Saigon. December 2019 I didn’t know much about Vietnamese history. But I did know that the Reunification Palace is a bit of a must for history buffs. We’d walked past it a few times. A 1960’s ugly block of a building, which cast a sort of eerie shadow over the city, palm trees and manicured gardens notwithstanding. When we visited I had the approach and … Continue reading From Independence to Reunification – A Palace Full of History.
Saigon, Vietnam, December 2019 Helen arrived first. Hopping off her bike she pulled off a grey sweat top to reveal a silky shimmering deep-sea-blue ao dai. Then she leaned back against her bike and started texting. Lily arrived a few moments later. Same blue tunic. Same black ponytail swinging. Same smiles and laughter. ‘Did you ever go on a motorbike before?’, she asked. We’d already … Continue reading Food Stories 1. Street Food Saigon Style.
Saigon. December 2019. We flew to Saigon to start our three-month sojourn in Vietnam. My sister asked what it was like. The answer came tumbling out of me, so many impressions threatened sensory overload. Our first days passed in the stupor of jet-lag. The heat was suffocating. We’d gone from 9 to 30+ degrees. It was a sticky heat that made me wilt. Jim loved … Continue reading Saigon. First Impressions.
Amritsar, 2010. The Golden Temple in pictures. Continue reading The Golden Temple.
Despite it’s British origins (the design is based on the old Morris Oxford), the Ambassador is considered to be the definitive Indian car, the car of diplomats and tourists, and is called “The King of the Indian Roads”. In production since 1958, it’s graceful curves recall the elegance of bygone days. Roomy, comfortable, good suspension – essential for the potholed, almost crater-ridden Indian roads – … Continue reading Touring India with Raj, in a white Ambassador car.
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, 2010 Varanasi, the city of Shiva, is one of the holiest places in India. The Ganges, known to Hindus as the Great Mother, is regarded as a river of salvation and pilgrims come to do puja on her ghats (literally meaning respect, offering or prayers) and cleanse themselves of sin. Long before dawn, sounds herald the break of a new day. Temple … Continue reading Varanasi, Life on the Ghats.
Trekking in Nepal, 2010 Nepal is a small land-locked country, 800 km long and 200 km wide; but as the old adage says: ‘good things come in small packages’. Around 64% of the country is covered by mountains. One third of the total length of the Himalaya lies inside Nepal’s borders and the country claims ten of the world’s fourteen highest peaks. Wow! ‘Pokhara is … Continue reading Pokhara, Nepal.
Kathmandu, Nepal 2010 Kathmandu is a fascinating city to visit. A patchwork quilt of faith, religion, tradition, superstition, – it offers a link with the past, but is also a dynamic city living fully in the present moment. A city of temples, shrines and statues; a stroll down the narrow streets of the old city will reveal markets, “toles”(1), “bahals”(2), and “bahil”(3). It’s a glorious … Continue reading Kathmandu
Dwarka, Gujarat 2010. A mini Varanassi. Pilgrims. Sadhus. Bathers. Offerings. And in India a deity or two is never far away. Continue reading Dwarka.
Mandvi, Gujarat 2010. India is a country of workshops. Most Indian ladies buy fabric and get a tailor to make up garments specifically for them rather than buying ‘ready made’. I decided to follow suit. On the recommendation of our guesthouse manager I went to look for “Bandhej” a shop well known for it’s bandhani or tie-dye fabrics – a speciality of the area. Tie-dye … Continue reading Made To Measure.