Backpacking With Mom & Dad in Vietnam

After 4 months of traveling on the cheap, my mom and dad bought backpacks and gave us a chance to share a bit of our current lives with them in Vietnam.

Sure, we let them spoil us…but not until we had initiated them first.

Over 40 painful hours of flying and waiting for delayed flights, my parents were finally here, in Hanoi!

Completely jet-lagged in the early morning, they pushed their confused bodies out of bed at 6 AM and we set out to the park to find a unique sight.

People walking while punching their chests, arms, legs, and moving their heads in funny ways. Couples dancing Lambada, Vietnamese Salsa and Tango. Groups doing some kind of slow-motion fighting aka Tai Chi. Badminton all over the place, and groups of men squatting down surrounding games of Chinese chess while smoking cigarettes.

For my parents, everything was so…. different!

IMG_2994.jpg

IMG_3011.jpgExploring our favorite sites around Hanoi

IMG_3032Amazing Hanoi food tour with Windy of Asia Pearl Travel

IMG_3043Overnight train from Hanoi to Sapa

A slippery start:

After a pleasant train ride, we found ourselves surrounded by some of the most amazing views we’ve seen in our lives at the rice terraces of Sapa. 2 minutes into our trek, we noticed a group of 6 women, about 70 years old and dressed in long colorful traditional clothes with Vietnamese sombreros, mysteriously following us.

“Don’t worry” said Vu, our guide, in surprisingly good english, “They only want sell you the souvenir.”

IMG_2752.jpg

Just minutes after beginning to descend the steep muddy hills, we found ourselves surrounded.

Two women were suddenly holding each of our arms, preventing us from rolling down the rugged mountain. It was pretty dangerous, but the situation was also absolutely hilarious!

Andres and I, too proud to accept the help, attempted to do it on our own. This is when the scene became even more hilarious as the women whose help we rejected now glued themselves to my parents, meaning they now had 8 hands holding each of them up!

IMG_2763.jpg

Picture yourself walking down a muddy hill and seeing your mom laughing her heart out, nervous about seriously injuring herself while being carried like royalty by 4 traditionally clothed women in their 70s!

Dad fell down so many times, and ended up so dirty, that the women mockingly called him “The Water Buffalo.”

IMG_2748Our guide Vu dressed in traditional clothing

IMG_2768.jpg

Rice is Life” in this part of the world. Billions of people rely on it for income, and even more rely on it to feed themselves.

IMG_2821.jpg

IMG_2847.jpg

After a few days of hiking and a lot of mud aerobics, we rewarded ourselves with good beer and massages.

IMG_2831

The beer was good…but those massages were painful!

IMG_2960

Before they continued spoiling us, we had to teach my parents a few lessons in budgeting:

Exhibit A: Paying for a checked bag is The Holy Sin for budget travelers; it must be avoided at all costs. So here we are layering up to reduce weight and avoid baggage fees. Hey, those $30 go a loooong way in Asia.

IMG_4313

Exhibit B: NEVER hire a private driver, travel local. We saved a few dollars and experienced a strange new bus format, a mix between a bed and a seat. Also, there were no other tourists.

IMG_3264

Finally they had enough of the budgeting lessons and decided to spoil us by takin a high-end cruise in the absolutely beautiful Halong Bay, also among our top 5 most beautiful places.

IMG_2984.jpg

IMG_2997

IMG_3001

IMG_3006.jpg

IMG_3054.jpg

IMG_3097Karaoke queens

IMG_3108.jpgOur attempt at Tai Chi

IMG_4184

IMG_4243

IMG_4250

After 3 days of relaxation in Halong bay, mom rented bikes and put us to work. We rode, swam, did yoga, and even became chefs for an afternoon, learning how to make all of our favorite Vietnamese dishes. If you want to try just let me know……I’ll ask my mom to make them for you 🙂

IMG_3236

If you know my mom, you know she is a fruit extremist radical fanatic. Throughout these 2 weeks she was in heaven with so many new exotic fruits she had never seen!

IMG_3239.jpg

IMG_3199.jpgBeautiful rambutan tree

IMG_3172

IMG_3123

IMG_3073Fruit trees are fair game for Sary in Miami, Vietnam or anywhere in the world!

IMG_3062Hung bi: a little sour, a lot delicious

IMG_3204.jpgJackfruits the size of my head!

Nos Encantó Can Tho’

In the southern town of Can Tho we woke up at 5am and soon found ourselves on a boat in the middle of the Mekong delta, navigating through local fruit wholesale boats where clients buy boxes of Rambutan, Hungbee, mangostine, Jackfruit, and others. If no tourists came here, the market would be exactly the same as today. This fact proves its authenticity, and since gems like these are not easy to come by, it was extremely interesting.

IMG_3154.jpgOne of the many fruit selling boats on the river

The last place we visited together was Ho Chi Minh City. Don’t let the guy below fool you, this is not a city for the lazy. Similar to Hanoi it’s noisy, dirty, and overwhelming but we enjoyed every minute of our last few days here together.

IMG_3251.jpg

Sharing part of our year with my mom and dad was special, beyond words… Thank you!!!

IMG_4368

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Backpacking With Mom & Dad in Vietnam

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s