Friday, June 18, 2010

Being lazy at home

We are in one of the hottest days of this summer. The temperature is about 37 or 38 degrees, terribly hot, which discourages people to go out. The pool in my neighbourhood is always too crowded in the afternoon. I haven't been to the swimming pool for over ten days. High time to go this afternoon. :-)

I don't have to work much in the summer: just going to university to be an exam supervisor (students are doing a computer-based test in this photo), 3 mornings (finished 2, one more left); going to an evening center twice a week; taking Bob to his art class twice a week (Wed and Sat morning) and teaching him English almost every day. I spend the rest of the day going to the market, cooking, cleaning and reading books.

After my trip to the central I bought 2 boxes of jigsaw puzzle of 1000 pieces: Keukenhof garden for me and Acropolis for my son. Honestly, this is also the last time I bought this puzzle: it took me so much time (5 days) to assemble the garden.:-) Bob quit because he was not patient enough to build the temple. But he gave me a hand. Now a nice picture has appeared in the living room.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tour of Da Nang and Hoi An

I have just been back from a 5 day tour of Da Nang and Hoi An. The tour was successful: the same as my original plan (visiting all places I wanted to); nobody was ill; nothing lost; flights were on time; and pleasant weather.:-)

Day 1: after checking into the hotel (one block away from the river) in Da Nang, we had a sleep until late in the afternoon. My mum and son and myself needed to refresh after a long journey. When we got up we walked along the Han river. A nice walk with fresh air and cool wind. We had dinner in a restaurant called The World facing the river. It has got a good location, friendly staff and lovely food. Then we walked through some streets, ate Hue sweet soup and went back to the hotel. Danang was so peaceful in the evening.

Day 2: we spent the second day exploring Ba Na Hills, a resort about 35 km from the centre. The journey to the hills was divided into some legs: from the centre to Gare Suoi Mo by minibus, from Suoi Mo to Gare Ba Na by red cable car; from Gare Ba Na to Gare De Bay on foot and from Gare De Bay to Gare Morin by yellow cable car and from Gare Morin we walked to the the top called Nui Chua. The weather on Ba Na Hills was cool. That is why it was regarded as little "Da Lat". We went sightseeing there and took some photos. It was said that on clear days you can see Da Nang from the hills. But we could not see anything because it was cloudy when we were there. On the way back to the hotel we had lunch in a peaceful and old-fashioned restaurant called "Pho Xua" (Old Street). In the late afternoon, we went to My Khe beach. It was clean with high waves. My mum couldn't swim, so she sat on the beach deck. My son and I waded in the sea and played with the waves. Bob now was so confident playing with high waves. He wanted to be there more but I told him to stop after 30 minutes because it rained. We came back to the hotel and walked to The World to have hot pot with mushrooms. Then I walked to Highlands coffee nearby to buy a take away caramel freeze coffee and two pieces of tiramisu. That night I finished the novel 'Where are you?' by Marc Levy.

Day 3: I decided to go on a tour of Son Tra Penninsula in the morning. It is covered by mountains and hills and not many people live on the pennisula except fishermen. And you can travel half way around it because the other half is a restricted area, for the army. We visited a pagoda there with a statue of a Buddha which is 67 meters tall. Inside her there are 10 storeys. We went up to the top.

Then we caught a taxi to Hoi An. We checked in and went out to eat lunch with Hoi An specialities. Back to the hotel we had a nap. My son said the hotel was a no-star hotel.:-) An old small TV, an empty minibar, a broken-door bathroom. But there was air conditioning and near the ancient quarters. At mid-afternoon, we explored the ancient town. I thought we could finish half of the town, but it was so small that after just three and half an hours we finished our exploration. We ate lunch in a restaurant near our hotel. And in the evening we walked over a bridge to a lantern street. That is also the end of our trip to Hoi An.

Day 4: We ate breakfast in a pho (noodle) restaurant nearby. Honestly I could not finish my bowl. But my mum and Bob could. We went back to Da Nang by car offered by the hotel (cheaper than a taxi ). On the way, we visited Ngu Hanh Son (five mountains - Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, Land) and Non Nuoc Art Village. We stayed there for over one hour visiting two pagodas and some caves on the biggest mountain of the five called Water Mountain. We ate lunch in a restaurant around the corner near our hotel. Then napping until 3.30 pm.
We went to Cham Museum, a few blocks away from the hotel. It was a nice building in a good location facing the river. We stayed there for one hour or so. On the way back we walked along the waterfront street. Cool and fresh air. And we had dinner in The World (the third time).:-)

Day 5: we went shopping in Han Market. It was on the same street as our hotel. Easy to walk there. We bought some dried squid for family and friends. And we bought some clothing items for little children. We ate the final lunch in the corner restaurant and checked out at noon. Our flight was as scheduled. We flew back to Hanoi at 14.20 and landed at 15.30. The central tour ended.
Welcoming us back to the flat was power off. Luckily, we are on the 10th floor, so it was windy enough to forget the electric fans.Our normal life starts.
I took some photos with my Nokia. The quality was not good but acceptable. You still see our faces and some views.:-)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer holiday 2010

A long summer holiday has come to me and my son. As I mentioned before in my blog, as a teacher and pupil, we have longer holidays than other people. And this year it started with some nice surprises.

Bob 'graduated' from primary school with good results. This autumn he goes to secondary school. And he just won Prize B for his painting in an art contest organized in Hanoi Children's Palace on the occassion of its 55th anniverary, which made us so happy. In addition, he is now more confident to swim in the pool. I try to take him to the pool every two days. I promise to myself that during the holiday I will teach him more English. Ms Van, my friend, who is teaching children in a private centre, sent me her exercises aiming at consolidating English in Grade 6. I will use them. And one more thing I will do for him is to send him a 5 day course on living skills. I hope he will be more confident to communicate. However, I regret not being able to choose a good secondary school for him.
Another surprise is that my mum agreed to go on holiday with us. At first she refused because she thought she was not fit enough to travel. After a lot of persuading she said yes. This year we are going to Danang and Hoi An, in the central of Vietnam for 5 days from 4 June. It is a really nice gift.

Beside travelling, I would like to spend time reading books in my bookcase. I haven't finished some.