Blog Archive for Mar 2014

A Day in the Life of Luang Prabang

These are gentle days in Luang Prabang.   It begins at 5:45am. I stir Liam awake and together we walk outside to the sound of drums from the temple across the street. By 6am the monks are leaving

The Last Days of Laos

This is our last morning in Laos. Tonight at 8pm we’ll board a plane in darkness and take it on faith that the other darkness down below is the border with Vietnam and then Hanoi itself. But it coul

Entering Hanoi

It begins where it always begins, at the passport control. Your first glimpse of a country is the gender of the person that inspects your visa. If it’s that rare sight of a woman, then this country

Home Visit

There are people throughout your life that you can count on. If you are fortunate, this all begins early with your parents and a deep sense that no matter what life throws at you in those beginning ye

Home Visit: Part 2

We managed to secure a nice hotel room for our stay in Chiang Mai. Andrea and Nell had a stunning view of a large, golden Wat (temple) off their balcony. We would often meet there for the sunset and r

Hanoi, Hanoi

There are the sights of Hanoi that you might expect to see. Over there is the old woman in a straw hat carrying baskets of fruit hanging from opposite ends of a long bamboo pole balancing across her s

Our Totalitarian Day

  Look away, you fans of Vietnam. Look away, my friendly young man from the coffee shop. Something is happening to us and to other travelers that we need to report, and it’s this: We’re getti

Mane Event

We humans spend plenty of time, energy, money and thought on our appearance. A bazillion companies are banking on our vanity. Isolate just hair and think of all the shampoos, conditioners, styling pro

Cat Ba Island

We took a roundabout way of getting here, to Cat Ba island off the northeastern coast of Vietnam. Everybody comes to this region. It’s where all those islands jut out of the emerald sea, thousands o


Last I left off two days ago, we were leaving the northern island of Cat Ba and travelling throughout the day and night to the city of Hue in central Vietnam. We left in the gray mist that had become

Tell it like you are

Simple: Bus leaves at 1:30, buy the ticket from the hotel the day before, take a taxi to the station at 1:15. Board a thing called a bus. Sit in a thing called a seat. Press an accelerator and watch t

Vietnam in the blood

Is it too soon to forget?   Is it too soon to joke?   Is it too soon to be drinking a cappuccino by day and licking a gelato by night in the town of Hoi An, strolling along a river that ran

Hoi An

I heard this would happen.   Come to Hoi An, stay for two days and then feel yourself ease into two more, and still two more, and eventually leave when you have no choice.   We’re now on d

Nha Trang

Here’s how we travel: We stay in a place if we like it, leave if we don’t. We have no long-range itinerary other than knowing when our visa expires and the country kicks us out. We plan a day at a


We’re staying in a guest house in Dalat, a hill town at 5000 feet that attracts people from Saigon 7 hours to the south who need to escape the heat. Here we sleep beneath down comforters, we wear lo


Multiple choice test.   Where in Vietnam am I right now? On a rice paddy, urging a pair of water buffalo onward as we plow our field; On my haunches in a circle of village women, all of us weavin

All Wars End In Funerals

*for mature audiences   When I was a literature major in college, I was assigned several books about the Vietnam War. Do you capitalize the W? Do you use italics? Underlines? How should war be pu

A final word on VIetnam

Speed Blog: Last Hours in Vietnam   Dolora: I am weary of scooters. Scooters parked on sidewalks so you cannot walk on said sidewalks; scooters coming at you in crosswalks; scooters darting out o

Singapore (part 1)

It’s early morning on a Monday in Singapore. I’m sitting on the floor of our bedroom while Dolora and Liam are asleep in the cocoon of their green sheets, bought from REI last June. We’re stayin

Singapore (part 2)

We—Liam, Dolora, and I—are Americans. We are louder than the rest, take up more room than the rest, have two cars and two iPhones and a large refrigerator that is usually so packed that the light