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Robyn's rambling - words and travels

1 week 2 days ago #6036 by Robyn Lockhart
Gee what a busy few days on my travels (and in FC forum here too).
I'm still in Vietnam but needed a day off from climbing rugged rocky steep man sized steps a few hundred at a time! Still I made it albeit slower than I liked and enjoyed the company of others resting up along the way too, all younger than me, and mostly half my age or less! (starting even before the caves I didn't stop till today. Long train trips, much climbing of stairs and steps, huge and small temples wow I love this part of the world. Cheap but good accommodation, mostly between $10 and $20 per night. Boat trips in and out of river tunnel caves, birds including very pretty ducks, a snake swimming in the water.

And every day butterflies! Found it interesting whenever I was really struggling physically a butterfly would seem to lead the way! bright blue, pretty yellow and black, and a similar orange and black, big black with yellow at centre, a whole swarm of about 50 or 100 small orange ones, wow, just wow, isn't nature magnificent.

Interesting experience yesterday the very steep rocky path had what i figured was goat poo generously spread about. No sign of any goats to confirm but lunch at the restaurant way down there at the bottom had goat on the menu! Later on I saw a mum and two baby goats alongside just in a village on the roadside (walking/eating not herded or tied)
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1 week 6 days ago #5778 by PattiH
Beautiful picture Robyn!

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1 week 6 days ago #5757 by Angela
Land formation spectacular, limestone caves in the mountains, not to many people (the town of Phong Nha and this one Dong Hoi both only grew up since 1990 when they opened the Phong Nha cave to public. Can see why paradise cave was named that when discoverd in 2005. Opened to public in 2007.


Fantastic photo Robyn, I'm looking forward to seeing more of your trip. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

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1 week 6 days ago #5749 by Robyn Lockhart
Made it out of Da nang and 2 nights later in Dong Hoi. This is starting place for tour to Phong Nha cave and Paradise cave. Wow just wow stalagmites and stalactites that have been growing for millions of years. Several 25 metres pus in height! Whole walls withlace covering etc.

Land formation spectacular, limestone caves in the mountains, not to many people (the town of Phong Nha and this one Dong Hoi both only grew up since 1990 when they opened the Phong Nha cave to public. Can see why paradise cave was named that when discoverd in 2005. Opened to public in 2007.


On to Minh binh today 10 hour train trip.
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2 weeks 1 day ago #5532 by Robyn Lockhart
kinda but just found i couldn't book bus out to the north till after the weekend have to book a train! and at hotel reception on their computer it wouldn't let me use my debit card to buy train ticket so they are going to send someone to train station for me and it will cost me extra 50,000 dong or about $4 nz cheaper than 100,000 taxi each way and queueing etc........ Hassles like this make me more than ready to move on though to their credit the hotel staff have been very helpful.
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2 weeks 1 day ago #5520 by Gill Poole

Robyn Lockhart wrote: I forgot to mention da nang will be under the global media spotlight as APEC (Asia Pacific Economic um Comission?) is here from 6th till 11th Nov. Apparently donald trump will be here for 2 of those days. I havent seen which 2 and they probably not announcing for security reasons but its already the 8th and army presence all over town. They are just standing there in their khaki uniforms on street corners strategic places, main roads. Have seen several police escorts of what looks like large ford camper vans presumably armour plated lol. No sirens no high speed but flashing lights on the police cars front and back and nothing obvious on the vans.


Isn't it exciting just being there!

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2 weeks 1 day ago #5517 by Robyn Lockhart
I forgot to mention da nang will be under the global media spotlight as APEC (Asia Pacific Economic um Comission?) is here from 6th till 11th Nov. Apparently donald trump will be here for 2 of those days. I havent seen which 2 and they probably not announcing for security reasons but its already the 8th and army presence all over town. They are just standing there in their khaki uniforms on street corners strategic places, main roads. Have seen several police escorts of what looks like large ford camper vans presumably armour plated lol. No sirens no high speed but flashing lights on the police cars front and back and nothing obvious on the vans.

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2 weeks 1 day ago #5513 by Robyn Lockhart
It already has angela i took off less than 3 months after leaving motel! I have been wanting to travel more for years. Can see that I'm getting too old to do too cheap will have to save in between until my income from this platform kicks in. But its all perfect and it means I may have to do less places less often til my income matches my travel bucket list lol.
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2 weeks 1 day ago #5512 by Angela
I am so pleased you are thoroughly enjoying your travels Robyn. It might take a while to settle back into NZ life when you get home, or conversely you might be glad to get back to the peace and quiet of NZ life. Be careful the travel bug doesn't bite you. LOL
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2 weeks 1 day ago #5508 by Robyn Lockhart
flew to Da Nang due to possible nightmares on the ground and stayed 3 nights took taxi out to hoi an today for look around mud everywhere and can see how high it was in places did the right thing resting here instead. Tomorrow north by bus to where there's some caves, (phong nha?) stay one night then on to hanoi will go out to halong bay and stay there a few nights. Will be nice to go to india with just one place to say for 10 days lol. Been on the move too much. Will probably go just 2 places in Laos or 3 too tired to plan ahead but know I want to do vientiane luang prabang and i believe there's a nice stopover bout half way between. will skip the northwest end near golden triangle this time may do from burma another trip.

Want to live in the here and now and right now this hotel in da nang is reasonable price is the best I have stayed so far for view price etc clean and has door on shower, thats the first the whole trip and only one other that had partial divider from toilet! tired of nearly falling over or forgetting the seat is wet lol.

The suburb could be better the main street has wooden chair makers lol no massage six in a row to keep price down in sight. If you know asia there seems to be a predominance of types of outlets in each street and i drew blank on massage found one way away no competition so about 30% more than elsewhere in vietnam so far. Might go there tonight missing my two or three times a week treat its been almost a week now.
The local restaurant is a good score though $2 for very healthy rolled in rice wafer omelette lettuce and celery and lots of other unidentifiable salad veges etc very yum. So busy you could not hear the english speaking waiter guy over the hubbub, and more people than seated there being served on their motorbikes by the dozen while i ate approx 10 waiting staff not sure how many cooks saw about 4 or 5 but some could have been out of my view.

This net connection is the best I've had since leaving nz. fast stable and all facilities here have been tops! The name of the hotel amuses me D&C Hotel. I haven't dared ask what D&C means to them lol.
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2 weeks 2 days ago #5449 by Gill Poole
Where did you end up?Hoi An after all?

Robyn Lockhart wrote: have made several long posts that got d/c or timed out before posted and been on the move so much its been hard to be on here

Back to HCM city after trip round mekong delta to south - loved chau duc got personal motorbike tour to many pagodas temples the forest on boats (saw three types of bird there the first looked like our pukeko but half size the second was thru the trees and possibly a white cormaorant - sepite lots of these they were high up and beween branches so not clear view but reminded me of our kotuku and thirdly a birght blue tec kingfisher)
Butterfiles too seem similar to cambodia

Where im headed today is flooded after a big storm passed thru - cant get decent info on how bad etc so flying instead of train (tracks underwater in places) and will asess if move norht immediately or not

Need a rest and this was supposed to be lovely place to rest... oh well lol on the road again...

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2 weeks 4 days ago #5347 by PattiH
Hi Robyn,

Glad you are enjoying your holiday.

Stay safe.

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2 weeks 4 days ago #5345 by Robyn Lockhart
have made several long posts that got d/c or timed out before posted and been on the move so much its been hard to be on here

Back to HCM city after trip round mekong delta to south - loved chau duc got personal motorbike tour to many pagodas temples the forest on boats (saw three types of bird there the first looked like our pukeko but half size the second was thru the trees and possibly a white cormaorant - sepite lots of these they were high up and beween branches so not clear view but reminded me of our kotuku and thirdly a birght blue tec kingfisher)
Butterfiles too seem similar to cambodia

Where im headed today is flooded after a big storm passed thru - cant get decent info on how bad etc so flying instead of train (tracks underwater in places) and will asess if move norht immediately or not

Need a rest and this was supposed to be lovely place to rest... oh well lol on the road again...
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3 weeks 3 days ago #5002 by Gill Poole

Robyn Lockhart wrote: Okay so today i bid farewell to Cambodia and am now in Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon).

Phnom Pen is very intense. The killing fields The S21 Jail Museum. Too many skulls, bones, bits of clothing, graphic pictures and paintings. Audio statements like "Imagine if one quarter of your country people were killed by their own people." and They killed babies in front of their mother who then was also killed" It feels that they are well on the way to healing it though and forgiveness and peace is the predominant feeling as you go around. I did have a few tears at times but they were gentle healing tears.

Now that I have that out of the way I moved on to Vietnam - tours booked for next two days and then a bus out to the mekong delta. after i do a loop round the delta i will go north, most people suggest the north is more interesting.


Great to hear your on the move again Robyn. Yes those experiences of the killing fields and jail museum are something else. Now that you are Vietnam....good to get this city out of the way. Enjoy the Mekong...another eye opener to a way of living.

I hope your going to Hoi An... We could have spent another few days there and of course Hanoi is great and you'll love Halong Bay... the Vietnamese are quite different to the Cambodians we found as different government policies of looking after their people.

Great to hear all is going well.
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3 weeks 3 days ago #4992 by Robyn Lockhart
Okay so today i bid farewell to Cambodia and am now in Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon).

Phnom Pen is very intense. The killing fields The S21 Jail Museum. Too many skulls, bones, bits of clothing, graphic pictures and paintings. Audio statements like "Imagine if one quarter of your country people were killed by their own people." and They killed babies in front of their mother who then was also killed" It feels that they are well on the way to healing it though and forgiveness and peace is the predominant feeling as you go around. I did have a few tears at times but they were gentle healing tears.

Now that I have that out of the way I moved on to Vietnam - tours booked for next two days and then a bus out to the mekong delta. after i do a loop round the delta i will go north, most people suggest the north is more interesting.
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3 weeks 3 days ago #4967 by Angela

Annamarie wrote: Hi Robyn, Just had a thought why don't you zoom record some great scenes and post them in here.

Use your laptop, or a tablet,
1. click on zoom start meeting,
2. make sure you have clicked on record
3. then move camera to sight you want us to share with us
4. then stop record
5. End Meeting
6. Wait for recording to convert
7. Then upload to you tube
8. And link or embed in here

Keep recordings short max 5 mins as easier to upload :woohoo:


Wow, thanks for sharing that . Zoom is so versatile and we can all learn more. LOL I don;t know a lot about zoom but slowly learning and these sort of posts are so helpful.
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3 weeks 6 days ago #4892 by Gill Poole

Robyn Lockhart wrote: just arrived in phnomn pen got an old fashioned hotel room with huge bed one side really hard the other more amenable to absorbing the bulgy bits. i bargained down from 25 us per night to 65 for 3 nights so a little less than 23 per night which is really good value. AND it has a bath!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm off to explore shortly and book the tours to killing fields the jail/museum and the royal palace. And find out my options to move on to ho chi minh city across the border in vietnam.


Good on you. It's all sobering stuff going to these places Robyn...take a deep breathe when visiting.

I had my teeth attended to there..in Ho Chi Mingh city... all fallen out now...lol...we were there when the army was preparing for Obama's arrival. Couldn't use a camera on the streets.. you'll love the Vietnamese btw... Trish arrives back in NZ next week. She's been so homesick...
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3 weeks 6 days ago #4889 by Robyn Lockhart
just arrived in phnomn pen got an old fashioned hotel room with huge bed one side really hard the other more amenable to absorbing the bulgy bits. i bargained down from 25 us per night to 65 for 3 nights so a little less than 23 per night which is really good value. AND it has a bath!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm off to explore shortly and book the tours to killing fields the jail/museum and the royal palace. And find out my options to move on to ho chi minh city across the border in vietnam.
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3 weeks 6 days ago #4884 by Viv Hill
Enjoy your time away Robyn. You will have some wonderful memories to bring back.
Makes interesting reading...thanks for sharing it with us.
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4 weeks 7 minutes ago - 4 weeks 6 minutes ago #4877 by Anita:Technical Support
Lovely Robyn :)
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