A Travellerspoint blog

highway 1: california coastal drive

gear up for tons of photos below...

our rv tour:

1. santa cruz: when we went it was a bit ghost town-ish, but i'm sure at night the boardwalk and carnival attractions are fun, not unlike coney island. i really really want to go back someday and ride the old wooden roller coaster there. there were tons of surfers in the waters there and some caught some decent waves, despite the rocks and kelp everywhere.
santa cruz boardwalk

santa cruz boardwalk

steamer's lane - surfer spot

steamer's lane - surfer spot

they are serious about surfing here in santa cruz

they are serious about surfing here in santa cruz

2. capitola: a really charming village on the sea right by santa cruz with brightly colored stucco buildings with some shops and restaurants and a nice beach walkway area replete with kids taking after-school surfing lessons. i ate a DELICIOUS slice at pizza my heart, a northern cali chain. i had one of their award-winning slices called "the figgy piggy" = garlic sauce, mozzarella and feta, figs, bacon, and fresh sage. and normally i don't really do bacon, but the the combo of ingredients was so very delicious. i'm going to have to try to recreate it on my own at home.
capitola restaurants

capitola restaurants

bright stucco buildings in capitola

bright stucco buildings in capitola

the wharf

the wharf

3. monterey: another touristy fisherman's wharf, and although cannery row (famous from john steinbeck's novel of the same name which i just read) is also majorly touristy now, it's still fun to visit. the aquarium is mucho famous and i did enjoy it, though maybe my expectations were set too high based on all the hype. at the aquarium, i also picked up a pocket guide to choosing which types of fish are best to eat in order to be sustainable and environmentally friendly. they have a regular version and a sushi version - find out more info or download your own guide here. i wish we had time to visit the historic old part of town:( but we enjoyed 99 cent tacos at el torrito's taco tuesday!
cannery row

cannery row


underwater at the aquarium

underwater at the aquarium


jellyfish don't scare me

jellyfish don't scare me

4. 17 mile drive: we rented bikes for the day outside the aquarium (company is called blazing saddles haha). we rode through serene pacific grove, down 17 mile drive along the coast with gorgeous coastal scenery, by the famous golf club pebble beach and finally through the village of carmel-by-the-sea. if we had taken a car through this route, we would have had to pay a $9.50 toll, but on bikes it's free! it was a lot of biking though, it was worth it.
biking 17 mile drive @ spanish bay

biking 17 mile drive @ spanish bay

17 mile drive @ bird rock, covered in sea lions and birds

17 mile drive @ bird rock, covered in sea lions and birds


the famous lone tree on 17 mile drive

the famous lone tree on 17 mile drive

pretty colors along 17 mile drive

pretty colors along 17 mile drive

biking through forests along 17 mile drive

biking through forests along 17 mile drive

obligatory stop at pebble beach golf club

obligatory stop at pebble beach golf club

cutesy village shops in carmel-by-the-sea

cutesy village shops in carmel-by-the-sea

5. big sur: this basically entails everything after carmel and to about san simeon (near hearst castle). the coastline here is simply stunning. it really is amazing that this is in the u.s. the cliffs are so dramatic, the water is so aqua, there are redwoods and forests, pretty wildflowers, precarious bridges and windy roads. if we had more time, we would have camped and done some hiking (also ryan hurt his ankle the day before). so we just stopped for scenic photo opps and a couple short jaunts: 1. partington cove (thanks lonely planet!) involving a wooden bridge, creepy wooden tunnel and awesome up close views of aqua kelp beds and massive waves in the cove that used to serve as a landing spot for run runners during prohibition. 2. julia pfeiffer burns state park to see a coastal waterfall and just more amazing coastline.
big sur: bam!

big sur: bam!


windy roads and precarious parking

windy roads and precarious parking

that time we got really close to the humongous waves in big sur...

that time we got really close to the humongous waves in big sur...


tunnel into partington cove

tunnel into partington cove

kelp beds and crystal waters of partington cove

kelp beds and crystal waters of partington cove


hello from partington cove

hello from partington cove

julia pfeiffer burns state park - coastal waterfall!

julia pfeiffer burns state park - coastal waterfall!

another view from lookout at julia pfeiffer burns state park

another view from lookout at julia pfeiffer burns state park

6. point piedras blancas: we stopped here to see the herds of elephant seals that laze about on the beaches. it was interesting to watch them for about 15-20 mins. they basically just laid there, some spread some sand on themselves, and a couple of them would neck fight, though no blood was shed don't worry.
elephant seals

elephant seals

7. morro bay: we drove through main street on our way to moƱtana de oro state park to see spooner's cove. we climbed some rocks pushed up due to long-ago seismic activity and enjoyed the tidepool areas and utter seclusion of it all. to get to it, there was even this enchanted (or creepy) forest, however you deem it, that we had to drive through making it even more magical.
spooner's cove has seen some seismic activity over the years...

spooner's cove has seen some seismic activity over the years...

peekaboo cave

peekaboo cave


tide pool area

tide pool area

8. san luis obispo: we didn't see much more than a swath of the downtown area where we ate dinner at the slo brewing co. (wed. wing special $0.35/wing!). on the way we walked by bubble gum alley, an alley where the walls are completely covered by ABC gum eww. i tried to find the moon tree - a tree whose seedling was aboard one of the apollo shuttles that went to the moon and back - which is planted by mission plaza, but it was dark by that time and i couldn't find it:( slo seems like a fun place - they also have a drive-in movie theatre and the us's first solar powered cinema!
bubble gum alley, ew.

bubble gum alley, ew.

9. pismo beach: this is where we planted for the night at the pismo coast village rv resort. from what we saw driving through, pismo seemed to house many a rv-resort and/or mobile home park. the downtown areas seemed like a slice of picture perfect mid-20th century americana, though slightly updated. from here we wanted to visit some of the large coastal sand dunes, but didn't have time this journey.
a glimpse of pismo from the rv

a glimpse of pismo from the rv

10. solvang: we made it to our homeland! well, sort of. we visited the solvang bakery (take my advice and skip the danish waffle. stick with a regular danish) here and took some pictures in this kitchsy danish village of windmills, danish flags and danish-themed buildings with street names like copenhagen road. if we had more time, we would have putzed around some more and maybe visited the nearby ostrich and emu farm (huh?)...
velkommen!! welcome to solvang bakery!

velkommen!! welcome to solvang bakery!

11. los angeles: this place is huge. it's just so widespread. we entered la, and an hour and a half later, we're still trudging through highways through the valley and all the glorious la traffic. we reached our destination of rv rental return and made our way back to our brother brent's place in venice beach ahhh. ryan and i celebrated by taking the beach cruisers out for a spin along the wacky boardwalk for some grub.
ah, venice...california that is.

ah, venice...california that is.

biking in venice

biking in venice

we had to get the rv back by 3 pm on thurs, or else we'd be charged lots of $$, so we had to skip santa barbara for now, but figure it's close enough to la we could even go for the day this weekend perhaps. our journey here in la will continue this weekend as we hope to visit the getty, the griffith observatory and hopefully squeeze in a hike. then i will be heading to china on tuesday!!

Posted by shlee 02:18 Archived in USA Comments (3)

rv life

road tripping with an apartment on wheels

ryan and i got our HUGE 31' foot rv from apollo rentals. the way this deal went down was like this: my friend kimmie found this site www.standbyrelocs.com. they post when they need a campervan/rv relocated from one city to another, how many days you have to do it and how much money towards gas and how much mileage they will allow. as the relocator, you only have to pay $1 a day!! plus a few extras like if you want insurance (duh) or a towel kit, a first aid kit, etc etc. you also have to be willing to be uber flexible and willing to sit and wait til the very last minute to know if there is an rv available for the time frame you want (ryan will def confirm that i was rather nervous and on the verge of an aneurysm about this). we had to put down a deposit, but since nothing happened to the vehicle (thank you baby jesus), we got it all back. so at the end of it, we paid $4 for the journey + $45 for insurance + $10 for a towel/blanket/sheet kit. our gas was totally covered (up to $500 and we spent about $300). our mileage was almost completely covered...though we went over a bit, but at $0.28/mile we only owed $12. we free camped the first two nights (not technically "legal"...) and finally paid for a rv park the 3rd night ($42). add in a few meter/parking fees, we prob only spent a little over $100 total for our transportation/lodging on our journey. cha ching!!
that she blows!

that she blows!

the dining and living rooms behind the cockpit area. also loft bedroom above cockpit area which is where i slept<img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

the dining and living rooms behind the cockpit area. also loft bedroom above cockpit area which is where i slept:)

the kitchen

the kitchen

da bedroom

da bedroom


le bathroom

le bathroom

i made ryan drive the entire time since a. i was too scared. the thing was like a freaking bus really. and they didn't supply us with a camera so you can see what's behind you when you back up. i mean c'mon. and b. he had driven large-esque trucks before. we had a nice little living room, dining room, kitchen, a bathroom with two entrances, and a hallway to the back bedroom. the back bedroom and the dining room area both had buttons that made them slide out an extra 2.5 ft so there was even MORE room inside. there was a loft bedroom with a ladder above the driver's seat, which is where i slept. the living room sofa (haha) and the dining room benches all folded flat into two smaller beds. so in total this beast could accommodate 4 adults and 2 children. it was definitely too big for the two of us, but 6 probably would have been like circus clowns cramped in a tiny car.
cap'n ryan gerber

cap'n ryan gerber


slide out living room/kitchen/dining room/parlor/library

slide out living room/kitchen/dining room/parlor/library

my thoughts on rv life: rv parks are full of an entirely different breed of people. some of them camp out there for long periods of time, put up flags, and walkway lamps, and really make themselves at home. they travel in bus size trailers and tote cars so they have ways to get around once planted in a location, because driving an rv around is not easy, and parking it is even harder...sheesh. furthermore, in big sur, pretty much all the state park signs said: "no trailers or motorhomes" or had restrictions on size, which 31' was often included in, so that kinda puts a damper in some of your fun.
making yourself at home with astroturf at the rv park<img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

making yourself at home with astroturf at the rv park:)


rv park

rv park

pro: the bathroom is convenient. con: at the end you have to pump out your own sewage, which is not really fun, especially when the pipe doesn't attached completely and it leaks...

we didn't fully utilize the kitchen to it's potential - it had a gas stove, a small oven, fridge, freezer, and double sink. the rv came stocked with dishes, plates, silverware and glasses, and even pots and pans. that would have been awesome if we had been more adventurous in trying to cook our own meals on the road. but meh, we're too lazy for that. it also had a tv - i got to watch modern family aboard our ship!

anyway. all in all it was really an eye opening experience for me and a good glimpse into a part of americana i hadn't really seen before. i used to think rv'ing was kinda gross and trashy (sorry). but some people have invested some serious cash in some really swanky trailers (picture ashton kutcher's diva trailer on the set of 2 and a half men) and if you travel with some good friends or family along the way, i could see how it could be fun. at least for a little while. though as somewhat of a nomad myself, i still prefer backpacking and hostels:)

Posted by shlee 00:43 Archived in USA Comments (1)

i (left my) heart (in) san francisco

but hopefully someday i'll go when the golden gate bridge isn't covered in fog...

i arrived in beautiful san francisco last week and stayed in lovely palo alto with dana and her fiance eric. they graciously helped me map out my public transportation routine (sf's system is a bit confusing since there is a subway - the bart - and bus and light rail lines - the muni - and caltrain - which connects the outerlying cities like palo alto) and highlighted some good places to eat and things to do/see in the city. so friday my friend from college rechele and i ventured into the city. we walked around yerba buena gardens, ate some yummy korean bbq at the food court in union square mall and shared a beard papa caramel cream puff mmm:) we hopped a muni line out to golden gate park and explored the japanese garden, full of picturesque arched bridges, pagodas and ponds. we went up the de young museum tower (free!) and got a lovely 360 view of the city from there.
crazy tall bridge in japanese garden at golden gate park

crazy tall bridge in japanese garden at golden gate park

rechele and i in the de young tower

rechele and i in the de young tower

rechele had to go after that, but i ventured onto the mission area of sf. i saw the spanish mission dolores for which the area is named, and continued down the street stopping for some homemade ice cream at birite, recommended to me by dana. ginger and honey lavender did not disappoint! i hung out in misison dolores park, watching all the young hipsters and hippies. it's a very people-watching friendly area for sure. i then mushed on up some massive hills to the noe area. i ate a delicious chicken mole burrito at papalote's, voted the best burrito in sf, and explored some cute boutique shops. then i met dana and her sister jenna and her friends for the big event: the little mermaid sing a long at castro theatre!! it was beyond amazing - they handed out goodie bags to us with things like a plastic fork (aka a dinglehopper) and bubbles, and a noisemaker, and a pearl necklace and a gold paper crown. the crowd was so into it, everyone was singing along - we were even all singing to the reprise of "part of your world" as we exited the theatre. that was one of those moments where you feel really connected to humanity slash akin to one of those scenes from a movie where the townspeople all follow you down the street singing and dancing to the same song/choreography. that is one of my dreams btw...
mission dolores

mission dolores


24th street in noe, with twin peaks in the distance

24th street in noe, with twin peaks in the distance


castro theatre hearkens from the 1920's

castro theatre hearkens from the 1920's

dana and i at the sing-a-long, decked out in our goodie bag gear

dana and i at the sing-a-long, decked out in our goodie bag gear

the next day was a wonderful trip with dana up to muir woods park (redwoods!) and then onto napa (wineries!). we stopped at 3 wineries: v. sattui, heitz, and grgich. i didn't realize how close together a lot of these places are. and this main road in napa is just winery after winery after winery. we had some good wines and some not so good wines, some good weather and scenery, and finally witnessed some grape stomping at grgich!
my first redwoods sighting! at muir woods park

my first redwoods sighting! at muir woods park


vineyard grapes in napa at v. sattui winery

vineyard grapes in napa at v. sattui winery

dana and i outside heitz winery

dana and i outside heitz winery


grape stomping at grgich winery

grape stomping at grgich winery

ryan arrived that night. we had a nice sushi dinner (ryan had a sandwich) at dana's. sunday ryan and i explored the city some more: we took a streetcar to the ferry building and had yummy lunches and tea, then walked all along the piers to fisherman's wharf for some views of alcatraz and the sea lions at pier 39. we continued on towards ghiradelli square area and visited musee mecanique which is full of coin-operated games from the 1800's and 1900's (we paid 25 cents to watch a little figurine be executed by hanging...strange games these people had back then eh?). there were fortune teller machines, music boxes, ones where you watch people dance etc. we hiked our way up to lombard street (cable car lines were suuuuper long) and then took a bus back downtown and headed to the mission again. this time we walked down valencia street and ate some pizza slices.
san francisco street cars outside the ferry building

san francisco street cars outside the ferry building


sea lions hanging at pier 39

sea lions hanging at pier 39


looking down from around lombard street

looking down from around lombard street

look at those guns! at musee mecanique

look at those guns! at musee mecanique

we had to take the bart to the other side of the bay (gasp!) to oakland area where we stayed in a dumpy motel. but on a good note, from there we were close to where we needed to pick up our rv rental for our coastal drive adventure!!!

Posted by shlee 00:02 Archived in USA Comments (0)

my big, fat world adventure

the travel bug strikes again, but i ain't looking for a cure:)

the month of september has already been travel-ized: tampa/palm coast, richmond, chapel hill/durham/raleigh. it has been lovely to spend quality time with family and friends who have offered me great hospitality and good times exploring their domiciles. some highlights below: (not exhaustive, i'm just bad at taking photos when visiting friends. oops!)
Cool old buildings in Shockhoe Slip in Richmond

Cool old buildings in Shockhoe Slip in Richmond


Pretty Italian Garden at Maymont in Richmond

Pretty Italian Garden at Maymont in Richmond


Japanese Garden at Maymont

Japanese Garden at Maymont

Cool old-fashioned train station in Richmond. My friend even got married here, ooh la la!

Cool old-fashioned train station in Richmond. My friend even got married here, ooh la la!

UNC Chapel Hill Fountain

UNC Chapel Hill Fountain

The Carolina Inn porch party! Photo is pre-party, but later they had a bluegrass band play whilst we hung out chatting and sipping<img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' /> Farewell summer<img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/Emoticons/icon_sad.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':(' title='' />

The Carolina Inn porch party! Photo is pre-party, but later they had a bluegrass band play whilst we hung out chatting and sipping:) Farewell summer:(

Inside of Carolina Inn. Tarheel pride at its finest.

Inside of Carolina Inn. Tarheel pride at its finest.


We made Thai Summer Rolls! This was my first one, so a bit wonky. I got better with the next two though.

We made Thai Summer Rolls! This was my first one, so a bit wonky. I got better with the next two though.


Cheerwine bike! I love that the color of the bike is the color of Cheerwine, ahh.

Cheerwine bike! I love that the color of the bike is the color of Cheerwine, ahh.

  • *my friend anne in chapel hill documented my trip to visit her much better than I did. you can check it out on her blog here and here.

and now i'm off on another amazing adventure doing something I've always wanted to do: drive down the coast of california on highway 1!!!! and i've convinced my brother ryan to join me for the drive, which will take place in none other than a rv/camper van. eat that clark griswold!

i fly to san fran tomorrow! i'm excited i get to spend some more time with my old friend dana (she was just in dc for our 10 yr *gasp* hs reunion). she gets to travel to india and africa all the time for work, and then just travels the rest of the globe in her free time, and she lives in beautiful norcal. lucky gal:) (she lives in palo alto, the home of a little school called stanford...you may have heard of it). i'll also get to see my hilarious friend rechele from college who i haven't seen in, what, 6 years? sheesh, something crazy like that.

i'm looking forward to exploring some parts of the city that i haven't seen before (ie. golden gate park, the mission district, maybe a museum or hike up this and a cable car ride?), a visit to muir woods and napa of course, and some further city exploration with ryan who is a san fran-virgin. fri night i'll be singing along to little mermaid tunes with dana and her sister at the castro theatre. good thing i've been practicing "part of that world" in the shower all these years!

after our long weekend in the fran, ryan and i will venture out in trashy rv-glory through the likes of santa cruz, monterey, carmel, big sur for some hiking, santa barbara and maybe even solvang, this random little gem of a danish (aka my people!) old-world village...in california? yep, seems normal to me. if only those danes would found a california-style town somewhere in their country. but i guess they're just too busy being the happiest people on earth or something.

i updated my map (above) to show my upcoming travel plans. things are planned through december more or less, then...we shall see. i'm hoping i can last til march, but really whenever the $ runs out. there will be some volunteering, reuniting with old friends (and crashing on their couches), backpacker hosteling, and getting jobs in foreign lands to fund my way. one last hurrah to get the travel bug out of my system before i have to buckle down for school and work for the rest of my life (womp womp).

bon voyage and stay tuned for updates and new photos:)

Posted by shlee 21:13 Archived in USA Comments (1)

sapa...ahhhh:)

a little peace and quiet in the mountains

overnight train to sapa...was interesting. i booked the tour through a local agency in hanoi, that happened to be 2 doors down from my hotel. call me lazy. i call it convenience. the girls who helped me were extremely nice and spoke english very well though. i booked a 4 night 3 day tour. the first night and last night involved the overnight train rides (which i booked in the 6 person "hard sleeper" bunks cause it was cheaper). oh boy!

so a van picked me and the other tourists up and dropped us at the train station. the woman handed us some train ticket vouchers (not actual tickets) and split us up into different groups (sounds more organized than it actually was however). i went with a vietnamese girl and a japanese girl to the poor man's sleepers (aka the 6 person bunks). mind you on my other overnight train experiences, it involved only 4 person bunks with people from my tour group that i knew, so this was a whole new ballgame. my bunk mates were the two girls mentioned above, and a family of 4. if you do the math, yes that is 7 people, not 6, for a 6 bed bunk. and yes all 7 of us shared that tiny space. the two girls took the top bunks. i was on one of the bottom bunks, luckily. then the husband and wife ended up sharing with their kids. i'm not sure how or why this occurred. the woman seemed angry for a bit and talked very earnestly to the train conductor. shrug. then there was an random vietnamese lady who sat on my bed and put something down that made the sheets wet. gross. i ended up covering the bed with the blanket to add a layer of comfort and then put my sleep sheet over that, so it was ok i guess. the random lady was just hanging out in our cabin until a spot opened up for her elsewhere. (people don't ask permission for things like sitting on your bed. they just do it there). the kids were pretty annoying and kept poking their heads down at me while i was trying to read. eventually we all slept, and somehow i managed to sleep deeply, at least in the early am, because when we arrived at 5:30 am, the mother was shaking me to wake me up.

i was directed to another van for the hotel i would be staying at and there we drove from the train station to the hotel (about an hour drive) through a breathtakingly scenic mountainous area as we wound our way up to the top of the mountains to the town of sapa. it was very green, and there were terraced rice paddies down the mountains and into the valleys with rocks and rivers rushing through. there were clouds and mist hovering over the mountains. it was gorgeous. once we got to the hotel, we had time for breakfast and to shower and then off to do 12km of trekking to our homestay spot for the first night!

we were assigned to a local tour guide, aka a 17-20 year old hmong girl wearing traditional black hmong clothes (although they all wore regular street clothes underneath, so the garb is just for show). then we were swarmed by several other hmong girls and women who formed an entourage and followed us around for the entire 12 km. they had baskets strapped to their backs carrying stuff. at first they just made conversation as we walked. we asked about their villages, lifestyles, marriages (at 16-18 years old!), babies, etc. they all spoke pretty good english actually, considering they don't really receive formal classes, just learn through tourists. they spoke better english than many of the vietnamese people in our hotels! they were all very nice and sweet. but then you know what's coming at the end of the trek - they start pulling things out of their baskets and want you to buy things from them. their lines are something like, "i chat with you for a long time. how come you don't buy from me?" i ended up buying a bracelet each from 2 girls i talked with the most...but i talked them down in price A LOT. then we were taken to our lunch spot.

my group consisted of a dutch couple, a man from singapore with his vietnamese goddaughter, a couple from reunion (an island near madagascar/mauritius), another dutch guy around my age and a guy from canada in his 20's as well. we all got along pretty well, so we had a good time chatting and hanging out at our homestay. we were almost there by the time we had lunch. so 12 km went pretty quickly! we saw water buffalo, horses, pigs and chickens on the way. we had to hike down and around and through some rocky, slippery (wet) and muddy areas. and it was just so pretty. our homestay was a big house, probably built just for tourist homestays. there were umpteen mattresses up in a loft room, each with a mosquito net. we had a porch on the front where we all hung out and ate and drank and chatted. the dutch and canadian guys and i went for our own little hike up the mountain near the homestay. we walked along some irrigation streams, people's homes, farms, kids playing, people bathing, more animals, lots of dogs barking at us, buffalo and buffalo patties. there were tons of these yellowish/orange butterflies around. i mean TONS. like an infestation almost. and they seemed to love the buffalo patties. there would be bunches of them on the patties. then one butterfly landed on my arm and proceeded to use it's probscis to drink my sweat? it was a funny sensation and hopefully that doesn't mean i taste like poo too...

at the top of the hill, or at least where we stopped, we came upon a field of an unusual crop..a field of cannabis...which you could smell very strongly as you came upon it. the canadian guy, dave, was really excited and stuck around for more photos and the farmer let him go inside. the dutch guy, serge, and i headed back for food. i'm not sure if growing weed in vietnam is legal. but it was so high up there (bah dum chhhhh), i'm sure people don't really notice;)

we had a lovely meal for dinner that our homestay provided, followed by just sitting around and talking. the next morning the vietnamese girl hang and her singaporean godfather tony and i all were picked up early to go to this market that is famous in the region called bac ha. i was under the impression that we would be driven about 30 minutes to this market, and stay there for a couple hours, then go back and do some afternoon trekking. however, it was a 3.5 hour ride to this market. it was raining once we got there, so many vendors were not there. we wandered for about 1.5 hours, then spent about and hour for lunch. then we drove back. way too much driving for me. definitely not worth it. the rest of our group continued to do trekking (in the rain) and got back to the hotel by early afternoon. we all met up for dinner that evening and i got to spend one lovely evening in my hotel room ahh. the next morning, we hiked down to a little nearby village called cat cat. there were shops and people selling crafts along the way. at the bottom was a big waterfall which was nice. then we hiked all the way back up. took about 3 hours total. the rest of the afternoon was leisure time before we took the minibus back to lao cai to catch the evening train.

the problem with getting the evening train was after we handed in our vouchers, we got assigned different train times. i was hoping for the earlier one, but as luck would have it i got the later one at 8:45 pm, which would put me back in hanoi at around 6 am. i was concerned on the timing since my flight from the hanoi airport back to bangkok was at 9:15 am and i had to take a taxi from the train station back to the hotel to get the rest of my luggage, then take a taxi to the airport which was around 45 mins-1 hr away. uh, time crunch! hang and tony were very helpful to me though. we all rode a cab together back to my hotel and their was just nearby. hang speaks vietnamese so she helped a lot in that pursuit. she helped even more when after i got my luggage, she called me a cab and got him to charge me only 170,000 dong which is like $7.50. the other taxis that people from my group arranged with the hotel cost $18. sooo i got quite a deal! and i made my flight on time and even had time to spare, cha ching!

back in bangkok i maneuvered my way to my new hostel. i found it online and although it was in a different area than i had been in before, i quite liked the place. the ambiance was cool and i had a 6 person bunk room all to myself with a comfy bed and air con until about midnight when two american girls showed up. i spent my last day in bangkok doing some shopping, getting a stellar foot massage and pedicure, then more shopping at mbk mall. i even boldly got my haircut...which may or may not have been a mistake but it was only $12 and hey it'll grow out.

the next morning i left early for the airport and some 22 hours later i made it to nyc. and another 17 odd hours later i was back in dc. now i have, le jet lag, the best souvenir of all. and yes, i'm being sarcastic. i will post my final pics soon! can't believe i'm back. i miss se asia a lot already and it's kinda weird adjusting back to reality. i can't wait to go back and explore more of the region!

Posted by shlee 20:32 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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