Huế on Oct 22nd.

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Megan & Em Win

Guess we’ve been in Huế for over a week and it’s been raining heavy almost every day and sometimes during the night.  Sometimes so hard that you can hardly hear each other talk due to the heavy rain noise on the tin roof.

Mai received an acupuncture treatment yesterday for her constantly cold feet.  The acupuncturist told her that her cold feet was due to a weak kidney and he started a once-a-week, seven week treatment for her. She also has needs to drink ten pots of some herbal drink.

Victor will be happy to hear that I’ve installed Ubuntu 13.10 onto Mai’s Dell computer (which was missing WinXP network software drivers). Works wonderfully.

I worked yesterday installing NextGEN WP gallery plug-in and had a new photo gallery configured.  Alas, something happened and I had to reinstall the whole test site without the NextGEN gallery plug-in.  Lost over a day of work. Bummer!

Last night was the first night which I slept without major coughing fits.  Each day is a bit better.

There’s more »»»

All the Way to Huế

RR along Hải Vân Mountains
RR along Hải Vân Mountains

Arrived in Huế, Vietnam on Thurs, Oct 17th at 2:25pm after being on the train from 7pm the night before. Was an OK ride, but doesn’t seem that Vietnam has done any work to improve either their rolling stock nor leveling of the trackbed.

Because the Vietnam Gov’t seems to have left the trackbed deteriorate over the last few years, Mai ended up getting motion sickness on the train because it swayed from side to side so strongly (not to mention sometimes bucking up and down).  Mai had to wear the acupuncture bracelets on each arm and take homeopathic medication to reduce her discomfort.  She has never had motion sickness on the Vietnamese train between Saigon to Hue and Hue to Saigon which we have taken almost every time we arrived and/or left Vietnam.

There’s more »»»

General Võ Nguyên Giáp dies at 103

vo-nguyen-giap_CW415General Võ Nguyên Giáp’s death had the Hanoi gov’t declare three days of national mourning, from Oct 11 to Oct 13.  No loud music, dancing or other celebrations for three days.

It’s been unusually quiet for a weekend here in the tourist area. However the bar across the street celebrated a birthday, but without much noise except for signing “Happy Birthday” in Vietnamese.

Most of the normal TV programming was suspended and replaced by the following displayed on the TV screen:
Due to General Võ Nguyên Giáp death normal progamming suspended for 3 days.
The benefit for Megan is that she got to watch “Little House on the Prairie” in English narrated over in Vietnamese.

Been sick for a few days

P1090816_CW1024First Megan got a cough while we were in Portland, then Mai got the bug after we arrived here in Saigon and then I finally came down with it — much worse than the other two.

Have been sleeping day and night for the last three days and finally am starting to feel a bit better. The worse part was having absolutely no energy and a gawd-awful headache. I still am extremely sensitive to sunlight (an wouldn’t you know it, it’s a beautiful sunny day today in Saigon).

All-in-all, we’ve stayed in Saigon much longer than we had planned due to one or another of us being sick. Hopefully, we all can feel healthy enough in a few days to head north.

Feel well enough to eat my normal Phð this morning for breakfast.

Pictured here eating yogurt with a spot of it on my nose (which is why Mai took the photo).

Saigon Photos taken on Oct 7th

Some quick photos which I snapped while walking around the park and the local block. Taken with small Panasonic, so quality not particularly good. Feedback appreciated. Will add improved photo support to the blog as time permits.
NOTE: Click on image to view 1024px image and BACKSPACE to return.

1) Mai ‘putering on the hotel bed. Love her smile!
2) Reading newspaper lounging on moto.
3) Also have Pizza Hut and Starbucks now in Saigon.
4) Fellow ol’ timer.
5) Beer anyone? Store which sells only beer from around the world.
6) Public restrooms now available around the park. Reduces smell.
7) Young lady selling counterfeit DVDs.
8) Vendor’s bicycle.
9 & 10) Xe Om moto driver — fought for the South cannot get good paying job.
11 & 12) Mai at Saigon railroad station — sent five largest bags to Hue to pick up later.
13) Painted mural on side of building.

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RVHobo Blog Up

Been busting my butt the last few days working to get the RVHobo.com blog up and running. It is piggybacking on the meganmichael.com domain name, so I don’t have to go through the pain of changing my email MX records.

WordPress seems so easy when one starts but has lots of hidden gotchas to figure out.  Somehow installing a new WordPress installation never seems to go without several days of problems.

Finding a reasonable theme is a real headache.  I’ve tried so many themes and they never seem to have everything that I want.  (Probably due to using FREE themes.

Now, I’m using a theme which I will use until I find one which I like better.

First Days in Saigon

We’re holed up in the Hoài Phð hotel enjoying the air-con and going out to eat Vietnamese food when we are hungry.  Having a hard time getting Megan to go outside.

Mai dresses so much like a normal Vietnamese person that the locals here never suspect that she is a Viet Kieu (overseas Vietnamese) so she gets the normal prices (as long as she goes alone and does not have either Megan or I with her).

I measured the hotel internet speed and it is 20MB download and 21MB upload speed.  No problem getting what I want.

Hot and humid over here — the weather displays rain every day on the browser for Saigon, but hasn’t rained that much.  A very hard rain last night for 20 minutes and then slight drizzle for another 20 minutes.

Have been able to go out to eat and walk around the nearby 3 block park with no problems.  Have to take a shower whenever I return to the hotel.  Uncomfortable, but quite bearable.

Traffic is as heavy as before and the rich Vietnamese kids are partying nearby our hotel until 1am.  Lots of money over here — very, very rich and some very poor.

Vietnamese Customs Scam

Vietnamese customs tried to shake down Mai for some money. Her Vietnamese passport didn’t have an EXIT STAMP from when we left Vietnam on May 6, 2011. They had to go look at the computer where it showed that she had left Vietnam.

As soon as I realized that there was a problem, I had Mai give me all her money so the customs guys would have to go through me if they wanted any money. And I watched them like a hawk, so they quickly realized that they could not put any pressure on Mai without me coming to her aid and they would have to deal with me, so they painfully let her continue to the baggage area.

Flight to Vietnam

NEVER take AIR CHINA — the plane was very old (had only large plasma projection B&W screen in the center and small colored screen on each side.  Still had ashtrays.  Poor food and nothing special service.  Air China is from MAINLAND CHINA and they missed Megan’s large suitcase and we had to wait from Friday midnight until Tuesday morning to have them deliver it to the hotel.

I bought a bracelet which pressed the acupuncture point above the wrist and some motion sickness pills and Megan had absolutely no problems during the three flights.

Took three days to recover from jet lag.  Yesterday was the first day Mai and I stayed awake the whole day and slept the whole night.  Megan adjusted the first day even though she was fighting a cough (but no fever).