As the Olympics begin it reminds me that I haven’t finished my look back at our travels. Many people are still not traveling so I hope you enjoy these articles and that as you follow me you become more likely to start planning that next adventure.
It may not have been Tokyo, but Hong Kong and Saigon were destinations that I never thought I would every visit. The culture, the architecture and the food made for a unique experience. We flew into Hong Kong at sunrise, and it was breathtaking. We were met at the airport and brought to one of the most elegant and historical hotels I had ever heard of. The Peninsula hotel, we pulled up and of course there were the impressive fleet of green Rolls Royce. The doormen all dressed in white, down to the white gloves greeted us and we were escorted to our room where an amazing fruit basket waited for us and as we looked out in the harbor, we new we were in for something special. We adventured out and walked around to acquaint ourselves with this new destination.
Our second day there we were introduced to a wonderful young lady who gave us a tour of the city and not the city the tourist sees but her town, where she lives, shops and works. We were treated to lunch at her favorite eating spot and the charm of her neighborhood. This culture was so different than anything I could imagine. We went back to the hotel via the subway, an extremely clean and surprising mode of transportation. We returned to the harbor in time to explore a beautiful Zen garden and that evening we got to cruise in the bay on a Chinese Junk and view the evening light show. It was all so fascinating. Our last day there we were treated with high tea in the lobby. I was surprised that people stand in line for hours to have this experience, that evening we left for Saigon.
As we got off the plane in Saigon, a young man met us which was so comforting, as we new nothing of this destination except for the stories we heard surrounding the war. Although his English was broken, he was so nice and made us feel at home. He led us through customs and immigration which made our experience so much better and stress free. He gave us a wonderful tour on our way to the Hyatt plaza a beautiful hotel near the Opera house. The next day we were taken on a cruise on the Mekong delta. Now this was enlightening. The poverty and the hardships of the people living along the delta was unsurpassed anything we knew. The people we met and the families we visit showed us a human resolve, that most people don’t get to experience. We stopped and visited an orphanage where we were served lunch and the children here were surprisingly well cared for and educated.
Our last day there we ventured out on our own, the numerous amounts of motorcycles and number of people in general was mind blowing. See them sitting on the sidewalk to get some relief from the heat, visiting their markets, and watching how they maneuver through town was extraordinary and showed us blessed we are. Although, it was an interesting destination, and I don’t think it would be a town that I would visit again, I am glad I got to experience it.
So, if you watch the Olympics, think of the destination, the sites to see, the people and how different the Asian culture is. There are many countries out there to visit and these Asian counties will give you an experience that will maybe allow you to appreciate our everyday lives.