Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Trick or Treat

My lady-head planter on my front porch is planted with Creeping Jenny and is a yummy lime green all summer. It turned this lovely bronzy color as the weather got cooler so I added some faux fall flowers for a hat and couldn't resist the mask.

If you are anxiously awaiting more of my travelogue, please come back. Too busy yesterday and today.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 29, 2017


I should preface this by saying that we loved the Vietnamese and Cambodian food. Spring rolls, salads, pho, bun, lemongrass, sticky rice, fish, stir-fried veggies, etc. It was all delicious and not too spicy. This trip was a Viking River Cruise. We spent seven days on a lovely small boat on the Mekong River with 53 passengers, where we got all our meals, and the remaining 13 days at five star hotels with great restaurants. Although we ate native foods whenever they were offered, we did not eat street food and were advised not to. If we ate at a restaurant outside of the hotel, they made sure that it had high hygienic practices.

These next pictures were taken in an outdoor food market. Very crowded and very hot. And humid. This was a different culture and they eat some foods which would make us squeamish. Nothing is wasted.

All pictures are clickable for a bigger view.

Filleting fish that were just swimming in tubs nearby.

Live frogs with their hind legs tied together to keep them from escaping. There were also live skinned frogs . They can live for 10 hours after being skinned. Ouch!

Fresh produce looked wonderful.

Nor sure what kind of tuber this was. We saw a lot of fruits and vegetables unfamiliar to us.

Sticky rice treats wrapped up in leaves.

Live squid

Yes they do eat rats. They are river rats that live in the rice fields are so are considered clean. They are also referred to as "river bunnies". These were never on our menus.

Raw meat with no refrigeration or cover. Remember that I said how HOT it was.

Notice the duck heads

Live fish in shallow bowls.

More meat and organ meat to the right.

Many varieties of rice.

All kinds of eggs, including ones with fully formed embryos inside, considered a delicacy.

One night on the ship was Cambodian Night and all the food was Cambodian, with woven reed mats on the table and servers dressed in Cambodian clothing. Before the first course they brought around platters of deep fried insects, a common treat for Cambodians and Vietnamese. Most people said Yuck and declined, but the man across from me tried them all, Here he is eating a tarantula, which he said was the best.

Also offered were crickets, tiny frogs, water bugs, and baby birds, with the head and feet attached. I did eat a baby frog. It just tasted crunchy and a little spicy. The rest of the meal was delicious.

Dinner, anyone?  Come back tomorrow for more of my travelogue.

Saturday, October 28, 2017


We visited the infamous tunnel system that the Vietcong had built in the jungles of South Vietnam. They were quite extensive, with living areas, first aid room, weapon rooms, etc. They even made sandals down there, made out of old tires, and uniforms. There were also booby traps, which the guide demonstrated. I didn't get a picture, but if one fell into it he would be impaled on sharpened bamboo spikes. 
The guides talked freely about the war with no animosity. One would think that they would hate the Americans after all the damage that was done, but they do not. However, they are not fond of the French.

Here the guide shows us the hidden entries and how they were disguised. We were able to go into sections of the tunnels, but most (including me) opted not to. 

You would never suspect that they were there.

The next pictures show some homes along the river. Very primitive living conditions. These people usually make their living by fishing. The last photo in this group shows a fish farm. You might not want to eat farmed fish again.

We stopped at a complex where they made rice wine, including this variety that had snake in it. Called of course, snake wine. We each got a taste and it was potent. Supposed to cure all ailments.

Here's Mickie, the animal lover in our group, with her new best friend. I did pet it but never did drape it over my neck. It was very heavy, about 50 pounds.

I had been concerned about the weather since I hate hot and humid. And it was. HOT and HUMID! I very seldom perspire, but did I ever!

More to come, so please come back. Be sure to click on the pictures twice for bigger views

Friday, October 27, 2017

Southeast Asia

I returned last Friday from my wonderful trip to Bangkok, Cambodia and Vietnam. It was an amazing trip and a peek into such a different culture. I'm finding it difficult to plow through my photos, correct the lighting, delete duplicates and decide which one to show. Enough procrastinating! Today I will only show you some from Bangkok. Our three day stay was an extension to our tour, which started in Saigon. We thought that if we were going to fly that far, we might as well see as much as we could of that part of the world.

The next five pictures are from Wat Arun in Bangkok. A "wat" is a temple and we saw lots and lots of them. You know how you can get cathedral and museum overload in Europe, well here it is temples.
This was a huge complex, only showing a small part here. We were able to climb quite a way up and go inside.

A great deal of this temple was covered with mosaics of stone and ceramic.

So now you know not to get a Buddha tattoo.

I remember seeing this huge gold Buddha about 40 years ago with my late husband. It impressed me then and still did now. It has an interesting story, much abbreviated here. It was probably made in the 13th century and moved more than once. At one time it was plastered over and inlaid with stones, perhaps to discourage thievery. In the last move, in the 20th century, it was dropped and bits of plaster came off to reveal the gold beneath. It is solid gold, some 18k and some 14k and weighs over 5 tons.

Yes, there are McDonalds everywhere, but I've never seen one in this traditional greeting pose. I couldn't resist taking a picture. This was outside a modern shopping mall not far from our hotel.

We went to visit a flower market, which mostly sold orchids and marigolds, primarily used for gifts to be left at the temple. Orchids just thrive in that hot humid climate

Typical offering to leave at the temple.

Alright, that's enough for today. I don't want your eyes to glaze over. Come back tomorrow or the next day and I'll show some more.

Thursday, October 26, 2017


We went to the New York Botanical Gardens this past Sunday to see the Chihuly exhibit. I thought we would have to miss it because we were just returning from our big Southeast Asia trip on Friday (more about that in another post) and the exhibit is closing very soon. A couple of friends were planning to go and I was feeling pretty good (no jet-lag, more about that later, too). It was a beautiful day, just perfect for walking the grounds and oohing and ahhing over the spectacular glass sculptures. 

I've been to several Chihuly exhibits and I never tire of them. Enough said, just feast your eyes.

Remember to zoom in for a bigger and better view.