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Travel – Page 2 – Snowball In The Sahara
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Hanoi is beautiful,crazy and can best be described as a relaxed Bangkok. This tour, unlike others, is with the addition of our one year old so we are frequenting different types of venues. But even so, it seems to be without what you might expect to see within a South East Asian country, such as lady boys, ping ping shows and grilled cock roaches. Like all Asian cities we have visited so far, the air is humid, smoke filled and there is a slight linger of sewer in the streets. The pedestrians, mopeds and cars mingle together to form a kind of choreographed mess that somehow works. The sidewalks are filled with stalls spilling onto the road, selling exceptional knockoffs of the latest adventure wear; under armor and North face seem to be the main choices as you pass each shop front. On the weekends they close the old quarters to bikes which creates a social buzz like no other. Groups of people swarm the wide streets next to the river to watch performers of all types and to play games with families. The Chinese and Japanese are in the plenty and somehow Prevelly is a superstar. With every other passerby we’re stopped for photos with our little celebrity.

The hostel we stayed in is located in a back street off of the old quarter. It’s not for the flash packer but at £8 a night it did us well. The food was prepared in the street and going against our original plan of only eating from clean (ish) restaurants, it took us only one day before Prevelly had a taste for this style of dining.

As lovely as the city is it definitely comes with a time limit and 3 days was ours. We booked a bus to a more favorable type of destination which obviously had sand, sea and sun. Catba island is to be our new home for the next few days.

A few days looks to be turning into a week after only a day here. The three beaches which are a 10 minute walk from the main town prove to be perfect for a spot of tanning, building sand castles and swimming lessons for Prevelly. The bays are breathtaking throughout the day and at night restaurants light up in the sea and floating walkways appear to guide you across. The food is relatively cheap and our £15 per day food budget is kept in tact. Even when the food hasn’t been great, the non preparation, no cleaning and putting dishes away has easily made up for it.

The hostel here is £3.50 per night and the hosts are very welcoming. There are some chickens in the grounds next to us but they haven’t woken us yet. The beds are hard, not the slight give you get from a firm bed but concrete hard. Happy days for my back but the snoring will surely increase with new sleeping position.

Daniella is making traveling with a child very easy as she continues to be the amazing mother she always has been. Prevelly and her have an incredible bond and it’s been so much fun to watch them play and explore in new surroundings. With the purchase of a pram before our departure, which I was sure would be rendered useless, Daniella has won the award for best traveling accessory. It has been a God send as Prevelly now comfortably falls to sleep on the beach to the sound of the waves in her new seat. A close second has to be the portable potty. With two tested prior to leaving the inflatable choice proved to be used more as a bouncy chair instead of its main purpose so the fold able potty is with us. And with myself taking the bronze with the tablet. We always said we would not be those parents, but hey, life is a lot easier with a distracted one year old, and a mix of random toddler TV crap is the answer. In our defense, or what we keep telling ourselves, it’s educational, so it’s OK.

On the agenda for the rest of the week is a moped day on Tuesday, Ha Long bay tour on Wednesday and then rumor has it that by the weekend the weather will turn which will be our cue to go searching for the sun somewhere else in Vietnam.

Much love to you all and we look forward to keeping you updated as the week progresses.

Hello to all of you beautiful people. Welcome to the overview of our planning which has proven to be the easiest part of our experience. Sticking to it for whatever reasons has been the undoing to the smoothness of our travel bookings. We left Sweden set on reigniting the passion of travelling South America that burned so strongly before the birth of our beautiful daughter.

“Easy, nothing to it, lets go”.

What we’ve found is that when you have to take into consideration the health requirements and needs of a one year old; the lets get up and just leave mentality doesn’t hold up as well as when you are child free. We may have overlooked the vaccination requirements and in turn are trying to plan a slightly ‘safer’ trip.

With Daniella being a new aged travelling hippie we know that Prevelly will be eating from street vendors, licking dogs and mingling with the locals. So, we have now decided to fly to New Zealand. A much safer option. I’m sure the Kiwi folk will let us eat their street food and if we desired even lick their dogs but it feels that with the English tone in the air its a safer option to take. The new plan is in place and as always sticking to it is not our strong point. Why would you fly to the other side of the world and not stop off in the Philippines for a bit of sunbathing. Oh we do like to sunbathe.

“How about we stay there for a month and do a tour of the islands”.
“Will a month be long enough”?.
“Ok lets make it three to be sure”.

That obviously doesn’t leave us as much time in NZ but with the option of hiring a camper van and doing a tour across the country in an accelerated time scale we can still fit in a good amount. Perfect.

Time to get our Visa’s for the Philippines and after many long drawn out conversations we realise that the limit is 59 days with the extended tourist visa. A day out in London baby, to the embassy, passports handed over with the hope they return in time and some fun in Trafalgar square. That leaves us a month down, should we add that back to our original plan or take advantage of this unexpected surprise and visit somewhere new whilst in the area. Vietnam is close enough so why not stop there for a month to make up the time. Happy days, the plan is in place. But then comes the obvious comment when on the cusp of paying,

“shall we pop over to Australia as we’re just there”.
“Why not” I say.

With the 12th amendment to our travel itinerary we are finally set. Is Vietnam, the Philippines, NZ and Australia ‘safer’ than South America. Who really knows. But they do not carry the risk of yellow fever according to the travel pro website which is good enough for us. We will ignore the risk of floods through Vietnam, Pirates in the Philippines, deadly animals that inhabit down under and the risk of being trampled to death by sheep in NZ (I don’t think that this will be an issue).

Our planning skills fall into one of two categories, Military or non existent. At work all activities are planed meticulously, every last detail and action accounted for, each report and method statement looked through, checked, double checked and then submitted. With travel plans I join my partner in crime, wait until a week or two before our rough deadline, throw a dart at a map and then just keep adding to the list as we delve deeper into an atlas. I must say that this style has already provided us with so many exciting memories and I don’t think we could or would do it any other way.

So we are now booked up. Four months of planes,hammocks, boats and sun. Vietnam to the Philippines, then to NZ, a quick hello to Western Australia to visit friends, a drive down to Prevelly Beach and then the quick flight back to London.

We have both said that we will try and plan some of the tour before we depart. To help with this or to enhance our trip in anyway your expertise is called upon. If you have visited any of the destinations mentioned in this post and can advise on what to do’s and where to go’s then please hit the contact tab and send us a message. Much Love.