Vietnam and Angkor Wat

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Richard’s five minutes of fame in front of a Vietnamese news crew.

The last 17 days or so constituted the longest period of time I’ve been away from this blog in more than three years. I simply forgot about the Internet when I was traveling through Vietnam and Cambodia with my family, only rarely checking email or throwing in a comment to one of the superb posts provided by my guest bloggers. No, I made a conscious decision to forget about The Peking Duck and my job and focus instead on the people I love and rarely see, and to pursue my favorite pastime, which I’ve neglected for way too long, i.e., reading. In two weeks, I consumed nearly three entire books (all of which I’ll review shortly). What a pleasure, letting go of all the daily routines that make up my life. Not that I don’t love blogging, but we all need a break sometimes.

This will be a short post, and I plan to continue blogging less and less as I focus on my Chinese classes. I started working part time this week, and my Chinese teacher remarked that she never saw me looking so relaxed and happy. We went on to enjoy the most productive lesson I’ve ever had. (Fear not – guest bloggers will continue to populate these pages with fresh posts, and no matter how much I insist I’m slowing down, I know I’ll keep at it.)

Vietnam was gorgeous, a sumptuous feast for the eyes and the taste buds. I went with my mother, my sister, my mother’s sister and my best friend, and I’ve never before felt so close to any of them. It was magnificent. We went to Hanoi, Hue, Saigon and Angkor Wat, and enjoyed a two-day cruise along Halong (sp?) Bay.

The photo above records one of the most interesting moments, when we were visiting caves along Halong Bay. A television news crew spotted me sporting a T-shirt of the Vietnamese flag, and they asked if they could interview me about tourism in Vietnam. In the photo, I am describing the thrill of seeing the huge limestone mountains that rise sheer from the water along the bay, making the traveler feel small and humble. They told me the clip would appear on the evening news throughout the country, thus ensuring my immortality.

The photo below is a beautiful shot of Angkor Wat captured by my friend. There’s too much to say about this day for one short post, so let’s just say it’s clear to me now why this is one of the seven wonders of the world. You stand there amidst the ruins, and you know what God and man is.

More descriptions of Vietnam, and more photos, to follow in the days ahead. Yes, it was a sublime experience, but it’s also good to be back.

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The Discussion: 13 Comments

I loved Vietnam. I’m actually looking to start some photostreams on flickr, and one of the first things I’m gonna put up are my Vietnam photos. I spent most of my time in Hanoi and Hoi An – which is awesome if you don’t spend all your time with the tailors and the western bars/cafes. Go to the beach with the locals for the crab and beer. Aaaahhh.

Richard, you totally lucked out on the TV interview. Those t-shirts are available frakkin’ everywhere! Right place at the right time.

October 18, 2006 @ 2:04 am | Comment

Vietnam is a place I’ve been wanting to see…I’ve heard Hanoi is still a beautiful city. One of these days…

Welcome back, Richard!

October 18, 2006 @ 3:05 am | Comment

Aww, this means my guest posting is at an end…..

On second-thoughts it means I don’t have to worry about the troll-patrol anymore! 😀

October 18, 2006 @ 4:25 am | Comment

I always imagined you to be far more attractive than you are.

October 18, 2006 @ 6:00 am | Comment

Thanks for posting the picture. I’ve always been curious to know what fellow TPDers look like. Now I can put a face with your name. Nevermind Jenny’s snide comment. I think you look hot in that patriotic T-shirt. ;b

October 18, 2006 @ 8:15 am | Comment

Wait a minute, I thought Richard was the one in the saffron robe standing in front of Ankor Wat….

October 18, 2006 @ 8:31 am | Comment

Raj, I still could use your help as a guest blogger – keep posting anytime.

Jenny, sorry to disappoint you, and thanks for your intelligent contribution.

October 18, 2006 @ 8:48 am | Comment

Sonagi, you should see him in his Lei Feng shirt! 🙂

October 18, 2006 @ 9:20 am | Comment

Congrats on the break, Richard, and the new focus on the language lessons.

:::Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.
-Mark Twain:::

October 18, 2006 @ 11:01 am | Comment

“Travel makes a man wiser, but not happier”

– Thomas Jefferson

October 18, 2006 @ 11:30 am | Comment

Actually I think Richard looks like a nice guy in that photo. Not a pretenious prick like some other people that used to hang out here….

October 19, 2006 @ 7:48 am | Comment


….why do I get the creepy feeling that one of them will find a way to plagiarise Richard’s photo, copying and pasting it in god know what way and saying it belongs to someone else? It seems impossible, and yet…..

October 19, 2006 @ 8:24 am | Comment


So they make themselves look even more immature – who cares?

“Oh, I have a beret and am pretending to look intellectual – I’m so FUCKTASTINGLY COOL!!!!!!!!!”

October 20, 2006 @ 1:51 am | Comment

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