Welcome to The Wedding Travelers!

We are rob & lauren: two professional photographers who love weddings and travel. This is where all of those things come together for us. Within these pages we hope you discover and sense our deep love for the cultures that we encounter and experience. Our biggest hope is that you come away from this site with a great understanding, respect and love for them and their ways. Enjoy!

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Cherie & Kevin | A Vietnamese Portrait Session Tuesday
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (written from India)

So it has been pretty near forever since we took these photos, and we hinted at them, but we managed to get ourselves really busy, and Rob has been steadily working on the hundreds of photos we took of these guys, but we never put anything up. Well the time has come that we’ve thrown together some of the photos we took of Kevin and Cherie while we were in Ho Chi Minh City. Yeah, I can hardly remember that either! But let’s take a trip down memory lane shall we.

We met Kevin and Cherie in Edmonton as we were talking about their wedding photography. While chatting we found out that they were going to be in Vietnam at the same time as us. We all figured it would pretty much be the coolest thing in the world to do a portrait session of them while in Vietnam, and so that’s exactly what we did. Just to be fancy we actually did two, so let’s start off with the “normal” one.

portraits, vietnam

portrait session, vietnam 

portrait session, vietnam

portrait session, vietnamportrait session, vietnam

portrait session, vietnam

portrait session, vietnam 

portrait session, vietnam 

portrait session, vietnam 

portrait session, vietnam 

portrait session, vietnam 

And now for the really exciting stuff (not that that wasn’t exciting, but this is even more so!). Kevin and Cherie were in Vietnam to get their clothes made for their wedding in Canada. And they had just finished getting everything together before we got there, so these outfits were ready to be photographed! And traditional Vietnamese wedding outfits are beyond cool! Here is Kevin getting ready with the help of his mom
vietnamese wedding dress, vietnam

And Cherie doing the same, with Kevin's mom playing make-up artist (check out that amazing hat!)

vietnamese wedding dress, vietnam

Some detail of Kevin’s outfit

vietnamese wedding outfit, vietnam

And detail from Cherie’s (the outfits are made out of Vietnamese silk, and have the long coloured tunic over white pants, along with the really cool hats)vietnamese wedding dress, vietnam

Nice and easy to get it started

vietnamese wedding dress, vietnam

And then we started to really use the location. We were at some big theme park thing just outside of HCMC and it was really a photographer’s playground! Enormous credit to Kevin and Cherie, who stood on this bridge for who knows how long, incredibly still, as Rob and I took a million photos. They really were champs. And the photos really were worth it I think!

vietnamese wedding dress, vietnam

vietnamese wedding dress, vietnam

vietnamese wedding dress, vietnam

Kevin has the best smile, his eyes really get into it!
vietnamese wedding dress, vietnam

And Cherie looked so classic, like she was meant to wear a Vietnamese wedding gown

vietnamese wedding dress, vietnam

And together, it was magic ;)
vietnamese wedding dress, vietnam

There’s no better way to finish up a relaxing and romantic photo session than by seeing vicious crocodiles! Right?? We wandered into this little pond area, thinking it’d be a nice background for some shots, and found ourselves right in the middle of thousands of crocodiles. Seriously. I think we may have put pictures up of these crocs before, but here’s another one just to drive the point home.

crocodile, vietnam

Scary. Like, I was honestly really scared. But we survived! And came out of there with pictures coming out of our eyeballs. There are still so many more to go through, but I hope you guys enjoyed seeing these and getting to peek at what a traditional Vietnamese wedding outfit looks like!

Category: Adventures

Tags: Ho Chi Minh City, photography, vietnam, weddings

The Road to Dalat Is A Bumpy One... Friday
Ho Chi Minh City, Dalat and Nha Trang, Vietnam

And the way there is fraught with many perils. And is also stinky. Very stinky. But let’s start at the beginning shall we?

As you saw in our last post we spent one of our last days in Ho Chi Minh City at the Cu Chi tunnels. Here’s a video from that experience that you might enjoy.



And finally the time had come for us to say goodbye to Ho Chi Minh City. On our last night in the city our friend Kevin and his dad drove to our hotel and picked us up on their scooters. They took us on a ride so we could get the experience of a scooter journey in HCMC. It was definitely a thrill, but strange things were going down that night. We saw a really, incredibly drunk pair of Vietnamese guys topple their scooter over, fall to the ground with no helmets on, then hop back up and drive off. And while we were enjoying some sugar cane juice with Kevin and Cherie we saw a street brawl between two other Vietnamese guys (I can only assume they were drunk, as that seems to be an important component of such an event). Weird, weird stuff. But at no point did we feel unsafe, so you don’t need to worry about this being a rough town! Here’s a little video Rob took as we were jetting along on our scooters.



And finally the event we had been waiting in Ho Chi Minh City for so long for….the arrival of our Indian visas! We made our way to the consulate early in the morning, had the customary wait that is required when you are doing anything official, and BAM! Two passports complete with visas in hand, and we were ready to hit the road.

And this is where things got interesting.

Days earlier we had found a transit company that offered buses to our next destination, Dalat. With the help of our translator, Kevin, we found out where to go and when to catch the bus. They even gave us a little pamphlet that showed us the times and location to get the bus. However, this pamphlet was entirely in Vietnamese. Not one word in English. This should have been our first clue….

But of course we went along our merry way, caught a taxi, and they dropped us off at this bus station. We were expecting to see a ton of huge tour buses, but in fact it was a small, little place, with rows of chairs, and no buses to be seen. That’s okay, thought we. We marched inside, and Rob set out to get us a couple of tickets. As I’m sitting with the bags I notice that it’s taking him an incredibly long time to just pick up a couple of tickets. I also look around and see only Vietnamese people. Not a single tourist in sight. Hmm….

Rob comes back and says that it seems like we’re on a bus at 2:00PM (it was around 12:00PM now and we were hoping to leave at 1:00PM) and it was a 16-seater bus (we were wanting a big 45-seater). But apparently the girls at the counter didn’t speak a lick of English and Rob had a tough time getting what we wanted across to them. He went back to try to figure it all out, and one of the staff members came up to me and basically made it clear that it was our turn to go. I was quite puzzled, since it was only around noon, and apparently we weren’t leaving until 2:00PM. I waved Rob back over, and we grabbed our bags and were loaded into a little van. I honestly had no clue whether this was to be our transport to Dalat. The seats were old and worn, and our driver swerved in and out of traffic like a slalom skier. Little did I know that after finding out how we were actually going to be traveling, I would have happily chosen the little van over it!

So we bump along in our transport, with no clue where we are off to. And when we finally got there, we really wish we hadn’t. There may as well have been sign that said “Welcome to the Urinal Depot”, because that’s what we’ll forever remember it as. It reeked. Badly. Like urine. Just in case you didn’t get that from the “Urinal” part.

Add to that the smell of about 100 buses coughing fumes, and you can see why we weren’t too pleased to be there. We get out of the van, grab our bags, and stand helplessly amidst the buses. Thankfully our driver sensed our confusion, and said a bunch of things in Vietnamese, then led us to the café.

In case you’ve never been to Vietnam, a café can very easily consist of some tiny plastic chairs (think of the ones designed as lawn chairs for children), tiny plastic tables, and some umbrellas. Out in the middle of the pavement.

He motions for us to sit down. I do so with little problem. Rob, who is very much not of  normal Vietnamese stature, sits down in his chair, then laughs, and stands back up to demonstrate the fact that the chair sticks to his bottom, because it is so desperately small for him.

We whip out our books and begin to pass the time by reading. And also by inhaling the fumes of the running van a meter behind us. This is Ho Chi Minh City, and it is sweltering, so we weren’t too pleased to be blasted with hot, stinky air. We weren’t too pleased with anything at this point. But this is what traveling can be like, and we’ve had a very similar experience waiting for a ferry in Greece, so we just sit and read and hope that whenever we’re supposed to get on our bus someone will tell us.

Well, eventually someone finds us and motions for us to follow him. We go through the motions of putting our books away, getting our bags ready, stand up, and….Where did he go? We peer around, start to slowly walk through the vans, and generally look like some lost, baby deer. Then he suddenly appears again, and waves to us to follow him. So we start walking through the buses again, and have to take a little detour because the bag won’t fit between two of them. By the time we get out into an opening where we was standing but moments before, he has once again disappeared.

I’m starting to feel like Alice chasing the white rabbit.

We wander again, many Vietnamese men motion at varying buses and at us and seem to have very important things to tell us, but it’s all in Vietnamese, and our grasp of the language doesn’t extend beyond pho bo (beef soup) and sinh to (fruit shake). And they were using neither of those phrases, so we were out of luck.

We stand for a while, then suddenly he pops up out of nowhere and motions us towards a small little bus that here is known as a 16-seater.

Please note that this means 16 Vietnamese people, traveling in Vietnamese style (i.e. crammed in like sardines).

At least the sign on the front says Dalat. We’re getting somewhere.

We bring our bags around back to put them away. Two of them get in there alright, but our large camera bag doesn’t look like it is going to fit, and we’d rather not watch him slam the door on it, as we’re sure it would be accompanied by the crashing both of our cameras and our dreams, so Rob holds on to it. We walk around to the door, and it opens to reveal…


A damn tiny bus.


And luckily for us, our seats are in the very back, crammed with two other people in our row. Wait, make that three other people, because the woman was holding her young son on her lap. We literally barely even fit in our seats, and had three bags between the two of us to hold. The leg room was so scarce that neither of us could sit with our knees straight forward, as they would bump into the seat in front of us. And we needed to contort our limbs into pretzels in order to actually fit in some way that didn’t involve Rob’s elbow in my ribs, or my kneecap in his thigh.

I sat there and knew that this was going to be a very very long ride.

And it was. It was about seven hours to get to Dalat, including a pit stop where I had my first encounter with a squat toilet (not as fun as you’d think), and we watched kittens playing (way more fun than you’d think). We both attempted to sleep, though that definitely didn’t happen.

And we became intimately aware of the poor condition of the roads in Vietnam, as we bumped along, and upon many occasions became completely airborne, sometimes by about a foot.

We said a silent thank you to Steve Jobs, and those awesome folk at Apple for inventing the iPhone, as we spent the last two hours of the ride watching The Matrix, which helped time pass better than counting black shapes in the darkness. Did I mention that twilight here lasts about 30 seconds? One moment I’m reading my book, and by the time I’ve flipped the page it’s pitch black and I’m SOL.

As we got closer to the ETA that we calculated when we left HCMC (I’m in an acronym mood right now, it appears) the bus started pulling over, and people started getting out. At very very random places in the middle of seemingly nowhere, without saying a word to the driver. At least I don’t think they said anything…It was incredibly strange, and we were starting to wonder how we were to know that we were supposed to get off.

Well, the way to know when you’ve arrived at your final destination in Vietnam is precisely when the driver hops out and throws your stuff onto the street.

He jets off and leaves us there around 9:00PM in a bus station, which we desperately hope is in Dalat. The only other person we immediately see is a very intrepid motorcycle driver who wants to take us into town. This tiny man on his tiny bike wants to take me, Rob, and our 6 larges bags into town. We chuckle at his optimism and tell him “No, we need a taxi”. “No more taxi” he tells us. Did I mention it was raining?

So we start to walking towards a building with lights on, in hopes of figuring out what to do next when a little green van driving by stops, and some Vietnamese guys inside yell at us “Where are you going?”. “Hotel”, we reply. “Yes, get in”.

They may as well have said “Yes get in and I’ll tell you all about how you just won the lottery”, for as good as it sounded to us at the moment.

So we pile into the van, and pick a hotel from the Lonely Planet and say we want to go there. They convey this to the driver, and off we go. Before they get out they let us know that we don’t have to pay for this ride, it’s complimentary from our bus company. People here can be genuinely, incredibly nice, and we were very glad to have met some of them.

Then we met the other taxi driver.

After the local guys had piled out, and it was just the two of us foreigners left (read: easy marks) another taxi driver came up to the window and told us about a very nice hotel room for very cheap. “No thanks, we want to go here”.

”No, it’s closed”

“It’s not closed”

“Yes, it’s closed. I have a very nice room for very cheap.”

“No, we want to go here.”

“It’s closed”

“No, it’s not closed”

“You say it’s not closed. Okaaaayyyyyyyy” Like he thought we were crazy.


It wasn’t closed.

Duh.

Remember that if you’re ever traveling. As I hear it, it can be pretty bad in India. Just stick to your guns, and if you get there and it really is closed, you can still find somewhere else.

So, it wasn’t closed. We were proven right. But it was, in fact, full for the night.

Did I mention it was raining?

And though that could have been a wee little disaster right there, luckily in Vietnam you can’t spit and miss a hotel (or however that saying is meant to go) so a two minute walk down the street brought us to a two star hotel (they were very proud of that fact) for $20/night that only smelled mildly of sewage, and so we took it.

And that was our journey to Dalat.

Since it was pitch black there when we arrived we had no idea what to expect. When we checked in to the hotel they asked if we wanted to partake in the breakfast buffet. “Sure!” we said. (Mistake).

The girl at the desk happily informs us that she can give us a wake-up call at 7:30AM so we can get breakfast. Our happy faces turn into sad faces. But we figured we’d wake up, sleepily walk downstairs, have breakfast and walk back upstairs back into bed.

So 7:30AM rolls around and we are woken up by knocking at the door. Apparently our line was busy so she came to the room (in all fairness, the staff there were super awesome, and totally helped us out a lot while we were there!). We trudge downstairs, expecting to see a restaurant somewhere full of people. We saw nothing of the sort. With confused looks, we go to her, and she tells us that the restaurant is actually 100m down the street. So we take off, walk quite a ways down the street, see absolutely nothing, so we walk back. One of the security guys springs to action when we say that we can’t find it, and says he’ll take us on his scooter. So he and another guy rev up their engines, and take us right back the way we just walked. Only difference, they went about 10m further around a corner, and there it was.

So we’re finally here, we figure we might as well enjoy it. We burst through the doors expecting to be welcomed with the smell of waffles and eggs. And instead the smells of noodles, fried rice, dumplings and “fish gruel” (as Rob describes it) meet our nostrils. Mmmm, breakfast of champions.


But we eat, get back to the hotel, and arrange to rent a scooter for the day. About 10 mintues later a very friendly guy who says he loves the snow but has never seen it (that’s why he loves it, he doesn’t know how freakin’ cold it is)  shows up and gives us a scooter for the day.

Scooter rental: 100,000 Dong (around $6)
Filling it up with gas: 50,000 Dong (around $3)
Total freedom: Priceless

We found a map, brought along our handy Lonely Plant, and took off down the road. Some of our best memories of our trip to Europe involved jetting around the Greek Islands on a scooter, and we were very glad to be doing it again. And we sure got our monies worth with some breathtaking scenery. Let’s get to some visuals shall we?

Our first stop was a cable car that promised breathtaking views of the area. I think it came through.



The cable car took us to this little area with some pagodas and whatnot. We just wandered around, avoiding the legions of small schoolchildren who were visiting that day. One thing you don’t see at home, bamboo growing all over the place!

bamboo, vietnam

We followed a path that took us down to the water. The skies were just fantastic, sometimes a clear blue sky isn’t always the best.

boats on the water, vietnam

The ubiquitous motorcycle, everywhere you go.

motorcycle, vietnam

The steps leading back up

stone steps, vietnam

And after we made our way back across the cable car we stopped for a little snack. These have become our favorite treats, and it’s funny because we’ve actually had them back at home in Edmonton, from the local Asian grocery store. They are ice cream bars that taste just like honeydew melons. Rob bought two and had both of them finished before I had finished my one…. I have sensitive teeth….

honeydew melon ice cream, vietnam


The entrance to the cable car had some really interesting trees and Rob grabbed this awesome shot of one of them.

tree, vietnam

The view of the city from where we caught the cable car.
dalat, vietnam

Then it was back on the scooter, a quick look at the map, and off we went again. This time we were heading a bit further out of town, but we were up for the adventure. The Lonely Planet had mentioned that you would be taking a dirt road. What they should have called it was “the crappiest road you’ve ever encountered”. There were two tiny paths on the very shoulders of the road where people tried to avoid all the bumps. Didn’t work that well. Every jolt sent a shockwave of pain into my brain. It definitely wasn’t too fun. But that’s the price you pay for independence ☺

And I would say the views we got were worth the pain. Here’s a little video of some of the scenery.



Finally we made our way to our destination: Tiger Falls. And because we made our own way out there, we were the only tourists in the whole place, so we were able to enjoy the scenery all alone, without any kids tearing around, or people screaming in 20 different languages, and the tour guide herding you back to the bus before you are ready. Just peace and quiet and a ton of water.

tiger falls, vietnam

I sat and read the guidebook while Rob took some shots

tiger falls, vietnam

He took some really really amazing shots.

tiger falls, vietnam

Then when we were hiking back up we had the option to go left, the way we came, or right, a brand new way. Naturally, we went right. And came across the bridge that crossed over the falls. It certainly wasn’t like any bridge you’d encounter in Canada.

wooden bridge, vietnam

It was a bit scary

wooden bridge, vietnam

And we had to walk very cautiously

wooden bridge, vietnam

But it was definitely fun. Here’s a little video just to get you even more scared



And then it was back home. Here’s our trusty stallion, our scooter

scooter, vietnam

And a sign that we saw as we were driving along. Apparently the Vietnamese don’t care for the sound of trumpets. Who knew?

no trumpets, vietnam

And a final shot, as we were driving around looking for some place to eat dinner. One of the strange features of Dalat is a radio tower shaped like the Eiffel Tower. I had to get a shot of it, because who would really believe that this was here, in the middle of Vietnam? But it is, and it was really funny to drive through the streets with this huge thing looming in front of you.

eiffel tower, vietnam

And that about sums up Dalat! We left the next morning, bright and early. A mini-bus picked us up from our hotel at 7:15AM and we were just praying that we weren’t in for a repeat of our last journey. When we pulled up beside a big huge tour bus, and saw lots of white people standing around, we knew we were safe. 7 hours later, and we find ourselves in Nah Trang, a beach town. We’re in a room that costs $15/night, has WIFI, and we can see the ocean from our room.

And it smells nothing at all like sewage. We’re very happy.

Category: Adventures

Tags: bus trip, cu chi tunnels, dalat, eiffel tower, Ho Chi Minh City, landscape, Motorcycle, rain, tiger falls, Traffic, travel, vietnam

What's New in Ho Chi Minh Tuesday
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Alrighty kids! Let’s get down to some blogging.

First off, at this point in our trip, after having logged many hours of walking, we thought it was about time to give some credit to our shoes.

Yes, our shoes.

If you’ve ever traveled before, you know that it involves huge, huge amounts of walking. And if you have shoes on that aren’t comfortable, it can be misery. Add to that the fact that this place is hot, and you need something that isn’t going to make your feet super sweaty.

Well this time around we took a chance on an unknown shoe, and boy are we glad. Rob remarks about once a week that he could live in these shoes.

Meet our Sanuks!

sanuk sandals

And I guess the makers would appreciate me saying that these are, in fact, not a shoe. They are designed to “mimick the natural function of the foot”. They like to call it “Barefoot Untechnology”. And I’ll tell you right now, these babies work. For the first couple of days we definitely felt some soreness in our feet. There were muscles there that we don’t usually use with our fancy schmancy hi-tech shoes. Now that we’ve gotten used to them we can wear them all day and barely feel a thing. It’s so amazing, we really had to recommend them to any other travelers. Here’s another shot more close up. They definitely look really cool, we think. And they don’t stick out the way bright white running shoes do…..Please don’t wear bright white running shoes! ☺

sanuk sandals

So another cool thing we did was check out a lacquerware factory. Lacquerware is a big thing here in Vietnam, and you can see it being sold all over the place. It was really amazing to see what actually goes into making it. This is where they apply the lacquer and sand things down. This guy was just working away as we walked through.

lacquer factory, vietnam

A close up of him sanding. The white parts of the panel are made out of eggshells that are broken into very small pieces.

lacquer factory, vietnam

This woman was working on putting the eggshells on. They use goose eggs instead of chicken, as they are stronger. Bet you didn’t know that!

lacquer factory, vietnam

And this guy was painting designs on. They really have incredible skill, and the painting they do is so intricate.

lacquer factory, vietnam

Now here’s a common site in Vietnam. Iced coffee! They make it with very strong coffee, a ton of ice, and condensed milk. Think about that for a moment. Amazing. To tell you the truth it takes like a Tim Horton’s Iced Cappuccino (Iced Capp, as we Canucks like to say), but more flavourful, and less simulated.
iced coffee, vietnam

Those two were actually both Rob’s. He tends to drink one in 30 seconds, so he always orders two. The men here will nurse one of these for 4 hours as they sit and watch traffic go by. Rob has a long way to go before he manages that!

Now one of the really nice things about this past week here in Ho Chi Minh city is that a couple of our friends from Edmonton have been here. Actually, let’s call them our “flients”. That’s a term I concocted to describe clients of ours who have become our friends. So Kevin and Cherie are flients of ours. And it just so happened that they were planning to be in Vietnam the same time we were. So we’ve been hanging out with them and having a ton of fun. The other night we went out for dinner and found this insanely cool place. It had tons of tables with grills for the meat, but it was all open air with tons of lights and lanterns and huge trees. The ambience was just amazing. The food was pretty tasy too.

grilled meat, vietnam

chinese lantern, vietnam

lights, vietnam

Those crazy cool flients of ours, Kevin and Cherie. Trust me, you will be seeing a LOT more of them very soon ☺

kevin and cherie, vietnam

lanterns, vietnam 

Now, I know we haven’t been posting a lot these last few days, and for that we definitely apologize! I’ve actually had a bit of the stomach flu and have spent a ton of time trying to recover in the hotel room. So we haven’t been out too much. Now if you’re like me, when you’re stomach isn’t feel too hot you want some familiar food. So we went out in search of some pasta. And did we ever find it. This is what I got for dinner, served in a clay pot red hot from the oven. It was fantastic, and I was so happy to have something familiar in my tummy!

pasta, vietnam

Man, this post is just loaded. Yesterday we ventured out to the Cu Chi tunnels. This was an elaborate network of tunnels dug by the Viet Cong in the American war. Here’s one of the guides showing us a cross-section of the tunnels. They were three levels deep, and had kitchens, living rooms, and escape routes. They even created a system to let the smoke from the cooking escape in a manner that kept it small so that the enemy wouldn’t notice it. Very impressive.

cu chi tunnels, vietnam

They have widened the tunnels so that the tourists could fit through them. But they have one that shows the original size of the openings. There was no way Rob would fit, but I managed to squeeze in there.

cu chi tunnels, vietnam

It sure was narrow though!

cu chi tunnels, vietnam

And last night we made our way to the post office to send some of our gifts back home. That was a crazy adventure in of itself, which I will write about later, but on the way out we decided the play a bit. Here’s a shot of the impressive post office of Ho Chi Minh City, and we tried to write “Vietnam” over top of it. Hard to do, and we didn’t do the greatest, but it was still neat looking!


post office, vietnam

And one last shot. A wide view of the street below our room at night time.

street life, vietnam 

Well all, that’s it for now! We’re hopefully leaving tomorrow to Dalat, and then things will really pick up! But we still have some cool stuff up our sleeves from HCMC, so stay tuned.

Lauren ☺

Category: Adventures

Tags: cu chi tunnels, food, Ho Chi Minh City, lacquerware, post office, street life

Welcome to HCMC! Friday
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Well, well, well here we are! Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Formerly known as Saigon. And honestly an insanely cool place to go. Like I mentioned before, neither of us really knew what to expect from Vietnam, but I’ve gotta say that I’m so glad we made our way here! Within moments of driving through the streets on our way to the hotel we got a sense of the charm and character of this place. The photos will really tell you more than I can with words, so lets get started!

Our airplane from Singapore to Vietnam.

tiger airways

A shot from the balcony in our hotel room of the typical street scene

street life in vietnam

Many of the women here actually wear the conical hats that you see in movies. It adds such a dimension of authenticity, it’s fantastic. They all ride around carrying whatever it is they sell. I believe this woman was selling strawberries.

street woman with strawberries, vietnam

The street that our hotel is on. Sure it looks crowded and crazy, but it’s so simple and real at the same time.

street scene, vietnam

So when I ordered a coconut juice at a local café I definitely wasn’t expecting this! To be honest I wasn’t a huge fan, but it sure looked cool.

coconut juice, vietnam

There are street side markets all over the place, and our hotel room is a short walk to Ben Thanh, one of the big ones. Here are some of the fruits they are selling. I really don’t know what they are! But they look interesting ☺

fruit at a market, vietnam

The Ben Thanh market caters not only to tourists, but also the locals to come here to buy their meat and produce. We were quite shocked to find that all of this seafood is actually still alive!

seafood at a market, vietnam

The market is crammed with hundreds of booths selling everything from shoes, to handbags, souvenirs, dried shrimp, coffee, tea…you name it! Most of the booths look like this, completely packed!
market booth, vietnam

We’ve grabbed a couple meals at the market. This fried rice surely had some sort of addictive substance in it, because there was just no way to stop eating it.

fried rice, vietnam

And of course when in Vietnam you have to have a bowl of pho. It’s pretty much the staple here, and is eaten at any time of day. It’s a simple soup, with rice noodles, onions, and meat. But it’s just incredibly good, and we enjoy it immensely.

pho, vietnam

Here’s Rob getting right into it!

pho, vietnam

A shot from our seats where we were eating. This was all the meat for the dishes that they were preparing.
market meat, vietnam

And a very typical street scene. The women carry so much on their shoulders, I can’t even believe it. And they always, always do it with a smile.

woman carrying goods, vietnam

A shot from our walk home. The walls here all have the most incredible texture and character to them, Rob is loving getting shots of it all.

bicycle, vietnam

And this is what the roads look like. As you saw in the videos below, crossing the street is a bit of a gongshow. There are an insane number of scooters here, like they comprise 90% of the vehicles on the road. And from the outside the traffic looks like complete chaos. But somehow they manage to get by with out ever colliding. Honestly, there have been times when we were in a cab where we simply couldn’t believe that we would get through it all, but somehow the scooters magically part and you just sneak on through. It’s beyond impressive. If only Edmonton drivers were this good ;)

scooters, vietnam

All the drivers on their scooters wear face masks because the pollution here is so bad. We literally have not seen the sun yet!

scooter masks, vietnam

At all the intersections the power lines look like this. It’s beyond nuts! Our power was out yesterday, and I think they just routinely shut down different parts of the city. All the restaurants and shops had generators out on the sidewalk so that they could keep business going.

wires, vietnam

So as you can see this place is really incredible. There’s such a different feel to it than Singapore. Yes, here you are constantly berated with calls of “What you looking for, madame?” and “Let me help you, madame!”. I definitely get it worse since I’m so obviously white, and Rob’s just an enigma to everyone. I think people who have trouble with personal space might have a hard time here, as I’ve been gently grabbed on the shoulder quite a few times by over-eager shop keepers, but I’ve learned to just keep going, and stay chilled.

Same thing with the street crossing. It may have looked incredibly scary on the video, but after doing it once you really get the hang of it.

For any of you planning on visiting Ho Chi Minh City in the future, and are worried about the crossings, I’ll give you the scoop. All you need to do is understand how it works, and it’s easy as pie.

First, you check the road, and which way the traffic is flowing, and at what point it changes direction (for when you are crossing traffic going in both ways) so you know when to switch and start looking the other way. Do not step out if a bus is just about to come your way. They have the rule of the road, and don’t really stop for anyone. You stop for them.

Then you slowly step out into the road. Yes, there will be scooters careening at you from every which way. But the key to is to walk slowly. That way they know where you are going, so they can swerve around. Don’t start to run, that would pretty much be the worst thing you could do! Just walk nice and slow, small steps, and don’t be afraid to just stop and wait for cars or buses to go by.

It’s quite the experience, and I know things are similar in Dehli, so I’m glad we’ve earned our wings with street crossings!

So that’s the scoop so far. We’ll be posting again soon with something different, so stay tuned!

Lauren ☺

P.S. Just a couple of house-keeping things! We just wanted to let everyone know that they can feel free to post about us on their own blogs, and grab a few pictures (keeping the logo on of course!). We think it’s so awesome that people are spreading the word about what we’re doing! Just make sure you drop us the link so we can check it out! And HUGE thanks to all that have done so so far, we totally love you guys!

And also, sometimes when we’re working on pictures or surfing the net we’ll have our Skype open. You can feel free to add us and chat with us if you wish! Our username is “robnlauren” so say hi!


Category: Adventures

Tags: Airplane, food, Ho Chi Minh City, street life, Traffic, travel, vietnam

A Couple of Teasers From Ho Chi Minh Wednesday
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Since we've been here a couple days now and haven't shown you anything, we thought we'd give you a little teaser. There's more to come later!

 

 

At the end of that second video you can hear Rob saying "I thought he was going to charge me 600,000 Dong for that..."

 

The currency here in Vietnam is the Dong, and 15,000 is roughly $1 Canadian. Rob was talking about some sunglasses that he bought, and how he thought the guy was going to make some ridiculously high offer!

 

But we'll tell you more about our adventures later. We had a very busy morning (with tons of photos taken) and we need a nap!

 

Hope you are all doing well!

Lauren :) 

 

Category: Adventures

Tags: Ho Chi Minh City, Motorcycle, Traffic, vietnam