Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Censored! (and other odds and ends)

A quick update from Hanoi while Brian is out making things happen...

We've noticed that our blog (and all the blogs on blogspot.com and some other blog sites) appear to be blocked at the majority of public internet terminals we use. Every once in a while we are able to get to the site but mostly we get the big DENIED message. Interesting. We were anticipating this happening a lot in China, but not here. Given that we had no problems seeing it in Laos and Cambodia, we did not expect the restrictions in Vietnam. One more reminder that despite all the changes, improvenments and relaxations of control over the past 5-10 years, this is not yet a totally free country.

I've finally uploaded the rest of the Cambodian pictures (Angkor Wat temples, first visit to the orphanage, Landmine museum, and a bunch of pics of the child vendors). Unfortunately, most of our best pictures from the temples in Siem Reap were on the camera when it got stolen, so we don't have the amazing faces at Bayon or the jungle winning the battle at Ta Phrom. The pics are in the middle of other Vietnam pics, but you can get right to them through the tags. (Also, I didn't have my notes with me and couldn't get to our blog to refresh my memory so the names/descriptions are pretty sparse. I'll update those with the correct temples, etc. when I get a chance). All that is to say that as a whole, they may not be up to our usual standards, but there are still some cool/fun pics in there (like the one in the upper right).

We've been using Hanoi as a home base (and cool place to sightsee in its own right) while we take short trips out to see different tribes and topographies and do some hiking and biking with a great tour company: Ethnic Travel. While a little more expensive than the tours offered in every hotel and cafe you walk by, ET's tours take you places where you don't see another tourist, are in groups of 2 or 4 (max 6) instead of the "small groups' of 16 (on up to 50) with the other operators. The company was started by 4 friends from university and they have a strong emphasis on sustainable/eco tourism. We're happy to support them and urge anyone travelling through Hanoi to do the same. We'll write more about the trips themselves in a future entry.

We've had some fantastic meals in the past few days (three words: Fresh Vietnamese Seafood!) and have gotten to make our own springrolls at an island home stay we just did. I'm happy to say that we remembered our filling and rolling techniques from our Chiang Mai cooking course and our springsrolls were as nice to look at as to eat. Speaking of food, if you want to see some scrumptious deserts check out these photos. Good thing we were only in Hoi An for a couple of days!

Off to do some more errands. It's nice to be in a bigger city where we can restock essentials.


No comments: