Masterpiece Trip 2017, Mekong Delta, Saigon, Uncategorized, Vietnam

Totally Jinxed Myself (Mekong Delta -> Saigon Travel Day)

I woke up and still had a sore throat and cough. I decided to take some medicine that day and either I was naturally getting better, or it worked. Shew! We had both slept better. I decided I would wait and take a shower at the hotel, because I did not feel like wrestling again with the handheld shower. Spray to the face is not a fun way to wake up.

We only had time for breakfast and then said our goodbyes to the boat staff. They all had big smiles for us and it was a bit bittersweet. There was something really special about boating through the canals, waving to workers and locals. I will never forget the smiling, friendly people there. The “hellos” that first night just made the whole Mekong Delta part of the trip extra special, and is something I won’t ever forget. The “fuck you” took a little bit away from it, but ya know…teenagers. Jerks.

Continue reading “Totally Jinxed Myself (Mekong Delta -> Saigon Travel Day)”

Masterpiece Trip 2017, Mekong Delta, Uncategorized, Vietnam

I Am A Ding Dong (Mekong Delta Day One)

First, another apology. I really don’t know why it’s taken me so long to finish the blog for this trip. I think I just never wanted it to end! It was sad coming home and frankly the whole thing felt like a dream. A good one, but sort of surreal. I wonder if that’s how the people who travel for a year feel? Anyway, I am getting the occasional comment from various people (OK, mostly my mom) asking if I am going to finish this trip blog. I think I just needed to start planning a new trip before I could finish this one. Or something. Anyway, I apologize to those people (mom) who have stopped by and found I’d not updated. Here ya go!

I got up after what felt like maybe two hours of sleep. You can’t sleep late on a boat due to noise and movement. Also roosters. I was coughing a decent amount so decided to try a hot shower. There was a handheld showerhead and a regular overhead. When I pulled the button to try to get the overhead to work, it unfortunately triggered the handheld. I say unfortunately because the handheld was aimed directly at my face. Nice. It was like a clown’s flower times a gazillion. Sal thought it was reaaaal funny when I reenacted it later on.

Continue reading “I Am A Ding Dong (Mekong Delta Day One)”

Chiang Rai, Masterpiece Trip 2017, Thailand, Uncategorized

Hanging Out With The Second Best Guide In Chiang Rai (Chiang Rai Day One)

We got up early and went to breakfast, compliments of the hotel. There was a nice selection, but while there I discovered I had forgotten the key and locked us out of our room. Do’h. It wasn’t a problem for them at the hotel, and it was slightly embarrassing for me.

Our guide, Charlie, was someone I found on TripAdvisor. Shocking, I know. He came highly recommended. Before meeting him he was very good at promptly responding to questions and offering suggestions for our half-day tour. Charlie was a good guide. One thing that made him different was he asked us questions; no other guides had really done that up until that point. He seemed very interested in our lives, and that was a nice change and helped the interaction feel less one-sided. He picked us up in his car, which was perfectly fine, but certainly not fancy at all; it felt like getting picked up by a friend and not like a hired service, which I liked.

Our first stop was the White Temple. I saw a picture of this when planning our Thailand trip the last time we were in Thailand and really wanted to check it out. This time we made sure to include it in the itinerary. It’s just so different from any other temple you see anywhere. You can read more about the White Temple here

I also took a few videos:

The creepy front hell hands…

Right in front of the entrance to the temple

A panorama

The front of the temple with the hands from hell was creepy. Charlie made sure to point out the only finger that was definitely female – it had red nail polish and was giving the bird. Hahaha. Like other temples, when you go in you take off your shoes. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pics, which is really unfortunate because there were some unusual (to say the least) things you wouldn’t expect to see. Most temples have a story of Buddha, but this temples had more of a current events theme on one side with the twin towers burning, Elvis, a minion, an angry bird, George Bush, Osama Bin Laden, and some super heroes. A lot of strange stuff. The temple is still under construction, and the artist said it will be another 60 years before it’s done.

One thing I’ve noticed in Thailand in general is how they really believe in luck and do things to better their luck. There are a lot of people just going around selling lottery tickets, at the temples you can do the sticks to find out your fortune, you ring the gong three times for luck, etc. At the White Temple you could get a leaf for luck and write on it to dedicate it. I wrote one for our friend, and Sal took a video of it being hung with the others.


After the White Temple we went to an art studio. Every month there is a new show. I think Charlie said there were 32 artists in Chiang Rai. This month was a feature on Japanese Manga.

From there we went to the Black House, and you can read about it when you click the link. The Black House is really a collection of buildings, so we walked along the grounds and Charlie explained several of them to us. 

After the Black House we went to check out a local pottery studio and store. It was OK. Not really my cup of tea, but they can’t all be winners, right? On the way back to the hotel Charlie told us that Jermsak was the best guide in Chiang Rai. We have him as our guide tomorrow. He did say he (Charlie) was #2. Sorta funny.

We got back to the hotel and rested a bit, having thoroughly enjoyed our ½ day tour. It was just the right length of time, which makes me slightly worried because tomorrow is a full day. We went and got linner (early dinner, late lunch) at Barrab. Tasty and very reasonably priced.

We then went for a beer, waiting for the Night Market to open. It’s pretty spectacular people watching. After our beer Sal suggested going to a rooftop bar that was supposed to be nearby. We were almost there, then ran into this place.


Yup, it was one of those cat cafes. Turns out my allergies were mostly fine and Sal’s were definitely worse than mine. Almost immediately after we sat down a small tuxedo cat walked to me, then barely accepted a few pets before going straight to Sal’s lap. He/She didn’t get up again until we had to go!


Sal was clearly the cat whisperer. 

I had a buddy, too. 

It was really nice to pet some cats you weren’t afraid you’d catch fleas or worse from. We miss our cat(s). I think the cats had a really nice set up and the establishment took good care of them.

‘Our’ cats were the only ones who laid in our laps on their own, though, so nanny nanny boo boo! We strutted out when we left. Just kidding.

We headed to the Night Market and did a tiny bit of shopping. I didn’t think it was as good as the Happy Street from yesterday, but we didn’t see the whole thing. We’ll probably check that out tomorrow. After walking back to the hotel, it was again called a day!

Bali, Indonesia, Masterpiece Trip 2017, Uncategorized

Bali-Sanur (Bali Day 4)

These posts are about a week and a few days old as we had very little and slow WiFi in Indonesia.

On our transfer day between Ubud and Sanur, we decided to stop at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.  I suspected after a monkey incident last time we were in Thailand that maybe monkeys just weren’t my thing and I was a big chicken around them, and it proved to be true at the sanctuary.

On the ride to the sanctuary the driver talked about things the monkey’s steal. I had read about most of them (food, hanging items, etc.), so wasn’t surprised until he mentioned glasses. Of course it made me paranoid that the rascals would steal my new specs and run around looking like Sally Jessy Raphael or something. I mean, I have an extra pair of glasses, but still. My fears (well that one at least) were put to rest when the person at the ticket booth answered, “no” after I asked about it. I’m 84% sure she understood the question.

Continue reading “Bali-Sanur (Bali Day 4)”