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Archive for November 19th, 2018

We flew (early) to Ho Chi Minh City on Day 16 and then drove around 3.5 hours to Cat Tien National Park. Actually, we drove to the ferry point, rode the ferry across, and then had a golf cart ride out to the Forest Floor Lodge.

This was the start of our big Vietnam bird-watching trip. I will have another post on the birds of Vietnam but I’ll hit some highlights here. We settled our things at the lodge, had a quick lunch, and then joined our local birding expert, Tim, for our first birding outing.

There were all different kinds of mushrooms … these are just a couple of pictures of them.Here we are with Tim. What a fantastic guy, great guide, and so knowledgeable about the birds. Oh, our pants are tucked in our socks to try to ward off the leeches. Lol.We only had a short ride in the back of a Jeep. We were supposed to have a longer Jeep adventure but we ended up walking for most of the tours. We must have covered around 14 miles or so walking … with the heat, humidity, and walking … we were pretty spent at the end of this expedition!

We had an excellent time–the meals were interesting to say the least. We were able to catch up on some emails in the evenings. We hung out in the lodge common area and then went to the room for bed before the power was turned off. Haha.

Our room was “rustic” … but comfortable. We didn’t meet up with many mosquitos (thank goodness) but we did see the largest gecko we’ve ever seen … it was probably the length of my hand (around 8 inches) … and it didn’t have a tail. Here’s the best picture I could come up with.

The only problem was … it was in our room! Haha. Wow … we were a little creeped out, but he didn’t carry us off so I guess we survived. The next day and a half were whirlwinds of bird-watching, jungle-trekking. We saw plenty of birds (around 100) and probably as many leeches! Fortunately none latched on for a drink! Here’s a couple of photos of the scenery (as well as those above) … to include a picture of a leech trying to get me.

The leech looked like an earthworm … they would rear up to see (or smell) you and then tried to hitch a ride!This tree was over 800 years old … a “Tung” tree. You can see Deb in the picture below to give you a feel for its size. It was huge! We were out late both nights in the park … the sunset was glorious … as were the birds.We didn’t only see birds though … we heard several monkeys and saw these Gibbons near the park headquarters.It was a fun adventure walking through the jungle ….But we also had some easy walking at times … here’s Tim carrying his tripod.Oh, did I mention there were also spiders??We saw a couple of different varieties of deer. These had travelers on their backs … These Myna birds were eating the leeches off the deer. In my bird post I’ll add a picture that shows the birds with their heads in the deers’ ears. Pretty funny!

We were up early both mornings we were there for bird watching (0630) … we closed out the final day with another long (but productive) walk! After an eventful drive we arrived at our hotel in Ho Chi Minh city … but that’s for another post!

Stumbling piper

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When we finished up in Hue, we drove down to Hoi An … well, we didn’t drive … the driver drove. Lol. Up through the “mountains” (it was raining so hard to get a good picture), over the pass, and down into Hoi An.

We arrived at our Hotel (La Siesta) and proceeded to settle in … we enjoyed a late lunch … beautiful location.

Late that afternoon we walked to the Old Town to visit a couple of tailor shops … this is the place to buy clothes (handmade or otherwise). Hoi An was one of the original gateways to Vietnam (a fishing village at first and then a trading destination). The city grew a tradition around tailor shops (both wholesale and otherwise), specifically specializing in silk and cashmere.

Of course, James had to have some clothes made … He had a wool/cashmere suit (with silk lining) and three mandarin style shirts (linen/cotton) all handmade. After two fittings they were ready to go! We had them shipped back to Canada — we only have so much room in our bags! For the suit, 3 shirts, shipping and customs, the total came to $245. Crazy … plus, they kept James’ measurements … now he can order new clothes any time. That might be dangerous!

The first night we visited the local night market … what a beautiful city. The pictures don’t do it justice.

These two days we were basically on our own, so we spent the time resting and catching up on things before we continued the journey! The food at the hotel was excellent … and so were the drinks. What a relaxing time … (Yeah, we also had laundry done … ) We were up early on the 16th day (departed hotel at 0600… bleh) to catch a plane from Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh city … the fun continues!

Stumbling Piper

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