Just a quick flight away…

Is this spectacular beach!

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We decided that a quick weekend get-away before school started was a brilliant idea! We hopped a quick flight to Da Nang and the famed China Beach. After visiting, we can understand why it’s consistently rated one of the world’s best beaches.

Right before moving here, I discovered a Bon Appetit magazine article about Hoi An and the Red Bridge Cooking School & Restaurant. I made sure (badgered?) Tony knew this was a place that I wanted to visit sooner rather than later.  So, we winged our way up there. It was a truly beautiful place and I can’t wait to go back. I envision taking visitors there (hint, hint) so they can see the frenetic city life of Saigon and the calm of the ocean.

The sands are crystal white and the water is so clear, you can see the little fishies swimming around your toes. When the sun hit the water, it looked like someone dumped glitter in the ocean. Thank goodness for the breeze because it was HOT!  Even with religious sunscreen application, we all got a little toasted the first day. Tony keeps reminding me that the sun is hot down here near the equator but I somehow keep forgetting.

On our second day, we went into the historic city of Hoi An. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so it looks a lot like it would have in it’s heyday at a major port for silk trading. It’s a gorgeous city and they specialize in these beautiful silk lanterns.  They’re everywhere and especially pretty when they’re lit up at night. Tony & I discussed that when we moved to Vietnam, we wouldn’t load up on lots of things we didn’t really need. Obviously, these lanterns don’t fall into that category, so we bought 3. I’m looking forward to hanging these on our front porch of the villa when we move in later in September.

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Hoi An is full of little areas to explore. The Japanese bridge is a famous landmark that’s fun to cross over. There’s lots of alley ways to explore and get lost in. There’s also an amazing amount of tailors in this little town. I heard estimates of anywhere between 300-500! I’m doing some research on these best ones so when I go back, I’ll have a dress made.

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Our last day was spent again at the beach, because let’s be honest, who can stay away? The water was so clear that Tony & Bailey decided to go snorkeling with a tour. Since I love the beach & ocean but don’t love being in the ocean, I stayed back. They had a great time, save for a few jelly fish stings. Luckily, they weren’t huge, so the welts went away pretty quickly. By the time they came back, I could only see 1 on Bailey.

Now that we’re back home, I’m fighting a bit of a summer cold. Can it be a summer cold when it’s perpetual summer? Maybe we’ll have to call it just a plain old cold.

School started and Bailey’s liking it. She’s started to make some friends, which is good. When I picked her up today, I saw a group of girls all with their phones out exchanging numbers. That’s a promising sign.

I’ll let Bailey tell you all about school on our next post.

 

 

Update from Tony

I have been working in Vietnam now nearly 2 months and I really love my work. My workweek is very busy with meetings all day, but very rewarding and enjoyable. A typical schedule for me is as follows:

Monday, head to a factory near the Cambodian border, nearly 5 hours of car time. I am grateful for a nice car and our excellent driver, Mr. Khoung, which enables me to work on my computer for most of the drive to and from even on the bumpiest of roads!

On Tuesday-Thursday I am at factory much closer to our home, which allows for a much shorter time in the car, only about 20 minutes to the factory.

Friday’s are the NLO day (Nike Liaison Office) and a chance to get caught up on meetings with other colleague’s and take care of the many office items that I can’t take care of during the earlier part of the week. All in all, the weeks fly by.

I am still working out daily, but it’s taking time to adjust from years of running at lunch in nearly ideal conditions to now getting up at 5:00am and running in high humidity and very hot conditions. I am sure I won’t get much sympathy from my Texas friends. Bailey is a real trooper and gets up with me twice a week to run 6 miles. A good friend once told me, these conditions are poor man’s altitude training. The running in our new neighborhood is very different. While not as crazy as District 1 (main business part of town), which is full of motorbikes coming from every direction and sidewalks full of folks selling their Pho or Bahn Mi’s, District 2 is quieter.

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Above photo is a view of our main road that we run on. It looks simple, right?

The road is full of dogs (I think many might be strays), chickens, rooster, and ducks.

There’s a pig that also lives at the base of apartment building as well.

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It’s fairly surreal to get used to with the mix of city and farm living all in one. One minute it is the sound of motorbikes zooming by mixed with the sound of a rooster telling everyone its time to get up.photo 3 

The one benefit of waking up so early is this great view. 

Adventures in Shopping

Xin Chao & Happy Sunday!

What a lovely Sunday so far. We’ve all done our workout and am now enjoying a cup of coffee (with a macaroon). Cookies with coffee make a Sunday morning in my book! 

Normally at home on a Sunday, we’d be thinking about what grocery shopping needs to be done. I often shopped for the entire week at once. Here, I’ve reverted back to thinking just about the day or two in front of us. Partly because we’re in a limited capacity kitchen & that takes a bit more planning of what can reasonably be made. 

Shopping here is an adventure and sometimes a contact sport -just try to get in front of me when I’m weighing my produce!  Shopping in a foreign country can be really fun and we’ve gotten more than one item “just because we want to see what it tastes like”. Consider this a heads up-cheese flavored coconut macaroons are not a good combo. You’re Welcome!

Grocery shopping takes at least 2 hours and if you can complete your list with a minimum of two shops, it’s a win. As we’re here longer, it will get faster. Right now, shopping involves a lot of Google translate & currency converting. I remember shopping in Germany involved a lot of the same head scratching in the beginning. The main difference here is that there are some fruits & vegetables here that I’m unfamiliar with. While shopping at Metro (think Costco on a slightly smaller scale but just as hectic) the other day, I encountered at least 3 different items that looked like ginger. Whip out the phone to figure out which is the one that I want.  There was one that was red & I considered buying it just to see what it would make my food look like. In the end, I played it safe and got normal ginger. 

Quick! Identify these veggies…

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After getting all of our veggies, we head over to find some chicken. Shockingly, I couldn’t find any fresh chicken but I found lots of beef. 

photo 4 I’m not sure that will fit in our freezer.

The best part of shopping at Metro for Bailey is the roasted meat section. At home, we’re used to seeing pre-roasted chickens. Here they take it to a whole new level. There’s chickens, whole pigs and rabbits. 

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For at least two weeks, Bailey insisted it was a cat but I’m pretty sure it’s a rabbit. 

Today, I think it’s chicken breasts roasted with lime & ginger with some asparagus. I better get going as we’re doing a different kind of shopping today. Furniture shopping! Yesterday, we bought a dining table, sideboard & a new couch. We also looked at beds and coffee tables but are still undecided on that. Today, outdoor furniture is on the list to hunt down. 

Wish us luck!