Go to the Holiday in Vietnam 2011 photo album if you want to see the pictures.
After almost 2 years of non stop working and the deaths of both my parents I needed a holiday badly before I would start working for Kawasaki again. Sisi had already left for Vietnam to visit her mother who was to undergo medical surgery early september.
After her mother's operation Sisi left for My Tho where she was supporting a local temple, called Hai Duc, in a nearby small village. This time a Buddha statue was to be installed.
Arrival in Hong Kong
After a long flight I landed in Hong Kong where I had to stay for a day. Earlier I had decided to leave for Vietnam 1 day earlier. At Schiphol airport I found out that my visa for Vietnam was valid from 2 days on, so I could not enter Vietnam the next day as planned. After some discussion at the check-in counter I decided to fly to Hong Kong, stay there for 1 day and fly to Saigon the next morning. My flight to Saigon was changed accordingly.
I decided to spent the day at the airport. I had asked for a cheap hotel at one of the hotel counters, but they had nothing cheap. I also did not like to go into Hong Kong just to walk all day with no place to rest or shower. So I spent all day and evening reading on my new ebook reader. When the battery was empty I switched to a paper book and found a place to charge the battery. The night was long on the chairs. And I was not the only one sleeping at the airport.
The next morning I got the plane to Vietnam.
Arrival in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City
Sisi picked me up from the airport and we drove to her aunt's place. This time we could stay at her house. They had bought a beautiful house in southern Saigon. After staying there for 1 day we left for My Tho, a city in the Mekong Delta. It was a nice ride over the newly built bridge just outside Saigon. This bridge was in the news some years ago due to some accident while constructing this enormous bridge. Vietnam is really developing fast, with new roads, bridges, skyscrapers and new cars. But one thing that really needs to be developed is the driving style of the Vietnamese. They still drive like crazy and have not heard of traffic rules, or if they have they simply ignore them.
We stopped for a short lunch at a temple in a small village where Sisi knew the head monk. Later in the afternoon we arrived in My Tho, where Sisi brought me to the hotel she had stayed the last weeks. It was situated outside the center of My Tho and in a quiet neighbourhood. It was almost empty and very cheap. We would stay here for the next 10 days. Just a few kilometers down the road was a very nice and cheap vegetarian restaurant, run by monks from a nearby temple. We became regular visitors for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The next day I met the monk who was travelling with Sisi and helping her with all sort of things around the hotel and the temple. He and his little brother also stayed in the hotel.
On 2 small motorbikes we drove through the countryside to Hai Duc temple, about 15 kilometers from My Tho. We passed rice fields, small villages and orchards with dragon fruit. It was really beautiful here. Hai Duc temple was situated in the rice fields and only accessible over a small dirt road and a narrow dyke. The head monk welcomed and invited us for a cup of tea and lunch.
Two days later we went back again to the temple to watch the arrival of a big Buddha statue that Sisi had ordered the last time she was here. The statue came all the way from Da Nang, famous for the Marble Mountains. Finally a small pickup truck arrived and was welcomed by a few monks who had already been waiting for some time. A small winch was erected to lift the statue from the truck and to place it on a small cart. In a small procession with music playing monks in front the statue was transported over the small dyke to the Hai Duc temple. In front of the temple a small altar had been built and it was hard work to give the statue its final resting place. But finally the job was done and the inauguration ceremony took place. The temple was full with monks and everyone was in a good mood. Lots of praying and music playing took place. but finally the ceremony came to an end. Afterwards a delicious lunch was served and we were thanked again by the head monk. It was a very joyous experience for Sisi, me and other friends that were not here but had contributed to this beautiful status.
We made a short trip to Can Tho to visit the Floating Market on the Hau River. By the time we arrived there most of the boats had already left. Also the market was not so big anymore as a few years ago.
After lunch we visited a small amusement park. They also had wild animals such as crocodiles and monkeys. There was also an animal race, but I forgot with what animals. We also watched a show where monkeys rode bicycles and performed all sort of tricks. It was all not very animal friendly, but what can you do about it. This is still Asia where they have a complete differeht approach for animals.
By hired car we rode to Mui Ne, a small beach resort in the south central part of Vietnam. It was once a small sleeping fishing village, but now it has turned into a large seaside resort.
Along the main road, that runs alongside the sea and lined with hotels, restaurants, souvenirshops and so on, we found a small guestroom, run a by german guy with his Vietnamese wife. We stayed here a few days, just relaxing or going for a swim. Sisi went out to see if it was worth to buy land in this place, but decided finally not to do it.
I visited the lovely Fairy Spring, a stream that flows through the dunes and had a nice waterfall at the end of the walking track. The nearby white sand dunes were great fun for people who went sand-sledding
We took a plane to Dong Hoi where we spent a few days with the family, talking about investments for Hieu and signing papers for the handover of a piece of land that Lan had bought. Due to personal reasons she could not afford it any longer, so we decided to buy it from her.
Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City
The last day was spent in Ho Chi Minh City, visiting the Ben Thanh market to buy some souvenirs.
On the map you can see all the places we have visited.