The Wonky Camera’s next Adventure.

I’ll shortly be heading off on a new adventure! To the top of the African continent-Morocco.

I have been following this amazing lady Sally from Souk & Co on Instagram and although I asked for one of their itineraries a few years back, I just haven’t been able to make it on one of the tours. 

Was I trying to organise too many people?  Can I fill a a whole private tour?  Can I go over Easter when it’s family time?  All these processes go through my mind. We all lead such busy lives, and to organise a group trip often takes 12 months in the planning. 

 Well after a few years of trying to get a group together, without much success I’m booked to go with a buddy and I’m bursting with excitement. 

My travel buddy is my cousin’s wife – Lisa. The 2 of us have previously travelled together to New York, Bali and Canada. Lisa and I are joining a group of 8 women and Sally the owner of Souk and Co and heading off for 12 amazing days. We will be travelling vast distances through this “gateway to Africa” on a small tour bus. 

We met up with Sally and another gal who’s on our tour – Sim, last Friday as like us they also live on the Northern Beaches of Sydney in Australia.

There are the 3 of us from Sydney, a mum and a daughter from Melbourne, another mum and daughter from Adelaide and a lady from San Francisco, making up the 8 plus Sally.  We will all arrive at varying stages into Casablanca and then travel to the city of Rabat where our tour will officially kick off with dinner under the stars.

Morocco is a big country and our travels will take us through the desert, across mountain ranges and to ancient villages. we will wander through medieval cities with cobble stoned Medinas, all whilst staying in 5 star Riads.

Medinas are traditional walled towns, filled with local people going about their everyday life in laneways, that are a maze of shops and tea houses and alleys that I can only assume I will get lost in with my trusty camera over my shoulder- I can’t wait! A Riad traditionally is the word for garden, however when you look at some of these beautiful homes that are now small boutique hotels, I think todays version is more a ‘stunning garden courtyard’. 

With just under 3 weeks till we leave, I have started my pre packing prep. I have chosen about 8 outfits and will cull this down to 4 or 5 including the outfit I will wear on the plane, allowing for comfort on long plane journeys and bus trips, that may get a little grubby and also having the ability to feel like I haven’t worn the same clothes for 2 weeks! 

This trip requires covered shoulders and longer dresses below the knee. Not only for the larger cities but also for the quaint ancient villages we may be travelling through, respecting their traditional ways. Morocco is a Muslim country.  It has also been suggested that for our camel rides we wear loose pants! Have you ever got on or off a camel? It can be quite daunting and also funny!

One hump or 2 …. From a trip to India in 2016

We need to also pack for cool desert nights and mild days, so the good old duckdown puffer jacket I bought in South Africa a few years back that folds into it’s own small pocket will no doubt be on high rotation should the weather be cool. 

I try to only pack into a carry on suitcase for a few reasons. Firstly this leaves my large suitcase free to fill up with treasures and Morocco looks like an Aladdins cave. So when we are on tour and on and off the bus, I can try to leave my large treasure case on the bus and just use and the smaller carry on case with my clothes and use my back pack for my camera equipment etc . The smaller case on the return flight allows for excess baggage….  On the way over it fits inside my main large suitcase.

Back to packing clothes. I hang these on a door and keep looking at what goes best with what and style them up with other items until I have the perfect travel wardrobe. 

I leave the clothes hanging on a door so I can rotate or mix and match

I’m only taking 2 pairs of shoes -my Frankie 4 slides and white sneakers.  The Frankie 4 brand are a support arch shoe or slide that are just heaven to walk in all day, plus shoes take up so much room and what if I buy 3 pairs ? Well then I will be glad I only left with 2!

A few trips back I discovered these great plastic zipper bags from Louq. They hold anything and everything and as they are clear plastic, you can’t loose things for too long as you can see in the bags. I have a trusty bull dog clip that keeps them altogether, in my suitcase and I also have a couple in my carry on backpack to hold lithium batteries ear plugs etc. 

My friend Lindy also introduced me into packing cubes last year and aren’t they a travellers best friend.  For a non expensive item, they sure help in the packing dept, keeping t shirts and socks etc. under control! And don’t forget a Sards wonder soap- stick great for those annoying marks on clothes…. you will be the tour favourite sharing to get stains out of clothes!

I have also discovered the Travellers note book. A great little leather compartment, that can hold your notes, diary and they even have a scrapbook/water colour paper book that slides in too for those arty moments. This also reduces what I travel with, and along with ditching the Mac book pro for the iPad that has a small keyboard attached and look at that I’m ready to blog paint or just make notes!

Travellers Note Book top left
Down sizing my computer and then the iPad can also be a book!

I’ve mentioned before I only take 1 international wall plug with me and use a power pack with 4 pins to cover off phone and camera chargers etc. This way if you are sharing a room or an apartment, you aren’t hogging all the wall sockets.  A friend of mine Deanna loved this tip, so I thought I’d share again. And don’t forget a blu tac blob! Just in case the wall fitting is loose it will help keep the plug in place. 

Power Ready !

Also make sure the actual power point where you are staying is working before you got to bed, otherwise you will wake up in the morning and have not charged your appliances. Nothing ruins a great day travelling than not having fully charged devices.

Packing a small back up portable power pack that can charge your phone is also handy. You may not need it, however if you only use your phone to take photos this can drain your battery quickly and if you are on a bus it is not always possible to charge your phone! Don’t leave home without one. I always travel with an additional battery for my camera for this reason. Imagine getting somewhere and your battery has no charge.

Lastly, I always travel with some trusty packaging material-bubble wrap. I line my big suitcase with this when I leave as you just never know when you might find a special ceramic dish that needs protecting on those bumpy roads and flights. And if you don’t use it, then leave it at the hotel for the next needy traveller. 

Got any questions or other suggestions to streamline small group travel ?  Drop me a line and let me know, I’m off to buy a backup battery for my new smaller mirrorless travel camera!

Mrs Wong xx

Roar and Snore at Taronga Zoo…..

My son Jared invited me to join him for an overnight trip to the zoo.

Roar and Snore -Taronga Zoo in Sydney Australia, is a wonderful experience and I was truly blessed to spend it with Jared- my wildlife animal lover.

At 6:00pm we arrived and were met by our guides at the front gates, who would be spending the evening with us including a couple of young teenagers who volunteer. They all have a passion not just for the animals, also conservation and shared their knowledge with us that made us all think about the world we live in. The zoo actually closes around 4:00pm.

Our bags were tagged and taken to our “camp” whilst our group headed off on foot with the guides, armed with wet weather gear at the ready, as it was a drizzly looking evening.

We stopped to see animals that are right under our noses, however we have never seen them, possibly due to them being more active at night, or perhaps we are always rushing by to get to another exhibit.

The zoo is always under going changes, as they often obtain grants to upgrade parts of the zoo from corporate companies and also government funding, which needs to be used in it’s calendar year, or it must be returned. At present, the new Savannah is being created through the middle of the zoo and from all we could see, it will be amazing.

Butt shot-The cute tree kangaroo

Our first tour lasts for over an hour before we arrive into camp and are shown our tents. The tents are housed close together and there is a main tent where we are offered yummy drinks and nibbles. Our guides brought a few native Australian animals for us to see and touch. In the camp there is a basic amenities building that has showers/toilets and all the supplies.

15- The Chimpanzee tent! kind of appropriate

After our canapés and drinks, we left camp with the plan being to bring whatever we needed as we were having a small tour on our way to our dinner and then we would be heading off on a night tour after our meal.

Our group wonder past the elephants, the sun bear, the tortoise and the giraffes, stopping for small chats along the way and head to the View Restaurant, where a beautiful buffet awaits. We can sit wherever we like, and there are more drinks offered along with our buffet. Dessert will be after the late night tour back at the main tent.

With full bellies, we again stroll though the zoo in darkness, hearing lots of animals calling out. Our guides take us to see the Australian fur seals as there is a new pup there called Torre. The guides have ultra red lights to shine on the animals so as not to disturb or irritate the animals, so everything is glowing red. As we approach the exhibit, Tess one of the guides is super excited as the mum and new pup are right up against the viewing window and the pup is actually feeding from it’s mum! Super cute and a privilege to see.

Looks at those eyes

The Meerkats are zoozing and not making an appearance, so we head off to The Sumatra exhibit to see the 3 new tiger cubs. With mum front and centre at the viewing window licking her paws, it was like she was waiting for us. As we all stand oo-ing and ahh-ing, she stands and walks over to a small open shed, and nudges her babies as if to say come on up you get we have visitors- how wonderful seeing her razz the kids awake then trots them all off to bed.

We are all super excited to have seen the new editions to Taronga Zoo. On our return to the camp, although we try to find the Sun bear on our way to the tents. Never mind we have had a blast tonight and seeing the new babies at the zoo has been a highlight!

A night cap, of tea and coffee with yummy chocolate brownies and it’s light out….. Well not quite but as it’s 10:30pm and we will all be up early or may not sleep with the animals making noises, our guides leave us and let us know they will be back at 6:00am with more tea, coffee and protein balls for our morning adventure! Oh and if you hear an alarm don’t panic, it just means there is an animal on the loose ! So here is the emergency contact in case there is a drama- good night.

I slept like a baby until around 5:15am. I woke to the Mumma tiger calling out -it almost sounded like NOOOOOOOO as she called her cubs. A quick wash and we pack out bags, brush our teeth and it’s off to see behind scenes of the zoo again.

There are mostly couples and a few families on our tour. Before we head off we all grab a quick pic of the beautiful Sydney Harbour and City, as Taronga Zoo has one of the best views of our wonderful city. We watch the Manly Ferry still with lights on cross the harbour on it’s way to Circular quay, and the song by the 1980’s band Australian Crawl sticks in my head……. Reckless- ” As the Manly Ferry- cuts its way to Circular Quay….-Hear the Captain blow his whistle- so long she’s been away”

Sydney at 6.00am

Jared helped “feed” the giraffes on our way to breakfast and we gave a quick hello to some of the asian elephants and also the Meerkats standing as a guard!

Lettuce for Breakfast…. mind the slober

Breakfast is another amazing buffet with plenty of food. The zoo is well and truly awake and preparing for the days activities. We have 2 more experiences before the zoo opens.

Tess our guide take us all to the Heritage listed Indian Elephant House that I remember having an elephant ride from when i was young. Here we got to see inside the building the beautiful old architecture and photos and also meet a cute possum called Atticus, who was 6 years old and has a twin sister- just like me!

Our last experience is down at Seal Cove, were we see the breeding Male and boy is he large. We all sit as he “parades along in front of us with his carer, happily having all his checks done on command like teeth, ears and skin checks, before he dives into the exhibit ready for his day.

The tour ends here and you have the opportunity to spend the day at the zoo. It’ such a great experience and as I have been lucky enough to do both Dubbo Zoo and Sydney – I’d choose to do Sydney again, as it’s more personal and up close ….

Happy reading! Mrs Wong

Vietnam with Wide Eyed Tours-

If you have thought about a trip to Vietnam, then check out this tour company. They specialise in small groups, have contacts on the ground in Australia and Asia and were recommended by our travel agent – Sally at Time Fly’s Travel Seaforth in NSW. http://www.timeflystravel.com.au

Sally sent us a flyer from Wide Eyed Tours http://www.wideeyedtours.com  about an  “Anthony Bourdain inspired food tour” to Vietnam, starting up in Hanoi and working our way down the country to Saigon.  I love a small tour company that can tailor make your travel itinerary, so I rounded up a group of 5 ladies and off we went. Prior to our departure, we were asked if there was anything we wanted to see as it could be added to the tour.

I knew all the ladies, however some of them had never met so as we got to the airport and I made introductions, we drew a straw to see who was sitting with who on our Vietnam airlines flight to Hanoi and we were off.  The flight arrived into Hanoi on time late at night and we were met by a local guide, that had been arranged by Wide Eyed Tours who got us to our hotel and organised to collect us the next morning for our city tour.

All the hotels throughout the trip were fabulous. All within walking distance of old towns, museums and markets!  We generally had a triple share and a twin share room side by side all organised as part of our tour.  We actually got to meet Ha from their Hanoi office on our first day in Hanoi, she met us at a traditional coffee house dating back to 1936! The photo above is outside of the cafe.  It was lovely to meet this lady who clearly loves her job, phoned us every day to check in that all was going to plan or to let us know if our schedule times would change with flights etc.

We loved the fact that at each of our arrivals into a new city we were met by a new local guide who spent time with us, helped us get settled into our hotel, take us to photo opportunities we had seen on social media or helped us find an art store when wanted to find a sketch book.

Our guide in Hanoi took us to see the amazing artwork at Phung Hung Street on the archways of the Long Bien Bridge and then to Train Street, a real live working train track that goes straight through the street, where families live and work, chickens roam, laundry is drying and shops sell trinkets.  The train travels through the street twice a day and the locals move their motorbikes, washing up and head inside. The train doesn’t slow down so take care if you go to watch.

This was only day 1 of our trip!

As our tour progressed from a few days in Hanoi down to Halong Bay and onto the old capital of Hue, we were in awe of not just the food- what a culture explosion in the scenery, the history and the beautiful people we met along the way. All happy and smiling and making sure we were happy. On to Hoi an and the very busy Saigon it just got better and better. 

By having a local guide spend some time with us, we got to get our bearings in each new town, see the local sights before we had free time to wander ourselves. They know the back streets for the best markets, the best way to walk and bike ride through villages, the best bridge to cross on a motorbike- just wonderful.

The food side of things was fabulous from Bun Cha in Hanoi where Barrack Obama and Anthony Bourdain sat together over this amazing dish and a beer. The dish with roast pork and BBQ pork arrives in a steaming bowl of broth that is served with vermicelli rice noodles, fresh greens like mint and coriander, chilli, garlic, it’s the best!  And the street food all the way down the country, was simply amazing, we really had a great food experience. Anthony Bourdain passed away whilst we were touring Vietnam a tragic loss to the food world and I’m so grateful for his inspiration.

Little did we know that each region has its own style and therefore a twist on how they make the classic Vietnamese rolls, fair to say we made a LOT of rolls.

And if in Saigon- this is a must do experience Dining at Noir– again planned and recommended by our new friends at Wide Eyed Tours, we had no idea about what dining in complete darkness in Saigon was or the philosophy behind it.

All in all our 13 day trip through Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An and Saigon, was the perfect experience as not only a taster of their food but a taster of their culture.

There is so much to see and do and I for 1 can’t wait to go back!  Special thanks to Ha and our local guides.

Mrs Wong

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Saigon- Pheasting on Pho 🍲 🥢

This is the last instalment from our Vietnam trip and it’s taken me a while to get my head around what was an interesting last few days including the very sad death of food traveller and life journeys -Anthony Bourdain. Our food tour through Vietnam was inspired by him and we are all just so shocked as is the whole world.

We flew from Hoi An to Ho Chi Min City- or Saigon as the locals still call it on a flight that lasts just under 1 hour.

As their summer humidity and storms season has started a little early it was a little turbulent. The day is extremely hot at 11.00am a balmy 35 degrees and humidity is out of control.

The best thing about Saigon ?

The phood! Pun intended – Pho is the bomb here, the local signature dish to this city. Our local guide takes us to a cafe that serves their version of the famous pho. It’s a style of soup noodles with your choice of meat.

At Cafe Pho 2000, we had a choice of chicken or beef…. as we have been having so much pork and seafood it was a nice change! The cafe has awesome food, lovely artwork and aircon. To be honest it’s the air con we all need oh and a local beer.  I love the way the meal comes fairly plain and you get to add fresh green asian herbs, the right amount of spice or fish sauce you like and the crunchiest bean sprouts ever.

Next up it’s our city tour, and what a huge city it is.

With our local guide from Wide eyed Tours, our group heads off to view the un-used Reunification Palace that is now known as the Independence Palace…… Time warp of the 60’s and the secret bunkers from the war. It’s like they just walked out and never returned…. The grounds are lovely with great views.

It was first built for the French governor, and when the war time era started – 1962 it was badly damaged and re built. When it last built, there was a bomb shelter built underneath However the then Vietnamese president was  murdered by his own troops, which allegedly created bad Feng shui so it was never really used after being re built- just left for general public use.

Below in the bunkers, it’s a bit M.A.S.H-4077 meets Get Smart ! we were waiting for 99 to just appear! The bunker rooms had big doors and rooms filled with maps and telecommunications rooms etc. Of course all abandoned and left as they were.

Next it’s Notre Dame Cathedral and unfortunately we aren’t allowed inside due to repairs it’s like any other ancient beautiful church just currently boarded up, and right behind  the church is the famous old post office. This area is called the Governments Quarter. Beautiful open park lands. There are lovely maps and Art Deco flooring and t now houses kitschy shops and the old phone booths are used for ATM’s.

Next up it’s the VERY one sided War Remnants Museum of Chinese and American War crimes.  It’s wicked traffic and so moving. It is so one side that guides are not allowed to enter with their groups.

No Mention of the VC here – it’s an eye opener and creates lots of  discussions between us and also other groups all trying to get our heads around. It’s now 10 degrees thanks to a wonderful cool breeze  and with a change in the weather we head back to our hotel, a little let down with our city tour and the bizzar war remnants, beautiful parks and a city that is crazy busy and views as far as the ye can see of building that seem to roll on forever.

Our Hotel – one of the Silverland Hotels is fabulous smack bang in the middle of the city…….. actually the city is so frigging huge it’s hard to know where we are but in all honesty the tall skyscrapers from the roof of our hotel just go on and on and on…..

The hotel has an amazing restaurant that offers fabulous food including high tea every afternoon – Marvellous darling all with  a sing song piano performance. The hotels are quite narrow in width with amazingly set out space, including a pool area that consist of 4 small levels so you don’t feel like you are totally on top of each other.

We enjoy a couple of quick cocktails on the rooftop as the sunsets before our special dinner tonight at an amazing restaurant called Noir-Dining in the Dark.

A totally unique experience! We arrive and are seated in a lounge area and are given a yummy welcome drink with no idea what is in it. We also choose our drinks of choice for our evening. We are then introduced to our waiter who is a deaf mute. She is absolutely gorgeous and as we know limited sign language ( I really must go home and re learn the basics again), she is quite dramatic in her miming and charades of  the menu etc.

The first thing she has us do as part of helping getting our sensory of ‘no sight’ ready, is to play with a puzzle set whilst we all wear a blind fold, as technically this is how we will eat dinner. Completely in the dark.

We had approx 10 small shapes to places and then once completed she tapped you on the shoulder and gave you the thumbs up . It was not that easy as you have to get your head to help recognise the shapes as your eyes can’t.

I don’t want to spoil the rest for anyone wishing to attend this, so I’m won’t completely tell you what happens however you eat small bowls of absolutely stunning food, that are set out on a board, just like the puzzles we had done. You are completely in the dark and your senses of smell and hearing are heightened. there was probably 50 other people dining at the same time and to be really honest when they said we re here for an hour and a half we thought that isn’t long, but the experience is actually fabulous amazing and exhausting.

At the end of the meal we are escorted back to the lounge and we meet the owner of the restaurant who goes through the actual food we ate. I’d put the food up there with 5 star dining.

We head back tot the hotel for a night cap and then its lights out a tomorrow is our trip to the Mekong.

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We’re going on a Bike ride- in Hoi An

Hoi an ~the ancient town painted in a golden yellow colour that sparkles in the sun and shines in the rain.

Our 3 hour car trip down the coast from Hue was diverted due to bad weather so we miss the Hi Van Pass and Marble Mountain as it is raining so hard and unsafe. We have seriously seen enough pagodas and temples and walked enough steps so there is not a lot of disappointment in our bus!

Our girl gang arrived to flooded streets and we got diverted around Hoi an town. We had no idea where we were ! It was warm and pouring from the sky above as we sat up high in our 🚌 bus. Toot toot!

 

A quick bag drop off at the hotel and it’s off on a walking city tour with our local guide Hi….. try saying hi- Hi ! We had to remember to say hello Hi 🤭

We walked from our little Island called the Peninsula across the foot bridge that the locals call the love bridge. This links to the mainland and old town via canals. As they are trying to preserve the old town tourists pay a small fee to visit the historic sites, and you can use the ticket for the whole time you visit.

love the cloud reflection

Hoi an used to be a busy port so lots of boats floating up and down the river and there are lots of different architecture styles throughout the town here from French colonial buildings, Chinese shop/houses and amazing temples!

Luckily it’s just a light sprinkle of rain on our wander through town seeing the Japanese bridge, old police station another temple, old Chinese homes.

Hi- our guide says goodbye to us till tomorrow and we are off to the tailors- Shirts, dresses, shoes, boots, bags you name it we are supporting the local economy…. I can feel a new suitcase purchase coming on.

It’s stinking hot and after a few hours of planning/shopping etc, we end up back near our hotel and at our new local favourite Tom’s Spa….5 girls needing an hour long foot massage! So funny all lined up with a fish bowl window.

Yawning our way across the road to our hotel, and early to bed it is still raining and we are shattered. Parts of our hotel paths are flooded and we hope our wish/prayer at the Japanese Bridge temple comes true (no rain) for the end of the week when we go on our bike ride as Lindy has already had a thong blow out!

The next day is a free day and the morning brings more rain and more tourists- funny being in South East Asia there are loads of Australians who the locals adore. At Danang a hotel area 30 minutes away on the beach the Korean, Japanese and Chinese like to stay at high end hotels at the beach and flock in by the bus load morning, noon and night!

It’s a crowded city and add to this the personal space issue of our Asian friends ….. not so squeezy!

Lee, Mimi and I get up early morning and go to photograph the old town as it starts to wake up….. we are all so happy to get up and do this without people with selfie sticks and 5 different outfits getting changed for photo shoots in the streets! Ahhhh….

This picture below is a wall I was trying to photograph and along comes a local lady who sees us taking pics and just sits right where I’m trying to take pic! Well we just embraced it much to her surprise … I think she thought we would move on!

The next day is dry and fine and our travel gang sigh in relief as we have a 25 kilometre push bike tour through old town Hoi an, along the river, through villages, across a highway to a tourist attraction the basket boats. A fishing net demo, a crab catching demo and a cruise through the water coconut plants-

These old traditional boats were used for fishing and then when the French came along the Vietnamese said they were for fighting games as the French were scared the locals would take all the fish!

Our little round weaved boat takes us on a tour through the water coconut palms that are used for roofing of garden beds or pool gazebos etc. They show us how to catch the little crabs that live in the sandy cays around the coconut palms, its a peaceful 45 minute experience that is filled with laughs, photos and a spin by our boat 👨‍✈️ captain!

Back to the dock of the bay and on our bikes again after our bum break! Ouch the seats are not so comfy so the next 10 kms has a few groans happening about butt pains whinging about our tail bones and aching butt cheeks – amazing really considering we all have so much padding !!!

Seriously riding through the rice fields on one side, seeing the farmers herding the ducks and the prawn farms on the side of our trek through squishy mud, grassy paths out to a community garden and we are chanting We’re going on a Bear Hunt” wait wrong song. ‘We’re going on a bike ride”

I have stopped to take a photo and I turn around and the 4 girls in front of me have somehow “bogged” their bikes in the mud!!! Hahaaaaa I take the high road and nearly fall off laughing so hard as they then try to ride a bike and flick the mud of their slippers thats what the Vietnamese call our thongs !!!!

Singing “Riding along on our push bikes honey when I noticed”………wait where is Keryn?

She took the corner too wide and has fallen off her bike into the lemon grass……. she is lying on the garden with the bike on top of her and a bit wedged and we are all wishing we had depend on as we try not to pee ourselves laughing!

A local man- (not us) stops to help her……. we are laughing so hard. Keryn who is a bit dirty and dusty says between laughs ‘at least I smell good’ !

Even our guide is 😂 laughing and we all have to try and be serious for our gardening demo, Kez is already dirty from the mud and now the fall so she becomes our demo gal for creating and planting a new garden bed for us!

Then it’s time to water the garden. Which Lindy and I volunteer for as it’s basically weight lifting 🏋️‍♀️ buckets of water to walk between the veggie patches and tip the buckets as you go…… see the pics below, you get the picture!

Our guide says the younger generation of teenagers here don’t want to study to be a doctor or take over the family farm, because they can earn more money doing these tourist things! He said the older generation are concerned with what will happen in the future….. we can also see all this new infrastructure, highways and hotels, that as tourists we help pay for and the locals are grateful, however it’s becoming so touristy and all the new hotels are huge and there won’t be any beach to visit unless you stay at a resort!

Any way after the bucket watering, it’s off to cook part of our own lunch with Danny, a ‘famous’ Vietnamese chef who spruiks his own cook book and then tries to entertain us only are the main attraction. I throw my pancake over my shoulder ( accidentally ) as part of his show and Lindy’s some how lands her hot pancake on her chest and then the floor, followed by a frog landing on our cooking demo table….. Danny is very clever at food art.

Too many laughs!

As we have been cooking a lot I decide I’m on holidays and sick of cooking my own meal and ask the girls if they want to wag cooking school on our last full day in Hoi an …… of course we all agree so it’s off for a nice dinner and a few too many drinks before a day to lie around the pool, do some art works ahhhhh holidays you gotta love it.

Hoi An has been amazing great food, awesome group of gals willing to be silly in watermelon and pineapple shirts- a pretty little town and we have loved our 4 days here…… it’s off to the big smoke now … Saigon!

More from there later Mrs W xx. More pics below …

Bad mums become The Spicey girls and crash a wedding -Hue 🇻🇳 Vietnam

As part of our Wide eyed Tour, we get to meet local guides when we travel around this beautiful country.

Our guides and experts on the ground have been amazing. They organise for a driver to escort us to our hotel on arrival at the airport and then provide a local guide to help us see the local area and or take us on small day tours.

A quick 55 minute flight from Ha noi down to our next town- Hue pronounced Hway.

Hue was the national capital of Vietnam until around 1945 so it’s a busy and beautiful town with lots of shrines and palaces on the beautiful Perfume River with stone walls that line the water canals and home to the beautiful imperial Tu Duc Tomb and summer Palace with its own Royal theatre.

The river is so so clean, because they are close to the mountains of Laos and there are no factories around here polluting the river. In fact the boats get fined if they don’t pick up their rubbish. This river is wide with little dragon boats putting up and down and has locals of all ages cooling off in the river along the waters edge with tree lined parks and BBQ areas.

Our first night we roam around the streets and find that where we are staying is quite the tourist area and the roads are pedestrian only from 5.00pm until 11.00pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. We also find that 4 blondes of western appearance and 1 tall brunette and everyone wants to be our friend as they shove their crying babies at us to get a photo! Poor babies…….

We have had a full day today, so it’s lovely to find this green oasis The Geko Cafe/Pub to chill in with great music, a cool drink and awesome company…..\

Jared Watton you will rock the casbah in one of these

Our local guide Tam who likes to think he is Tom Cruise picks up our gang of ‘5 girls on tour’ for our day on the motorbikes. The 5 guys immediately want to know who is single ! Sorry fellas settle down we are all taken !

Helmets on….. mmm and although its illegal to not wear a helmet I am not sure we will be saved if anything goes wrong with the ones we are wearing, and zoom we are off. Along the river and over the bridge and off the beaten track. The first market we go to is for anyone including us tourists. We don’t buy anything, just sit back and hope we make it through the crowds…. it’s like being at the royal easter show bag pavilion!

Lee being cool It was crazy busy and super cool!

We are doing a more of a back roads motorbike day, through rice paddies, down lane ways that we wonder how we fit. I love being on the back of a bike, eating dust, smelling the real Vietnam (some not so good), the wind in our hair and smiles on our faces.

I love this Pic of “Cindy” and Tom Cruise

From here we visit local temples and ride along the river where they sit , spit, wee and then wash their clothes! It’s incredible going along these canals seeing the real Vietnam 🇻🇳

We have lunch at a Buddhist nunnery and enjoy the most amazing Vegan meal! Who knew veggies could be that amazing! Back on the bikes for the afternoon tour of a Pagoda Temple dating back to 1601 and the Tu Duc Tomb and a walk through the old royal house where the king had over 100 concubines…….. mmmm he was an interesting character !

Our tour is amazing lots of laughs, numb bums, so Tom the guide make sure we have lots of bum breaks! At one stop we wave as a wedding goes by…… next thing you know, yep we crashed the wedding photos and were invited to the wedding ! Seriously this trip is like one long Netflix session of movies! The Spicey girls, Bad Mums, 50 First Dates ( this is what we say to Keryn) as she has to keep repeating the itinerary as we are all on holiday mode and keep for getting and now we are then wedding Crashers!

So funny everyone wanting their photo with us mum, dad the creepy uncle that seems to be at every wedding, the professional photographer was snapping away. Just too funny

It’s stinking hot 34 degrees feels like 43 and as I realise how sunburnt my neck is…….. Everyone is a little shattered so we wind our tour up head back to the hotel for 2 hours to chill in the pool before we head back out on our Dragon boat trip up river where you will be shocked to know I even managed some shopping on the boat, before we arrive at our next Masterchef performance!

Bloody spring rolls again! Who knew they were different in every city……. same ingredients just a different style, its all such beautiful food though. Pancakes with prawns and pork and quail eggs, stunning spinach and garlic, grilled eggplant in a oyster sauce …… cocktails for some G & T’s for others.

Taxi!

Here are some pics from the Pagoda and the army base. An amazing jam packed 36 hours in Hue- we are off the the Heritage old town of Hoi Ann, so till next time

Mrs Wong x

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