

Spain Snippets: Barcelona

8 Jul

Our tour of Spain concluded with Barcelona.

20120703-002309.jpg
Instead of a hotel we opted to stay at Urban Suites apartments in Barcelona. That way we could cook. Above: delicious watermelon. Usually seedless watermelon aren’t the sweetest but these were!
Below: enough food for quite a few meals!

20120703-002314.jpg
Visited the overly touristy La Boqueria. We weren’t too impressed with it, but the overpriced fruit juices were pretty good.

20120703-002320.jpg
A preview of some of the food we ate. Feast for the eyes and the taste buds!

20120703-002326.jpg

20120703-002338.jpg
Gaudi galore.

20120703-002348.jpg

20120703-002353.jpg

20120703-002358.jpg

20120703-002403.jpg

20120703-002408.jpg

20120703-002413.jpg

20120703-002418.jpg
We also made a side trip to the Dali museum.

20120703-002423.jpg
More on Barcelona as well as the rest of Europe when we come back in T minus 10 days! Hope you enjoyed these previews of Spain. We’ve got a few more hours in Paris and then we are off to Amsterdam and London.

Spain Snippets: San Sebastian

7 Jul

20120703-001914.jpg
I have to admit: I had never heard of San Sebastian before this trip started. Because of Jeannie’s insistence that we go to this small town in northern Spain close to the border of France, we found a jewel of a place that has it all: the best food in Spain/Europe/quite possibly the world, friendly pedestrian walk streets, easy bike paths throughout the city, and picturesque beaches. It truly is a wonderful city and we immediately knew we would return someday.

20120703-001930.jpg
San Sebastian is only a 6-hour bus ride from Madrid through the Spanish countryside. Notice I say “only”, as by this time we’ve been accustomed to long airplane flights, boat rides, train rides, you name it. The Spanish transport system (Alsa buses and RENFE trains) is comfortable and on time, unlike pretty much everything in Asia. The bus even had wifi!

20120707-223520.jpg
One notable thing about San Sebastian is its huge network of bike lanes and bike-friendly culture. We rented bikes for a day and rode around town. We went along the beach, through the high school and college area, and finally back through a long bikes-only tunnel that looked like something you’d see on the Matterhorn in Disneyland.

20120703-001920.jpg

20120703-001937.jpg
The food in San Sebastian is fantastic to say the least. It’s also easy to figure out what to order. At all the tapas bars, the food is laid out on the counter and you simply pick up what you want to eat and pay per number of dishes you’ve had. The food ranges from simple bacon and mushrooms on a stick to smoked squid with a lime shooter and fancy biscuit. We tapas bar-hopped the first night and easily found our favorite to be Bar Zeruko. The range of culinary dishes here is truly amazing! Anthony Bourdain even said that besides Vietnam one of his favorite places to eat is in Sebastian. This is because they have the highest concentration of top ranked restaurants, so there’s no room for error.

20120703-001957.jpg

20120703-002015.jpg

20120703-002010.jpg
There’s more to share from San Sebastian, so stay tuned!

20120703-001943.jpg

20120703-001926.jpg

Spain Snippets: Madrid

5 Jul

What a welcome surprise it was to land in Madrid as the next leg of our journey! After two months of being in less developed countries, it was nice to hop directly onto the subway and literally arrive at the doorstep of our hotel.

20120703-001640.jpg
Madrid is such a walkable city. We stayed right in the center and almost never had to use the subway. There’s restaurants, shopping, parks, historical palaces, and the world famous Prado museum all close by. We also spent quite a bit of time at Zara and Mango, because they’re both Spanish clothing brands and we could claim our VAT back as well.

20120703-001647.jpg
Everyone is out and about in Madrid. Madrid is one of the best places in the world if you like pedestrian walk streets. There’s shopping, cafes, and plenty of things to do in the center of town. The sun stays up late and the people eat out accordingly late as well.

20120703-001652.jpg
Old presidential palace and the view it overlooks.

20120703-001700.jpg

20120703-001709.jpg

20120703-001714.jpg
Apartments overlooking one of the older squares in Madrid. A long time ago, this square was used for bullfighting; the city rented out the balconies to spectators, hence the box numbers which are still there today.

20120703-001720.jpg
A few famous restaurant fronts a few blocks away from our hotel.

20120703-001724.jpg

20120703-001731.jpg
Everyone’s heard of the famous Spanish tapas. What’s different in Spain is that you’re not expected to spend your whole dinner experience in one restaurant. It’s common to try out a dish or two, then pay and leave 20 minutes later to go to some other tapas place to try something else. More than likely that place will be steps away from the previous restaurant because everything in Madrid is so close together.

20120703-001737.jpg
Late night churros, anyone?

We’ll have more detailed posts and pics of our time in Europe when we return from our RTW adventure. We’ve only got a couple more weeks left!

Jordan: Good Country, Bad Neighbors

18 Jun

We were both pleasantly surprised upon arrival in Jordan. Perfect 80-degree weather, good food, and extremely friendly and welcoming people. Jordan is a progressive, relatively westernized, safe country which just happens to have bad neighbors with Syria and Iraq (among others) in the Middle East. Everywhere you go, people say welcome to you, smile, and practice their English. It’s refreshing to see and a huge change from India where we felt so unwelcome. In addition, there is no tension between Christians and Muslims, and the country has taken a very progressive stance on women. Shorts and bare shoulders are not a problem like in many other parts of the Middle East.

Driving in Jordan is civilized and very similar to driving in the US. In fact, all of the major US car rental agencies are present in Jordan. We rented a Toyota Yaris for our drive to Madaba, Petra, and the Dead Sea and it turned out to be a great decision. Because the cities are separated by stretches of desert with no rail and limited bus connections (think: similar to I-5), we could drive at our own leisure. Being a LA driver, I had no issue with the driving and found the drivers to be quite courteous, although they tend to take unnecessary risks like passing around blind corners.

To give you a sense of our schedule:
Day 1, fly into Jordan, pick up rental car, stay in Madaba
Day 2, drive to Wadi Mousa, the town which serves as a tourism hub for Petra
Days 3/4, explore Petra
Day 5, drive to Dana Biosphere Reserve and stay at Feynan
Day 6, all day at Feynan
Day 7, drive to Dead Sea, float, drive to Madaba
Day 8, all day in Madaba
Day 9, drop off rental car and fly to Madrid
As you can see, having a car was so useful and convenient! And, we ended up not venturing into Amman at all.

20120611-213549.jpg

20120611-213702.jpg

20120611-213735.jpg

20120619-000521.jpg

20120619-001623.jpg
Quick stop at Kerak Castle on the way to Petra.
Food in Jordan is good too. Tired of vegetarian food from India? Go to Jordan, where you eat beef, lamb, and chicken kabobs all day, everyday. I was in heaven, although Jeannie got a little tired of the meats and started ordering cucumber and tomato salads as her main dish.

20120611-213627.jpg

20120611-213751.jpg

20120611-213635.jpg

20120611-213642.jpg

Scenery in Jordan is unlike any other country we’ve been to so far. There’s plenty of dirt, but it’s not dirty, if that makes sense. We chose to make Madaba our base point rather than Amman. Madaba is closer to the airport, smaller, easier to navigate, and more historically relevant. Madaba is one of the most ancient cities in the Middle East, dating back thousands of years. In fact, the oldest map of the Holy Land is a floor mosaic set in one of the churches in Madaba. In addition, it seems that all cities have a ubiquitous mosque spire which belts out calls to prayer at various times of the day.

20120611-213557.jpg

20120611-213648.jpg

20120611-213654.jpg

We’ll talk about Petra and the Dead Sea in future posts, but here we’ll briefly mention our time at Feynan Eco-Lodge. On paper the lodge sounded good, but it just wasn’t our kind of place. We get the whole sustainable tourism deal, but we felt that Feynan fell short and didn’t live up to its full potential. We didn’t mind the no AC or no Internet, but we felt that sleeping in the rooms was equivalent to sleeping in a clay oven that had been baking all day. There was not much to do unless you liked hiking during the hottest part of the day, and though vegetarian food can be tasty and healthy, the food at Feynan was neither of these and instead very oily and depended on jams, sauces, and dips to supplement the meal. Also, I feel like there was this expectation to spend money there, for example they seemed to look down on us when we declined offers of paid guided hikes, and also when we opted to not order drinks during meals. We weren’t expecting the place to be a 5 star Four Seasons type of oasis, but you can’t just slap an Eco-tourism label on things and expect people to be grateful for an “authentic” experience. It’s sort of putting and organic sticker on an apple, people aren’t going to miraculously think it’s the best apple ever. If the apple tastes good, people will eat it, regardless of its origins. There were some highlights though. We saw the most gorgeous sunset at Feynan. We also got to see a bunch of planets and stars through their very powerful telescope. And also, we had this really amazing soup that almost made up for the other lousy dishes. So overall, a slight miss in a country full of hits.

20120611-213612.jpg

20120611-213620.jpg

20120619-000355.jpg

Coming up in Part 2 of Jordan: Petra.

Koh Tao, Thailand

6 Jun

What’s Thailand without its world famous beaches?

20120604-191145.jpg

On our RTW, we happened to be in Thailand during the buffer season which is mid-May. At this time, the winds pick up on the west side (Phuket side) and the snorkeling becomes rougher and the Surin and Similian islands close down for tourists. So we decided to visit Koh Tao (aka Turtle Island), a smaller island on the eastern side of Thailand. We flew a 2 hour plane ride from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui, which for some reason has a large number of tattooed smoking white guys. Not exactly our type of company. Then we took a 1h45m boat ride over very choppy waters to Koh Tao (we had to close our eyes the whole time, it was that bad!), where we were picked up by our resort and then proceeded for another half hour over some 4wd terrain just to get to the resort. Whew!

You really can’t go wrong with any island in Thailand (there are so many to choose from!). It really just depends on your taste and what you’d like to do. However, a word of caution, if you’re prone to seasickness, you might want to stay at an island that you can directly fly into, such as Phuket. Phuket is quite overrun with tourists, which is why we didn’t choose to stay there, but at least you won’t have to endure that terrible boat ride!

We stayed at Jamahkiri resort, which is a high class resort and has a nice view of Shark’s Bay in southern Koh Tao. We also specifically picked it because you can go snorkeling directly from the resort, versus needing to book a separate snorkeling trip.

20120604-191115.jpg

20120604-191123.jpg
The snorkeling was fantastic (as long as you stay away from shore, as it’s a little shallow over the coral at this time of the year) and we were able to find some low-cost food at a backpackers type place called Rockys next door, which was a pleasant surprise. The food at our resort was a little too fancy schmancy our tastes and wallets. We did the very same thing on our honeymoon in Fiji- stayed at a resort with nice amenities, dined at a backpackers cafe. Jeannie was also able to get a nice full body massage, wrap, and facial.

20120604-191131.jpg

20120604-191136.jpg

20120607-133203.jpg

20120607-134318.jpg
Our little find.

20120604-191158.jpg
Red fleshed dragon fruit!

20120607-134327.jpg
Best thing about SE Asia, all the fresh fruit.

We had pretty much typical hot beach weather the entire time. It started to get stormy on our last night and because all rooms at the resort have ocean views, we were treated to a fantastic and lengthy lightning show from the comforts and safety of our room. Gotta love the simple and free entertainment.

All in all, it was nice to be in a place for a couple of days where there’s not much to do. There’s infinitely more stuff going on in big cities, but with that comes pressure to try to squeeze in a lot. We’re glad we included a nice relaxing mini island vacation in the middle of our whirlwind trip!

20120607-134352.jpg

Chiang Mai, Thailand

5 Jun

Note: Heavy photo post! But the elephants and tigers are so cute!

Chiang Mai is the second-largest city in Thailand. It’s a destination city that is known for hosting many of the outdoor and wildlife activities that Thailand has to offer. In addition, all of the activities are child-friendly and the Elephant Nature Park is particularly enlightening.

In our 3 days in Chiang Mai, we were able to walk the old city and visit the huge Sunday Walking street market, hike a 10-level waterfall, play with live tigers, go to a Thai cooking school, and visit an elephant nature park where injured, sick, and orphaned elephants are given a good home for the rest of their lives.

But first, we had to get there. We booked a private first-class cabin on a sleeper train, and it turned out to be a pretty rough experience. Train travel on the Internet is a little romanticized, with the main positive points being transportation and sleep accommodations all rolled into one. The reality is that it’s small, cramped, and uncomfortable, with dirty bathrooms and bad overpriced food. We had our own cabin with private sink and two fold-down beds, but the western toilet/shower combo did neither function well. 15 hours later, we arrived at 9:30am, an hour and a half late. Neither of us were well rested and we looked forward to taking a nap before visiting the Sunday Walking night market.

20120604-190753.jpg
The train station in Bangkok. It was a little ghetto to be honest. FYI if you order your ticket online, they won’t give you a hard copy at the counter. Instead they’ll direct you to an Internet cafe. We solved this problem by taking the train to our hotel, explaining that we were going to check in the following week, and asking if they could print for us. Cost us 50 cents, but cheaper than an hour at the Internet cafe! Thanks Holiday Inn Express!

20120604-190730.jpg
Different modes of transportation in Thailand- modern subway and elevated “sky” trains, rickety old school trains, and trucks converted into passenger bench taxis.

20120604-190524.jpg

The Sunday Walking night market sells a collection of handmade goods and excellent food, all for a buck or so. This was one of the better markets in the world that we’ve been to, and easily surpasses Mongkok, Temple Street, and Saigon Ben Thanh in terms of variety, quality, and price. Instead of tacky fake goods, there tended to be well crafted handmade wares. Similar to Unique LA, without the hipster factor.

20120604-190528.jpg

20120604-190605.jpg

20120604-190424.jpg

20120604-190540.jpg

20120604-190554.jpg
Bugs anyone? Crunchy!

20120604-190739.jpg
Flowers are huge in the Thai culture

20120604-190430.jpg
What’s nice about the market is that the paths take you to some wats along the way, sightseeing and shopping all in one.

20120604-190547.jpg
Fresh donuts/street side foot massages

Refreshing Thai iced tea, super cheap and strong at a cafe.

20120604-190842.jpg

On day 2, we hired a private driver to take us to the Maesa waterfall and Tiger Kingdom. Maesa was nice but the 100 degree heat and high humidity quickly drained our energy. And after having been to Iguazu Falls, sadly other waterfalls aren’t the same to us.

20120604-190611.jpg

Afterwards, we hopped back into the car and 5 minutes later were at the Tiger Kingdom. At TK, they breed and raise the tigers from birth, and socialize the tigers with humans every day in order to make them somewhat domesticated. This allows them to make money by giving visitors a chance to get up close and personal with the tigers. They have 4 sizes of tigers to “play” with: small (2 months), medium (6 months to a year), medium-large (1 year), and large (18 months). There is a huge difference between the ages, even though all of them can be considered juveniles. We chose to visit 3 cages: medium, large, and small.

20120604-190624.jpg

The medium tigers were our first cage. We were a little apprehensive at first because we’ve never been close to a tiger and these medium tigers could easily kill you without much effort. The trainers were nice and showed us various poses to with the tigers and even how to lay down on them. General rules for approaching tigers: approach from the rear, pet with a heavy hand, and do not touch the head, face, or front paws. After visiting the medium tigers, we played with the large tiger and small baby tigers in their respective cages. Though the biggest and smallest tigers made for the best pictures, we found that we enjoyed the medium tigers the best. They were more interactive and playful. The big ones are lazy, sleepy, and lethargic, and the little ones were a bit ADD. The mediums were the most fun to watch! PS, did you know tigers sleep 16-18 hours a day??

The Tiger Kingdom is certainly for tourists, and if you’re a PETA activist this place isn’t for you. But for those who want to do something crazy? stupid? fun? this place fits the bill.

20120604-190631.jpg

20120604-190639.jpg

20120604-190435.jpg

20120604-190440.jpg

The next day we made an all day trip to the Elephant Nature Park. Here, they don’t offer elephant rides and the elephants don’t do tricks. It’s a nature conservatory where abused, orphaned, and handicapped elephants are brought to give them a sanctuary for the rest of their lives. Most people don’t know that domestic elephants are accorded the same rights in Thailand as livestock. Its sad to see that they are beaten, abused, and overworked to the point where they break down. One elephant was blinded by its former owner, who shot out its eyes to try to get the elephant to carry lumber faster. Another elephant had stepped on a land mine and lost a foot. It’s sobering to see these elephants, but good to know that they have a good home at the park. We were able to feed them, pet them, and play in the river with the elephants. It was a wonderful experience and something that will be remembered for a long time.

20120604-190447.jpg

20120604-190454.jpg

20120604-190502.jpg

20120604-190507.jpg

20120604-190512.jpg

20120604-190517.jpg

20120604-190657.jpg

20120604-190707.jpg

20120604-190716.jpg

20120604-190745.jpg

Finally, we also took a Thai cooking class. I’d say that equally attractions in Chiang Mai are a third animal related, a third massage/spa, and a third cooking schools. We chose Basil cooking school because of great reviews and also because the kitchen is more modern. Tip: choose the evening cooking class, the weather is cooler, and the food doubles as dinner.

20120604-190645.jpg

20120604-190651.jpg

Chiang Mai is a great place to visit, both kid and adult friendly! We highly recommend it.

Vietnam, Foreign

4 Jun

20120604-161147.jpg
Vietnam was one of those places where on one hand I felt a sense of familiarity since my last visit 18 years ago, but on the other hand, it was quite foreign to me at the same time. I wavered between both feelings during our 12 day stay.

Here’s the foreign stuff:

You know how you’ve heard of so and so distant relative but if you ever saw them on the street you wouldn’t recognize them? Or when your family’s not socially networked when you go away to college and so you come back to find out that suddenly your baby cousin is now a kid who can read and has a Facebook profile? That’s how I felt about my family that are still in Vietnam.

20120604-184014.jpg
I always knew I had relatives in Vietnam, but I never really knew who they were or even some of their names. Sure I had met some of them 18 years ago, but over the years, it was out of sight, out of mind. So it was really neat to sort of “discover” and get to know my cousins better. Not to be cheesy, but I feel like I gained more family while on this trip. The last time I felt this way was when we got married.

20120604-161122.jpg
See the cute little girl? I had no idea she even existed!

20120604-161159.jpg
I had no idea my cousin is artist/teacher. I knew he was a teacher, but I thought it was some academic subject, not art. He is super talented, he made those busts!

I played badminton with my cousin. That was incredibly fun though sweaty. Badminton was quite foreign to Jerry before he met me, but familiar to me, as I got my first badminton set in 5th grade.
20120604-180920.jpg
No one in my family in the States played badminton while I was growing up, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my cousins in Vietnam play almost every day!

20120604-161141.jpg
I thought we left food drive thrus when we left America in February, but it turns out in you can ride your motorcycle right up to a vendor and get stuff like meat buns and fruit without getting off your bike.

20120604-161017.jpg
I had no idea Saigon had its own version of Notre Dame. It was a duh moment!

20120604-161205.jpg
Jerry found these buildings to be oddly shaped. Built very tall instead of wide, when there was plenty of land to be had.

20120604-161022.jpg
Who knew the post office was this baller? Although given the amount of cardboard boxes it handles, I shouldn’t be surprised 😛

20120604-161027.jpg

20120604-161032.jpg
Jerry discovered the best DDR players to be in Vietnam (we thought they’d be in Japan). And as you’ll see in the video at the end of this post, go kart racing is where folks take the opportunity to not drive like they normally do outside.

Museums in Vietnam:
I pretty much got schooled by these museums in Vietnam. I won’t even pretend that I am knowledgable about Vietnam’s political history or current political climate. I guess there is always the assumption that if you’re from a certain country, how dare you not know the history, right? Well, better late than never! What I knew about Vietnam’s past I cobbled up through years of random things I’ve heard in passing from my family, the TV, or in school. And to prove this point, we flew into Hanoi on April 29th. Our hotel receptionist told us the following day (4/30) was a holiday. I blankly looked at him and said, huh? Then it registered with me that it was Black April. I actually only learned about Black April during college, not even from my family. And why would they tell me? I certainly didn’t ask. So this trip to Vietnam was a huge history lesson for me. I didn’t even know that the US used Agent Orange during the war either. That was a huge shock for me and seeing the pictures, that was eye opening. I think that when we come home, I’d like to ask about the war and my family’s boat escape story in further detail with my family if they feel like talking about it. I’ve only heard bits and pieces, but maybe I’ll have more intelligent questions to ask now that I’ve seen one side of the story (i.e. the museum exhibits).

20120604-161036.jpg
I had never heard of the “Hanoi Hilton” or that former Senator McCain was a prisoner there. Jerry had though.

20120604-161040.jpg

20120604-161047.jpg
Vietnam Military History museum in Hanoi. I learned a lot about the French colonization of Vietnam here.

20120604-161053.jpg
The site where the northern Vietnamese army tank (pictured above) crashed through the gates of the then called Independence Palace and afterwards renamed Reunification Palace.

The War Remnants Museum in Saigon. There’s no flashy exhibits or fancy technology like today’s museums. But I think it’s well curated and extremely powerful. The photos speak for themselves.

20120604-161058.jpg

20120604-161105.jpg
Not to be all dramatic, but that Agent Orange exhibit had me tearing up. I felt so depressed seeing all the photos and reading the stories. How do you ever repair or repay an action like that? You just can’t.

20120604-161111.jpg

So despite flying in and thinking that Vietnam would be the most familiar place for me because I knew the language and the food, it ended up being foreign to me in the most positive and eye opening way. Someday I’d like to take our kids there so they can get a sense of their family roots.

Vietnam, Familiar

4 Jun

Vietnam was one of those places where on one hand I felt a sense of familiarity since my last visit 18 years ago, but on the other hand, it was quite foreign to me at the same time. I wavered between both feelings during our 12 day stay.

Here’s the familiar stuff:

20120604-160701.jpg
Crossing the street in VN is always an adventure, and the plethora of motorcycles certainly makes it even more challenging! There’s no such thing as traffic laws in Vietnam.

20120604-160713.jpg
Apart from American hipster salads with fancy ingredients such as quinoa and seitan, I’d consider Vietnamese food to be on the lighter side. Well, with the exception of egg rolls pictured above. Although is it healthier when wrapped in lettuce? 😛 Anyhow, it was quite a refreshing change from the greasy and heavy Chinese food that we’d been having.

20120604-160746.jpg
Typical restaurant set ups. I didn’t bother to use Google much in countries like Vietnam. I had a feeling that once we ventured outside, we’d just go where our noses and eyes took us.

20120604-160723.jpg
One Google exception: we made it out to the “Lunch Lady.” She became famous after she appeared on an episode of No Reservations, but believe me, she was well known in Saigon before that. Definitely worth the hype! Everyday she serves different bowls of noodle soup. I believe on Saturdays she serves banh canh, bun thai on Mondays, etc. We specifically went on Friday, when bun bo hue is on the menu. No worries about being ripped off. Even though she has two tiers of pricing for locals and tourists, it’s still on roughly $1.25 per bowl for tourists. I could have been satisfied after one bowl, but Jerry and I “splurged” on a third bowl. 🙂

20120604-160753.jpg
More bun bo hue near my cousin’s house. I actually prefer bun bo hue over pho. I crave pho when I’m sick because it’s simple and comforting, but when I’m just plain hungry a bowl bun bo hue has my name written all over it.

20120604-160813.jpg
I didn’t try to seek out the “best pho” in Vietnam. I’m not really that picky about pho, as long as it’s not too salty or skimpy on the portions, then any bowl will do. Pictured left is Ben Thanh market, which is really fun to browse in and well organized I feel.

20120604-160729.jpg
We went to what was supposedly the best banh mi in Saigon. We went twice, the first time I thought everything was perfect except for the bread which I felt was too over baked. The second time the bread was softer. Pretty much a winner, although really, you can’t go wrong anywhere I feel.

20120604-160735.jpg
Night markets galore in Hanoi and Saigon. Though the wares offered have changed over the years to reflect tastes, I think the concept of a night market hasn’t, thankfully.

One of my favorite things about Asia is the plethora of fresh fruits and drinks. Really no point in drinking soda or anything artificial when you can get fresh squeezed sugarcane juice and coconut juice straight from the source so easily.

20120604-160818.jpg

20120604-160905.jpg
I ate my weight and more in jackfruit and rambutan specifically. It’s really pricey back at home. Another place I also get my exotic fruit fix is in Canada. I think my cousin said that import laws there are more lax than in the states.

20120604-160857.jpg
The Vietnamese cardboard box. If you head to the airport on any given night, at the check in counter for flights to Vietnam, you will see lines of folks waiting to check in their cardboard boxes. Who knows whats in them, but keep in mind that Western goods are still prized in Vietnam.

20120604-160834.jpg
Jerry and I decided to partake and ship a box of stuff (souvenirs/extra clothes) home. Our stuff is estimated to arrive by boat…oh in a few months or so. It was 66% cheaper by boat than by plane!

So after having spent the last couple months prior trying to sign language our way through Brazil, interpreting what was what on a menu in Peru, and searching the ends of the Internet for the correct bus to take to the Great Wall, I thought Vietnam would be the one place that we’d breeze through. Boy was I wrong, and I’m glad I was wrong. Our next post will go into that!

%d bloggers like this: