Monday, June 11, 2012

What In The World For?

I hear that quite often when I say I'm going to VN.  Deb asked how this came about, so I thought I'd tell the very non-linear story.

Blame it on jet lag.  I was in Dublin, Ireland a few Christmases ago and couldn't sleep.  Fortunately, despite having radio stations that only played music from the 1980's, the telly did get the BBC.  There was an episode (or marathon - it must have been several episodes) of a what I now know to be a very popular show, TOPGEER(sic).  The premise of the show is normally to show the latest and greatest in cars, etc.  The three hosts of the show were given $1000 ( I can't remember if it was UDS or pounds) to buy a motorcycle and ride the almost 1100 miles from north to south.  The scenery was spectacular and the history was interesting.  Obviously, there were some "challenges" along the way, hence the pirate ship on the back of the pink bike.

I am young enough and lucky enough to have not have been directly affected by "the American war".  It didn't even come into our home on the news every night because, frankly, we didn't watch the news or even get a newspaper - I lived a pretty isolated life in that regard, as Mom had virtually no interest in the world outside our immediate surroundings.  So I don't have any particular feeling about the place, other than some curiosity.  And the British show piqued my interest.  VN went to the top of the list of places I wanted to visit.  Until I saw a travel show about Istanbul.  Then it became "should I go here or there?  Which one first?"

And because it was a "we" at the time, VN came out the winner.  We began to make plans to go - even asking another couple - the man having served a hitch there - to join us.  And then we weren't a "we" anymore and since I was still going to make a big trip in honor of my 50th, I chose Istanbul, as it felt more doable solo.  And then Pebbles opted to join me.  But the southeast Asia trip continued to percolate.

So then came the whole humanitarian trip option - and I was onboard - until I found out the details - and there just wasn't enough time for me to see anything outside of the villages we would be working in - so that was out.  When I was relating all of the new information, along with my decision not to go, to Pebbles and Slater - it was Slater who was immediately like "I want to go.  Let's go.  We can do this."  I don't know his motivation to go, but I suspect it has to do with his desire to do some really hardcore backpacking travel through really remote parts of the world - India, China, Nepal, etc. which is interesting, as I don't believe he's been abroad - only out of the country to Mexico - oh, and Puerto Rico, but that's one of "ours".  After hearing how Pebbles fared in Istanbul, I suspect he wants to see how she will do on a trip like this, which will be a combination of adventure travel coupled with affordable luxury.  She says she doesn't think she will be as intimidated by the VN people as she was by the Turkish.  I think it will be an even bigger culture shock.  It will be interesting to see how she/they/we do.  I think she went into full blown "must protect Mom" mode while we were traveling (although I was perfectly fine and don't recall feeling really uncomfortable ever) and that played a part in her unease.  Although, of the three of us, she is by far the most experienced traveler.  Traveling with them might be the biggest adventure of them all!

Weekend was fraught with frustration - AC went out and was repaired late Saturday.  I managed to completely flatten the tires on Inez, while trying to air them up.  I think I may have an air pump that is failing, as I can't seem to get it to "latch" on - and air just seems to be leaking out from the side.  Of course, every time I try to attach the hose, I leaked out more air.  I ended up throwing the cover off of Cha-Cha and hauling her to Weatherford to ride the rails-to-trails by myself on Sunday morning.  Now I have to load up Inez and the bike pump and take them into the lbs (and face my absolute humiliation at having done this) to get this taken care of.  Sigh.

Headed out for spin class this morning with Mr. Beautiful, followed by a busy week at work.

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Adventure is out there!


Take good care


  1. First, don't be embarrassed by equipment failure on the bike pump - that wasn't your fault! I think we women naturally blame ourselves when mechanical things fail us...but it's THEM, not us, that is the problem.

    Second, thanks for telling the story of how the VN trip came to IS going to be interesting, and maybe having Slater along will help balance Pebbles. I still stand in awe at your sense of adventure and willingness to travel to these exotic lands!

  2. Thank you so much Roxie for taking the time to answer my question. :) I hope you and the 'kids' have a wonderful time! I cannot wait to see the pictures and stories you bring back!

    We bought a new pump that plugs into the truck to air up my tires and with both tires hubby made them worse rather than better. He could get the hose 'latched' on but had trouble getting the silly thing off so air would leak out. It took several tries and a lot of frustration to get it right and even then he is talking about putting a different end on the hose...he doesn't like the way it 'latches on'. Hugs! deb

  3. Not too many people that I know will ever venture there so, I, for one, am excited to see the photos and read the travelogue!

  4. Can't wait for vacay recap! You are very brave :)

  5. My stepmother went to VN a couple of years ago with a friend...and my sister's stepson just got back from VN last night (seriously). From all accounts it was a doable adventure. Godspeed!

    1. Doable? LOL

      I was hoping for awesome/amazing/life changing experience! ;-) But I'll settle for doable....

    2. I'd say for my stepmother (who is in her late 60s) is wasn't awesome/amazing/life changing (not that it was bad, but I think it was a challenge), but for my sister's stepson, it probably was.

  6. My daughter lived in HMC (Saigon) from 2008-2011. Loved visiting her. If you have a clothing item you love (or a photo of one) and would love to clone it, take it with you and have it made there.(ask the hotel concierge) food awesome. Mangosteens,yum. Go on a tour of the mekong river. Happy travels.

    1. Oh, wow, an expert to ask questions of!!!

      Mekong river tour is definitely on our list - do you have a specific tour/company that you would recommend? We would like a more rural experience, perhaps a homestay, biking from village to village, etc.

    2. I will check with the kid. She and her boyfriend pretty much babysat us and we just followed. Totally reversed roles. The heat is pretty unbelievable(but then I'm not from Texas)and the motorbike traffic is indescribably insane even in rural areas, so I don't know about biking but will ask.

    3. This is what she sent:

      for bike tours there is one in that does all sort of biking and rafting - we used them and really loved it:

      for the mekong river we used sinhbalo tours which was pretty good:

      the mekong delta stuff is pretty similar FYI . . .

  7. ****perched on the edge of her seat waiting****

  8. I agree with MizFit! LOL

    I LOVE to travel and am dieing to go aboard over either of the ponds!


We'll try this for a while.