Sunday, 7 November 2010

India, Vietnam and Life in Indonesia

The last two months have been very busy. I spent nights in India with my sister in law on a really lovely holiday exploring Delhi and Agra. We travelled by car between the two - and unlike what I thought before going - life in India is not 100% worse than life in Indonesia (for the poor people I am talking). Even the road from Delhi to Agra (4 hour drive = 200km) was not much different than driving around Indonesia (in fact in a lot of places it was a lot better).

So India was a pleasant surprise - yes it helped that we stayed in incredibly fantastic accomodation where everyone spoke very good english and all modern conveniences were there - but we ate locally and managed to not get delhi belly - so all was good.

I know we don't look that happy in this photo - but this was just after we entered - and there were actually tears in our eyes - not just from fighting off other tourists from this spot - but from finally seeing this amazing - muslim, hindu combined burial plot - a place that is so not over rated - it is breathtaking a true engineering masterpiece - so symetrical and clever.

After taking the tour with our guide - we spent an hour just people watching - oh, so much fun.

In September we went to Vietnam - only Ho Chi Minh City (Siagon) and the mekong delta. It was a brilliant holiday. Direct flight from Jakarta and our first flight on Air Asia - really great airlines - mostly on time, clean and easy (you can book and pay online - unlike some others in Indo).

We had a fantastic Tour guide - Sonny - a lovely 25 year old who knows her way around and organised everything. We don't usually do that - but we only had 3 days of tour guide stuff (C girl was going for a sleepover with a friend (the reason we picked Siagon instead of Hanoi) and so we had to squeeze everything in.

We went to the Chi Chi tunnels and the war museum during one of the days. It was a very different experience for the kids to be from the country of the enemy. What I had always heard as the Vietnam war is known there as the American War. The weapons that they made (from used US ammunition) to maime soldiers was amazing and unbelievably imaginative- the tunnels they lived in were fascinating, how they lived there without being spotted etc - we went through a slightly larger tunnel - C girl lasted 10m - then she was screaming hysterically - they did used to put pits in these tunnels with trap doors (and she'd just seen all the types of traps they used to maime - as it was pointed out - to kill a soldier only stops one soldier, injure a soldier and you tie up two soldiers).

Yes it was traumatic - but kids need to see what people are capable of and what war is about (which is why they have been to Dachau concentration camp in Germany 2 1/2 years ago). These are the places they shouldn't forget.

This is the little boat we toured the mekong delta on. Yes, it wasn't a bad way to travel. The kids don't believe me now when I tell them I travel in a dodgy boat for 2 hours up the Barito river with work - they think I mean a boat like this - I wish.

J left last weekend for Australia and started his new job on Monday - which thankfully he likes. We leave in just under 6 weeks (last day of school semester).
C girl has just finished a weekend in Phuket at a football tournament (where they came second) - last night we heard that the flights into Jakarta had been cancelled due to the Merapi volcano ash - just waiting now to find out if they are flying again. She left on Thursday - but she might not be back today after all. She is with teachers from school so they will be well looked after - even if it's in Kaula Lumpur for a few days (This is where Phuket flight goes to before flying to Jakarta - there is a great adventure park there with amazing rides, pools and slides). This is the first sports trip I've missed, but I'm the coach of Bear and Munch's team and we had a football tournament here yesterday (5 games - and we won overall), so I couldn't take them away from that to go to Phuket - plus I couldn't not be there for my team etc. Big decision - but if I was away now and couldn't get back - I'd be freaking out for the two younger ones (plus I've got to go away with work on Tuesday and how unfair would that be on those two???).

Anyway - we are on the countdown now to pack up and leave. Got a list of jobs I still need to do before they pack up the house in 2 1/2 weeks. Trying not to freak out.

J saw our house in person on Friday - he says it's "all ok". What a Man comment. The only extra I got was - 4 walls, a roof, some windows and a few doors.

Just missing the vital ingrediants to make it a happy home - US!

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