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Mekong Delta November 26, 2006

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Today we took a slow boat down the Mekong.  We left at 8am from Saigon and it took six hours to get to Mytho in the delta. On reflection, we probably should have taken the bus tour and not had so much time on the boat but a working river is a sight to see.  There must have been hundreds of barges ferrying sand to construction sites in Saigon. Along with these there were all manner of boats big and small laden with coconuts and bananas and some sugar cane. We also had a close encounter with a fuel freighter! The horn is used as liberally on the water as it is on the roads here.

We went into the Ben Tre province and took a series of small and smaller boats through the canals that run through the islands around there. There were a number of cottage industries set up by the government to provide employment for the villages on the islands. Coconut confectionary, snake wine, tropical fruit orchards and honey production have taken the place of fishing. Presumably the fishing rights have been bought up by big companies.

Everywhere in Vietnam and other countries in this area, there are signs about HIV prevention, wearing helmets on scooters and some even recommend a certain size family. The signs are usually pictorial so that they can be understood by those who can’t read. One sign that is conspicuously missing is “Don’t throw your rubbish in the river”. I am not sure why the government doesn’t mount this sort of campaign as it really is a tragedy to see the household waste dumped into the river and onto the riverbank. Some places are really putrid.

Apart from that it was good to see such a mighty river.  

Saigon not Ho Chi Minh City November 25, 2006

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We are in Vietnam now, we decided that with the limited time available we would press on here.

The traffic here is amazing! You seem like you are taking your life in your hands when you cross the road but everything seems to just flow. Of course there are great wide footpaths but there are permanently choked with mopeds and sellers so you have to walk on the road.

We didn’t have time to catch up with Brad and Ange while they were here, as much as they begged us. We were out having our five course dinner for AU$14.00 including drinks.

Tomorrow we are going to the Mekong Delta and then heading north.

No more phone November 21, 2006

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We have “lost” the mobile here in Cambodia which means we won’t be able to text anyone or receive texts for the rest of the trip.

It also means we have lost all your phone numbers so it would be good if you could email them to me or to Chris’ address if you are on Yahoo. Let me know if you need the email addresses by leaving a comment.

Eww. November 21, 2006

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There are way too many men over 45 living or travelling on their own in SE Asia. That is all I am going to say.

Feeling hot hot hot! November 20, 2006

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Last time we arrived in Asia we were coming from the beginnings of an Australian summer so at least we had had a little frying pan before the fire. This time we have jumped straight from the freezer into the flames.

To give an example this picture was taken last weekend in London and we had had several weeks of cold before this. So arriving into the heat and humidity of South East Asia is a bit of a shock to the system, especially here in Cambodia.

We were trying to be good money saving tourists by only having a room with a fan but unfortunately the hut we have been in also had no ventilation so after last night when the temperature didn’t drop below 30 degrees and I didn’t go to sleep until 4.00am, today we have changed to an air-con room and a hot shower. It makes such a difference! No more being sticky all day and night from sunscreen and sweat, no more griping at each other from headaches and lack of sleep. It also means that we have somewhere to retreat to in the middle of the day with a view even!

Tomorrow we head to Phnom Penh and then to Vietnam on Thursday.

Wat’s on first November 17, 2006

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So here we are only with now only a three hour time difference from Australia.

We arrived in Thailand on Tuesday afternoon from London.

Our last few days in London were spent doing touristy stuff. We went to portobello Road markets on saturday, had lunch with Fil and El and Siobhan at Brick Lane on Sunday, went on the slides at the Tate Modern, had high tea and all of that guff.

We have been in Bangkok since we arrived and have mostly shopped for Chris because everything is waaay too small for me but perfect for Chris. Of course it is hot, hot, hot so we have had to get used to that again.

Tomorrow we head for Trat and then either Ko Chang or Cambodia.

More about Stella November 12, 2006

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I thought I would get a close friend to model the Stella jeans I mentioned earlier.

Pic Here

High street couture November 12, 2006

Posted by Amanda in Fashion, Travel Diary.
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It was a big few days on the British high streets this week with two major designers releasing collections in Gap and H&M.

Tuesday saw Gap’s collection by Roland Mouret who designed the Galaxy dress that was seen everywhere in the last twelve months. The Gap range consisted of cute voluminous dresses with pintucks, pleats and the like. I broke my resolution not to go into Gap stores just to have a look. I didn’t buy anything though!

On Thursday we were on the spot to see the collection by Dutch designers Viktor and Rolf go on sale at H&M. The stores opened at 9.00 am and we were there at 9.15. By that time, a lot of the racks were empty and there were about 50 women grabbing at whatever was left and going to the counters with armloads of clothes. I didn’t like this collection as much but it was interesting to be on the spot for the feeding frenzy.

Having designers work with high street labels is becoming a regular thing here but I don’t know that we will see it in Australia because we just don’t have the big high street labels like Topshop, Zara, H&M etc so the market is not as competitive.

Humour on the edge November 11, 2006

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We have had a funny week this week. Yes funny ha ha.

I don’t think that you often see entertainment that really makes you laugh but this week has not been bad.

On Tuesday night we went to see Borat with Fil and El in Oxford. Although a lot of the laughs were tinged with a cringe it was very funny. Then on Thursday night we went to see “The Producers” in the West End.

The thing that both of these had in common was that they played with humour that could be risky. Borat has something in it to offend everyone and if the racist or sexist jokes don’t get you, then the naked wrestling scene is sure to do it.

The Producers is of course about the production of “Springtime for Hitler” the musical. Along with the obvious in the title, there is the “make it gay, make it gay, make it gay” twist. I don’t think I have seen Chris laugh so much in a long time.

so that’s that.

Digital addiction November 11, 2006

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I love my digital camera. I love that I don’t have to worry about not having enough film or how much the processing will cost. The battery life isn’t so great but that is why I have two sets of rechargeables. You may have noticed how much I love my camera with the 4000+ photos that are now on Flickr- I do need to sort these out and delete, delete, delete.

I love the fact that I can immediately review my photos and retake them if necessary. I think my photos are better as a result. I love the huge zoom that I sometimes use instead of binoculars if I want to see something- the digital zoom quality isn’t great but it can be fun sometimes anyway. I love the video capability that gives quite good quality film for short bits. I love love LOVE the fact that I can take pictures without a flash and in really low light and get a shot that actually looks the same in the picture as it does in real life.

But, and there is always a but, this is the downside. I think I have become so obsessed with my new camera that my eyes have turned into lenses. I assess everything in terms of its potential for a shot. I find myself going to places simply because I think there are some opportunities for good photos. I don’t walk out the door without my camera. Obviously this is worse because we are travelling for so long so it has had time to become a habit. Chris is starting to add on photography time to our ETA’s because he knows if we are walking somewhere I will stop several times.

Oh well, it could be worse. I could be addicted to something really dangerous- like shopping.