Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Final Countdown

So this happened two days ago. Four guys came to our apartment, we pointed at stuff and a hour and a half later all our things were individually wrapped, boxed and gone.

My final days include having my tailor make as many dresses as possible, getting everything I can think of framed (seriously why is it so exxy in Oz?), perming my hair so I look like a k-pop star, catching up with people and eating as much as possible.

Johnny has been playing football and generally making the Vietnamese population sad by leaving. I intended writing a post on all the leaving gifts but half have been boxed up already. My favourite though has to be this:

So what's next? Nothing's confirmed but we do know we're heading back to Sydney in the meantime.

New years eve we're off to Phuket for a couple of days, then Chiang Mai, then Bangkok, then back to Sydney directly from there.

Moving to Perth is still an option but nothing is confirmed as of yet - til then you'll have us back in town kids!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas in Hanoi

I haven't been a huge fan of Christmas in my adult life but now I know why- Australia is doing it wrong. Vietnam has it down pat and identified it's all about two things: decorations and photos. And lots, and lots of both. I came home to the above craziness happening all around our apartment.

Most girls dress in various amounts of red clothing and there seems to be a surge in professional photographers around too. My favourite outfit so far has to be this:

The other key thing to do is to dress your child in Santa-like outfits which of course you can buy here:

As for us, we're heading off to Bangkok today to spend it with the Taracanis! Here's hoping Thailand has the Christmas spirit down pat too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

11 Reasons We Want To Move To Japan

It's probably a good thing that this post is long overdue otherwise it may have been wholly comprised of disgusting amounts of gushing. It probably will be anyway, but at least it's down to only eleven points.

I'll say this about Japan-everything everyone has ever said was right. I did think it would all be somehow magical which of course it isn't cause all big cities are basically big cities, but once I realised this- i.e. it wasn't magic, but something real I could interact with, I saw just how great it was. 

We're not the first people to say we'd move there in an instant so we'll get into the imaginary line for the imaginary line. Here are our (mostly mine) reasons why:

1. Supercute kids - seriously how is it possible that every single kid out hipsters me?

2. Supercute and pretty everything - this is a society that knows what it's doing. By the end I was almost needing it to stop because it was just too overwhelming.

3. People are nice, super nice - in the time we were there we were taken out for dinner, given various presents from various strangers and shown around Kyoto by a Chako our volunteer guide (who's 60-something and outdid us).

4. Riding bikes - riding bikes is awesome everywhere, but because everyone does it and you're allowed to park them anywhere without them being stolen, it's so much cooler. On the first day we went on the Tokyo Bicycle Tour and it was totally worth it to get our head around the city. In Kyoto I stacked it, landed on my face, cried, and was bleeding, but it was still AWESOME (though obviously not at the time or the few days after).

5. Considered everything - this is especially exciting after living in Vietnam where it sometimes feels like nothing is ever thought about. Examples include, music in the toilets, the fact you can update your train ticket in case you go to a further station, amazing merchandising and this amazing umbrella rack that locks them up!

6. Pride - this is something that really stood out for me, and it's just my impression and may be different from a Japanese point of view, but felt like everyone had an element pride in what they were doing and wanted to do it well. For example, Johnny was looking for something in the chemist a a girl didn't leave his side until he'd found what he needed, and these old guys checking no-one is smoking are totally owning it. Anyone else feel or notice this?

7. Food - what is there to say? NOM NOM NOM. We were also lucky enough to go to my cousin's husband's family 30+ year old restaurant - one of those super intimidating places we wouldn't have dared to otherwise and ate the best food we had in Japan. Let me know if you go and I will arrange it for you!

8. Small bars - in Tokyo we stayed in Shinjuku right near the alleys and alleys of the Golden Gai small bars (apparently over 200)- some which fit only 5 or 6 people. I've never seen Johnny so excited, ever.

9. Shopping - I thought I was over shopping until I got to Japan. It got overwhelming. Not so overwhelming of course to stop me buying a rabbit onsie or maid outfit.

10. Public transport - even though we may have gotten lost on the train more than a few times, the fact that the system covers so many areas is amazing. Other than that it's pretty easy to use and cheap compared to Cityrail!

11. Family - who can deny these awesome girls?

In case you were wondering here's what we did:
  • Tokyo for 4 days and stayed at the Best Western Shinjuku ASTINA Hotel (thanks Caleb for the recommendation!)
  • Kyoto for 4 days though 1 day we did a trip to Hiroshima. We stayed at the Citadines Kyoto Karasuma Gojo Hotel (serviced apartment, best accidental decision ever so we could do laundry and make our own food!) and Hiiragiya Ryokan. 
  • Osaka for 1 day. We stayed at the Hotel Monterey La Soeur
  • Tokyo for 2 days and stayed at the amazing Hotel Claska. If I could have their breakfast every single day I would be insanely happy. 

  • Thursday, October 25, 2012

    What do Munich & Nha Trang have in common?

    We both ran away there last month. Well, not quite, Johnny went to Munich for Octoberfest and ate sausages, drank beer and bought lederhosen (sort of).

     Not to be outdone (who am I kidding, of course I am), and not wanting to be stuck at home alone, I jetted to Nha Trang a beach town not too far south of Hanoi. Think lots of seafood, mudbaths and weird Vietnamese tourist attractions.

    As if that wasn't enough after we got back we both went to...Japan. So much amazingness I don't know where to start. Another post to come soon!

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

    Autumn Moon Festival Hanoi Style

    The most insane thing to do on any type of Vietnamese public holiday is to go into the old quarter- think massive pushy crowds and the inability to move anywhere. Last weekend was the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival (something to do with a magic pill and a rabbit- who knows) and that's exactly what Chryssie and I did. 

    Last time we ventured into the old quarter was on national day and we rode our bicycles in - that was hilarious in that it could only be described as "defensive riding". This time we walked in and it wasn't too bad. The moon festival called for lots of wearing stuff on heads (think Minnie ears and giant bows) and the buying of lots of cheap colourful "stuff". I even ended up buying a pink cardigan, red heart headband and exploding confetti tubes (that in itself is another post).


    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

    Sunset golf

    Sorry to everyone who's visited before but we've just discovered the best way to spend sunset...(thanks to Stu for visiting and inspiring us to do something different!).