I followed my heart and it led me to Vietnam

I followed my heart and it led me to Vietnam

Earlier this year, when my husband and I discussed where we would spent our holiday next time, I had a thought to explore the southern part of the earth. such as Peru, Brazil, or Mexico. and then we gave up the idea because its seems like some of those places are not very safe for tourists, and none of us speak Spanish, we were worry it would making this great tour become stressful and hard to enjoy at all. and then! Vietnam this country suddenly strikes my head, first of all we love pho, fresh summer rolls, and this country is sort of sharing similar culture like Taiwan. so I think it would be the perfect place for us to explore and have fun.

Now we had finished our great tour in Vietnam. I asked myself ..so... HOW WAS IT? mmmm I .... ehhhhh.... oh my god, I really couldn't find a simple word to express this travel experiences. Allow me concentrate my million thoughts in a few sentences.

Vietnam, Its a place we  succeed to leave several footprints on the google map (from north to south). I am very proud of us managed to seeing three places within two weeks. We done it. and I believe we will not do it again. I am certainly not meaning this trip was terrible, I just wish... the weather can be 10 degrees lower, and the traffic can be more organized.🫠

Well...is there nothing memorable to mention in this diary?  Of course YES!  and I have a long list to tell, I hope when I re-read this diary a few months / years later, I will still be able to remember those wonderful or remarkable things we had experienced .

HA NOI (4th-6th May)

  • When I stepped into the Ha Noi arrival terminal, I feel like I am in Taoyuan airport, when we sit on the texi to the city, the view outside my window, I feel like ... I am in Taiwan.
  • There are lot of elder /young ladies carry the bamboo stick on the shoulder selling fruits, pastries for tourists, and some bicycles carry flowers, living groceries etc. This is exactly what I seem it on the instagram, or pinterest. Its remind me my youth is Taiwan back in 30 years ago. and there is one particular bike carried a lot lot of balloons, It almost looks like the bike can fly. It's a bike which sell happiness and joys.
  • When we had our mocktails at the rooftop bar, I suddenly feel my Taipei oasis painting is so lame...  Ha Noi has many many rooftop oasis.
  • Buddha's hand in Vietnam using as symbol to bring lucky, they usually leave it front of family shrine as decoration. and people dont eat it. its juiceless.
  • May Kitchenware_ the coffee shop & ceramic store. where I lost my mind completely. If possible I may bring every plates and bowls back home. but I didn't.
  • Barber on the street is very cool thing to see here.
  • I saw the biggest turtle in my life. and its not turtle its rafetus leloii. there are only three left in this world, and they all magically live in china.
  • one evening when we walking by the lake, I saw kids holding fishing rod in their hand, but there are kite flying in the air. I am so amazed by this invention. so I also buy one for myself, I was thinking to buy more, but my husband stopped me. however I really thinking if this wasn't made out of plastic but bamboo and paper draw kite. this can participate dutch design week and sell hundreds of euros for it.
  • Instant noodle! we had one Lau Thai Tom in the plane as midnight snack. and since then I immediately became fan. It obviously the local version of Shin ramen, you can buy it in every convenience store. the brand also sell some other flavors but I tried everything. only the Modern Lau Thai Tom taste the best.
  • Silk! Vietnam is the second big silk manufactory in the world, right behind china. I didn't know until I couldn't bothered seeing so many stores selling silk product. and then an idea came to me, I want the super luxury silk underwear just like Tom Ford that sells for 180 euros for one pair. I bet in vietnam must be way cheaper. and then I became an underwear lunatic going from shop to shop, asking people if they sell men's silk boxers. After a bit of hunting, I managed to buy 3 pair of pure silk men boxers and its not even 1/3 price of Tom Ford. lol
  • Our hotel waitress Susan is a coffee lover, she introduced me whats the authentic Viet coffee spirit. Make sure your coffee very strong, and dont drink it black but adding some condense milk. I wasn't very convinced about this trick in the beginning, but I slowly like this combination in the end. she even made me the egg coffee to go as goodbye gift before we heading to Hoian. I personal feel egg coffee is literally drinking unbaked chiffon cake pouring with expresso. (only the whipping egg white mixer) I found this is so incredible convenient! one stone shooting two birds. Cake and coffee all in one!  Generally I think Viet coffee is still too sweet for me, but with this trick I know how easy to take my tongue traveling back to Vietnam in the future.

HOI AN (7th-11th May)

  • if there was something I doing right about this whole trip in vietnam must be this bnb we stay in Hoi An. very relaxing, chill, beautiful, and quiet.
  • There is a big calabash tree (葫蘆樹/砲彈樹) grows in our private balcony. I am so intrigued with the twisted fruit which stuck between the branches and the balcony fence. this fruit are famous by the super strong hard shell, some places people dig out the inner part, and use the shell as bowl. I found the whole thing just too inspiring, strong, hard shell, twisted, flexible, I see a painting muse right there. I even already got a song for my painting process video.
  • Mango! There are so many different kind of mangos in the traditional market. I had my small experiment one evening, I taste the very long one, the very huge one, and the small ivory color one. which one taste the best?  the ivory one won. the texture is very Q (for Taiwanese Q is the ultimate compliment which is mean sponge, a bit of stretching), and the taste is perfect between sweet and sourness. I can easily eat 100 of them only if it was not too hard to remove the core.
  • Discovered a very interesting and talented Vietnam illustrator artist Tao. Her series of package drawings for Alluvia chocolate just too beautiful.
  • Rice field tour? this is probably the most boring sightseeing I ever done my life. can't I see enough of rice field back home in Taiwan?
  • Oh the coconut! the golden coconut water is the best. super high CP, after finished the coconut water, they will cut it open and offering spoon to eat the coconut meat.
  • Che! the half ass version of taiwanese shaved ice. Ice cubes assemble with variation of sweet beams, jelly, toping with sugar water. something very special which is one spoon of the peanut smoothie as final touch. Its basically what we Taiwanese eat peanut soup in the summer, but they used blender making it more refine I guess? (or maybe what I taste is not peanut but lotus seeds). I love che a lot! It point me a direction how to live without ice shaving machine but still be able to enjoy this summer desert.
  • My Son Temple! one of the global cultural heritages which be ruined during the Vietnam war. Its took an hour drive from Hoi An city, and people suggests go there super early like 6 am morning to avoid the tourist crowds. but we very clever do it another way around. we arrived at 3pm, and stay until 6 pm even passed the close time. very pleasant not crowded at all. I even have times to do some yoga meditation photographic in front of the temple without worry that other tourists walk into the picture.
  • Lantern boat ride. Believe me, its more beautiful to looking at them from shore than sitting on it. and cost zero money.
  • Coconut trees river + bamboo boat tour.  I only remember people were shouting very loudly, saying Taiwan Number One. The coconut forest would be much romantic if wasn't too many tourists.
  • Custom made suit in one day. Yes I had made me a 3 pieces suit here, and I even went to the one has most good reviews from google. What I would comment about this local tailor experience is ...they only knew how to make the formal suit, not the trendy oversize kind of sort. I was really looking forward to finally have a resort casual suit, however after 4 times of fitting they still give me a normal business suit. I wish I didn't make it. Now I have a suit I probably will never wear it.
  • I very enjoy my morning yoga at the balcony in the b&b. around 6 :30 am morning there are always someone played flute, I feel its really exotic.
  • Cho nau (Dipterocarpus retusus) _東京龍腦香翅果, I had once have my hand full of Cho Nau seeds, but I didnt keep it. and ever since then, I couldn't find it anymore. (According my research, As the weather heats up at the beginning of May, the ‘wings’ attached to the seed turn brown and they spin to the ground like helicopter propellers.)

HO CHI MINH (12th-15th May)
Our journey begins with the classic old town Ha Noi, to the countryside but super touristy village Hoi An, and finished in the busy modern Ho Chi Minh city. I really proud of my husband make this arrangement. We slowly clear up our vision of Vietnam, Its almost feels like we open many little presents but ending with the final big prize. Ho Chi Minh / Saigon does give me a similar impression like Taipei, relaxing coffee shops, and selected boutiques hidden in the small alley, waiting for tourists to discover. However I cheated this time, because I had an extra helps from an old friend  of mine, Olina.  She shared me her pocket list on the google map, where had highlighted the best Vietnam pho restaurants, handcrafted gift shops, café etc etc.. SO! basically all we need to do is make plan to visit each one of them, super easy 🤭
and the following notes are something I want to remember :

  1. social media influencer will love this place, when you try to take photo or video your food in the restaurant, waiter will set up the table make it instagrammable for you. (It happened to me when we are having korean bbq)
  2. if anything I would like to start over from this journey, I wished I had started collecting wooden spoon at the first place. They sell many different beautiful, high quality hand crafted 100% wooden eatery, and they are very very cheap. I am so regret I figured out too late.
  3. Making my own perfume? Yes they really mean it. They asked me to counting 300 drops of perfume, after I decided what the top/middle/base notes of scents for my 30ml perfume.  It was fun to explore the scents, but certainly not the mathematic part.
  4. Reading Cabin sell lot of local hand made papers. Those papers are made out of mulberry leaf, which is the same plants they feed the silkworms to produce Vietnam silk.
  5. I seem people play their phone when they drove car all the time, but see people plays phone when they drove on the scooter definitely my first time. and they are obviously really good in it.
  6. Mocktail in vietnam means a glass of decorated juice.
  7. painting on silk and paste on paper could be a new trick for me if I want to raise up my artwork price.
  8. How to cross road in vietnam instruction make me laugh so hard.
  9. In Vietnam artists are everywhere. You won't find them in the gallery but local gift shops.
  10. We are 7 months early before the first metro line start operated.

HA NOI (16th-17th May)

The very last two days we back to Ha Noi again, very quickly went to the May Kitchenware store to shop those beautiful plates I had my eyes on them since the first visited.  After that we packed everything and desperately want to get back home.
Our journey will be officially finished after I finish this final paragraph. I want to tell myself one thing very important after this trip.

Don't easily believe what I see, especially those beautiful things from instagram.  

That is all.