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Vietnam 15

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I’m going to be honest with you: I wasn’t going to post this.

I wasn’t going to go back and post any of the Phu Quoc Island photos or of the last weekend in Saigon. I kind of felt like that moment was over, but then Mikey has had some pretty bad insomnia recently and is totally loving re-visiting the old travel posts (he wanted me to tell you that if you like travel posts, go to the sidebar and select “travel” under “categories” and only the travel posts pop up). So I’m really posting this for my beloved.

And for you, too! If you dig it.

So, I left you last in Phu Quoc Island, the paradise grove in southern Vietnam. We flew there for a song, and were pretty surprised by some of the growing pains that the island is experiencing in its transition from sleepy small-town island to Big Time Tourist Destination.

The place is GORGEOUS. The beaches are soft and white. The water is warm and oh! so lovely. Hermit crabs hide in the sand and you can see fish swimming around you. The people are warm and friendly. The pepper is fresh and delicious – pepper farms are all around. The fish sauce is absurdly delicious. The taxi drivers are polite, honorable and efficient.

We really warmed up to the island, and got to laughing over the ditches that we’d mince over while walking someplace or another. We also laughed over all the construction going on. It’s like, the good things there are so GOOD that the eyebrow-raising stuff pales in comparison, you know what I mean?

Let’s get started with the photos:

Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-47

This is pepper! We went to a pepper farm!

Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-46 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-48 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-49And a fish sauce factory:

Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-12-2 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-11-2 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-10-2 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-9-2 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-8-2

Walking around in the street, drinking passionfruit juice in the market:

Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-6-2 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-7-2 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-2-2 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-1-2And on:

Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-44 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-45Life from our hotel.Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-11 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-13 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-12

Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-5-2 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-3-2This was on REPEAT for 12 days (I know… tough life, huh?):

Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-43 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-42 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-41 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-40 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-39 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-38 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-37 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-36 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-24 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-33 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-25 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-32 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-31 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-30 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-29 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-28 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-35 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-23 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-34 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-27Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-4-2We were just totally zenned out, blissfully relaxed as we headed back to Saigon:

Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-22 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-21 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-20– In our propeller plane!!

Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-19We had our last Pho (in Vietnam)

Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-18 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-17Trip to a regular supermarket to gawk at varieties of fish sauce

Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-16Last trip to a playground

Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-15 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-14 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-13 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-12 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-11 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-10 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-9 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-8 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-7 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-6Last trip to a market

Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-1 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-2 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-3 Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-5Last walk around, smiling at cool old Commie stuff:

Meriah Nichols Phu Quoc Island Vietnam-4We had a blast.

Thank you, Vietnam.

We love you.

**********

I’m going to try and stay on top of my photos and print ’em out – and wanted to share a deal that I’m taking advantage of:

Shutterfly President’s Day Sale: 40% off Your Order – Promo Code: STARSPANGLED. From 2/11-2/17

There’s also a cool one for a FREE 16×20 print, one reusable shopping bag, one notepad or magnet! – Promo Code: GOODY. From 2/13-2/14

(and those are affiliate links – if you buy something from Shuttefly using a link I provided up there, I’ll get enough for some honeysticks for the kids)

Watching people on their motorbikes in Saigon is something of a zen experience. – How do they do it? How does their calm stay? Does it stay?

They seem to react to one another like the current in a river; moving and flowing. Traffic lights are not used much; there is an awareness of one another here that I find lacking in the United States.

They are watching each other here.

They see each other and they don’t seem so insistent to push their own way, to force their way first, to cut in front of another guy.

Mind you, I’ve only been here a short while. But this way of driving and interacting with strangers is striking to me.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before.

Meriah Nichols -1

Mikey and I have also been astonished with how friendly people are with us. They seem so relaxed, gentle. There is an innocent playful generosity that we’ve seen with many – I don’t mean to be patronizing by saying that. But people here have done things like offer the kids part of what they are drinking themselves in this way that makes it like, WHY NOT offer the child something tasty that they are enjoying themselves? Germs/drugs/things added to hurt a child seem to be an unknown concept. We’ve become so scared and jaded in the US, you know? And often scared of all the wrong things… (but I still wouldn’t let the kids accept the drink offers…except from this guy – Mikey’s step-dad 🙂 )

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So, I’m in love with most of the Vietnamese people that we have met.

It’s an amazing place.

Where’s the Kid Play in Saigon?!

One of the things we noticed about Saigon were the playgrounds. Like, where are they???

We were only there for a week, and were spending a lot of time with family (and totally hung over with some outrageous jet lag) so it’s not like we explored many districts in the city. But we didn’t see any playgrounds, besides the ones in schools.

The kids were pretty pent-up and needed to run. Problem was, you can’t really walk a lot because the motorbikes are parked on the sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to walk in the street. That, coupled with my still-painful sprained ankle made it all a total no-go.

Kid Play in Saigon: Dam Sen Water Park

So! We went to this water park called Dam Sen and that was WILD.

Meriah Nichols -6Meriah Nichols -1-2Something for everyone

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There was a lazy river, FAKE WAVES!!, slides of all kinds, a dedicated enormous kiddie pool with various kiddies slides and things (playground in the water!), a zipline (that looked kind of painful) and more. Oh! And gaggles of Vietnamese teenagers taking selfies. I thought it was hilarious. They also made walking kind of hard for us because they were relentless about their absolutely love for Mack and Moxie (if I had a dollar for every picture they took of them… ).

Mack and Moxie are HOT STUFF here. I think it’s more than just being foreign; I think it’s the combination of their Asian features with blue eyes/lighter hair. We saw other foreign kids who were plenty cute at the water park and they weren’t getting thronged with fans like Mack and Moxie.

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Kid Play in Saigon: Bee Bee Activity Center

We also went to this whacky place called the Bee Bee Activity Center. Sort of like a Tot-land on crack, it tried to squeeze in every imaginable play thing in 200 or so square feet. Want a sandbox? No problem! It’s in that corner, smoothed between the swings and the fishing area!

It was crazy and our kids loved it. They were so desperate for play, they didn’t even care that there were no other kids there for most of the time they were there.

Here are the photos:

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Happy exhausted kids slept well that night.

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