View of Viet Nam : Ha Long Bay

December 29th, 2007
Categories: Views of Viet Nam

Ha Long Bay (which means Bay of the Descending Dragon in Vietnamese,) is a popular day trip for adoptive families staying in Hanoi. Located in the Quang Ninh province on the Vietnamese coast of the South China Sea, the area is made up of fishing villages where the locals live in floating houses. It is comprised of over a thousand islands and inlets, many of which are uninhabited, lending to their overwhelming beauty. The limestone pillars in the seascape are said to be breathtaking. The journey to Ha Long Bay starts with a car or bus ride to the site where you will board your boat for a tour of the area. Most trips will include an on-board meal as you float along the water. You will… [more]

View of Viet Nam – Roadside Repairs

May 28th, 2007
Categories: Views of Viet Nam I was scanning through websites looking for photographs of Viet Nam that would take me back to my time there, and this picture fit the bill perfectly. Here we see a roadside bicycle repair shop, which are extremely common along city streets in Viet Nam. I was amazed when we saw our first motorbike repair “shop”. I noticed a jack and an air hose that led to a compressor type machine and wondered why these things were sitting in the middle of the sidewalk. It was after seeing a few of these set ups in different areas of the city that I realized that they were Viet Nam’s version of a mechanic’s bay in an auto body shop. The city dwelling Vietnamese live… [more]

View of Viet Nam – Craft Link

May 22nd, 2007

copyright rebecca hess 2007 After only having our daughter for a short time, one of the other moms in our group came back from shopping with a little doll for Ella. Her first doll! She was a handmade Vietnamese doll from Craft Link. She came with a little non la, but we weren’t sure about the safety of the lacquer on it going in the baby’s mouth, so it came off. Ella’s first dolly now sits on her dresser at home. We had heard about Craft Link and wanted to shop there, so we went with some other members of our group later in our stay. It’s very close to the Temple of Literature, so you can hit both… [more]

View of Viet Nam – Museum of Ethnology

April 23rd, 2007
Categories: Views of Viet Nam

museum ethnology vietnam blog adoption Here is a picture of Miss Ella pointing to where she was born in Bac Giang, Viet Nam. We found this map in the Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi. One of the kids in our group is from an ethnic minority so his parents wanted to visit the museum to learn more about his background, and we wanted to check it out too. It was a wonderful museum; very quiet and well planned out. There were English translations on all of the displays so we really did learn quite a bit. One of the most interesting parts of the museum was outside of the actual museum building. On the grounds they have replicated houses… [more]

View of Viet Nam ~ Temple of Literature

March 26th, 2007
Categories: Views of Viet Nam

temple of literature We visited the Temple of Literature (Van Mieu) towards the end of our stay in Hanoi. It was a beautiful place and I appreciated a great deal of what we saw, but it was a little tourist-y for me. It was a hot day and my husband had Ella strapped to his chest, so we didn’t last as long as we may have if it had only been the two of us. A little about the Temple: The Temple was founded as a Confucian Temple and a huge statue and alter to Confucius remain there today. The huge pot of incense lingering nearby made this section of the grounds seem a little calmer and removed from… [more]

View of Viet Nam : Water Puppet Show

March 5th, 2007
Categories: Views of Viet Nam

water puppet show I’m a theatre girl. I hold a bachelors and masters degree in theatre arts and was active in the theatre community for many years. My husband shares this passion, so needless to say we were beyond excited to see attend the Water Puppet (Mua Roi Nuoc) theatre in Hanoi. We arrived at the theatre, chose our seats and exhaled. Just being in a theatre, on the other side of the world, was comforting and homey. Sure, the water puppet show is a tourist attraction and there are many shows per evening to accommodate the tourists, but it’s still an experience rich in culture, history and tradition. Water puppetry began with farmers in the North putting on… [more]

View of Viet Nam-Nagu Bear

February 26th, 2007
Categories: Views of Viet Nam

hanoi bear In Friday's Life With Ella post there was a bear in the picture (sitting in front of the map), and I love this little bear so much that I wanted to write about her. She's one of my favorite items that we got in Viet Nam. We ate quite a few meals at the Moca Cafe in Hanoi which is down near the lake, and near the Catholic Church. Walking around window shopping one day we came across this adorable little boutique shop and decided to go in. It was actually the cute personalized teddy bears in the window that drew me in :) We were warmly greeted and Ella was clucked and cooed at. They had a few… [more]

View of Viet Nam ~ Hanoi Hilton

February 19th, 2007
Categories: Views of Viet Nam

hanoi hilton We went with two other adopting families and our agency's coordinator to explore the infamous Hanoi Hilton. I was not especially looking forward to this trip and was nervous about what we might see. It was depressing and upsetting, but it's been turned into such a tourist attraction that some of the depravity is missing. The life sized statues of prisoners were the hardest to see~especially the room that held women and children. While we were touring the site our group was approached by a somewhat flustered American reporter who was looking to interview Americans and get our reactions to the prison. Well he saw gold when he found out that my dad is a Viet Nam veteran… [more]

View of Viet Nam ~ La Vie Bottled Water

February 12th, 2007
Categories: Views of Viet Nam

la vie bottled water While we were in Hanoi we survived on La Vie bottled water. We had been prepared to only consume bottled water and warned to never go near the local water supply. I had heard horror stories of people becoming violently ill from brushing their teeth with their hotel's tap water or getting a drop or two of water from their shower in their mouth. So we arrived sufficiently nervous and ready to do all we could to only use bottled water. Turns out that we really had no reason to be so nervous - bottled water is EVERYWHERE! Wherever we went - restaurants, shops, walking on the street, our hotel - you could request a small… [more]

View of Viet Nam ~ U.S. Embassy in Hanoi

February 5th, 2007
Categories: Views of Viet Nam

us embassy in hanoi Going for Ella’s exit interview at the United States Embassy in Hanoi was a positive and interesting experience. The picture to the right shows us outside the building after the interview was over. I didn’t really know what to expect, but our time there was much more low key and calm than I had anticipated. When we arrived our agency’s staff member Hoa had to wait outside. I didn’t realize that because she was not a U.S. citizen, she was not permitted in the building. We had our American staff member with us too, so she came in with us. Before we went through the very minimal security we ran into a family who was leaving… [more]