Uh oh…

I had all these (brilliant) posts lined up in rough draft form on my laptop, and photos to illustrate my travels, but I’ve hit a snag.

My computer won’t start.

I’m hoping this can be overcome in the next few days, but I just don’t know at this point. So, I’m apologizing in advance for a break in posts- they will be resumed once I can access everything again! Thanks for your patience.

Halong Bay Bungalows

The 3-day tour was supposed to include a night of sleeping on a “junk” (boat) in Halong Bay, but for whatever reason, they couldn’t do that, so I stayed in an island bungalow for two nights instead of just one.

And I “got to” put up and use mosquito nets for the first time!

The word “Bungalow” sounds ordinary and boring, but these were thatched wooden huts right on the sandy beach- in the middle of nowhere.

You can only reach it by boat.

The arrival was dramatic, as we chugged up in our wooden dragon boat to this long dock which speared out into the bay.

As we walked down the bouncing, creaking, floating footbridge, we approached the edge of the bungalows, where people were emerging from their cabin rooms, looking out into the sunset. It felt like we were entering into this little forgotten land of beach paradise that only a few people in the world knew about.

There’s nothing else there but these 10-15 rustic-looking bungalows, a communal area with a few long tables (where we all gathered for a delicious seafood barbecue dinner), and the long dock that dead-ends out in the still green bay.

And that’s it. You’re surrounded by rock formations, so there’s nothing else there and nowhere else to go except by boat.

And the view from the beach looked like the one form the movie The Beach, even though I know that’s technically in Thailand. I may see it later in June.  🙂

We arrived after a long day of cruising through these amazing waters with green-covered rocks towering all around us.

On our way there was a colorfully-lit dripping wet cave that we tramped through, and a floating village (a la Waterworld) that we chugged past en route to the bungalows in the middle of nowhere.  🙂


This was also one of those parts of my trip where I got to meet a lot of lovely people.

A big thank-you shout-out to the Brighton girls who got me chocolate when I was marooned on this island paradise for 2 days and bereft of dessert- Grace, Nicky, Sharon, and Amanda. You guys are great.  And thanks also to the lovely Irish Kerr family and Rochy for being such great company, and for the book.

And to Ron and Jeanne for sharing the dinner feast (and the good lunch recommendation) when we finally made it back to Hanoi after our 9+ hour journey of bus, boat, boat, bus, boat, boat, bus. (I think. I kind of lost track.)

It was quite an adventure.

On traveling with credit cards…

I have the worst luck with credit cards. Almost every time I travel outside of the country, I end up with fraudulent charges on my account. The newest one was from a Turkish airline based in London, who charged almost $25,000 on my credit card this week, even though I have the card with me- I’m looking at it right now. They must have skimmed the number at some point- possibly when I was in London last fall, since I haven’t used that card on this trip. Well, now I don’t have a back-up card anymore. Eeek. Someone in Vanautu used my card the year before last, to charge up $7,000 worth of blueprints and drafting supplies. I’d never even heard of Vanuatu before (though of course Kristi has been there!). The year before that, it was a charge for Google Adwords. And people wonder why I don’t have automatic payments set up on my credit cards!

Let’s get Started!


Sometimes you just need to get out there and see the world. But, being an American, those 2 weeks of vacation time a year just don’t really give you the kind of time you need to get to know a new place, or places, very well.  So, some of us go drastic and quit our jobs and leave our loved ones temporarily for an adventure of a lifetime. Eeep!

I’ll be starting out in Australia, where I’ll get to meet relatives I’ve never seen before in person, and see others for the first time in 17 years. Then, look out, Southeast Asia!  I’m heading your way!