Monthly Archives: April 2014

Final Day in Hanoi and Back home! 子連れハノイ旅行最終日

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By the time we made it back to Tu Ling Legend in Hanoi, it was already past 4PM.  My sister and I patted ourselves on the back for returning from Halong Bay with a healthy happy toddler.  We unpacked and quickly got ready to leave again for dinner.  We decided to go to a nearby place recommended by the hotel. We picked up some shrimp “ban cuon” (Vietnamese rice roll) and custard pudding on the way home and went to bed early.

We had to leave again at around 8AM the next morning for our flight back to Singapore, and at that moment, I realized I hadn’t done much Vietnamese feasting at all. So I got up at 6AM, woke my sister and Mila and ran outside for some “pho”. Fortunately, the “pho” street stall around the corner from our hotel was supposed to be one of the better places, so we had two bowls of hot perfect broth to start the day. I miss having good “pho”.  I haven’t really found a GREAT “pho” place in Singapore, so it was great.  After that, I literally ran to the next “ban cuon” stall because I love love love the smoked meats in Vietnam and I had been eyeing the thinly sliced sausages the night before.  Both mini-meals were delicious and totally worth running out at 6AM for. I’m bitter I didn’t have the chance to grab a “banh mi” before I left, but that’ll have to be next time.

We said good-bye to Hanoi, and boarded the plane back to Singapore. Fortunately, we were able to secure a seat for Mila between the two of us, but the flight back was a bit of a terror.  Mila finally broke down and did not want to be on any kind of transportation anymore and screamed and kicked. It took a long time to calm her down.  Again, we were helped by a family that sat around us.  The 4 year old girl in front of us would stick her hand back from between the seat and make Mila laugh.  The aunties and grandmas in the row next to us would make funny faces and talk to her.  Even though Mila gave everyone a tough time, by the end, she was friends with everyone again, and when we got off the plane, the whole two rows around us got up and waved together, as they said, “Bye Bye Mila-Chan!  We love you~~~” I am very sorry that I wasn’t able to contain her anger for that two and a half hour flight, but also super thankful for the love and care of the other passengers.  I’ve been so lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful and understanding company.

We had a late lunch at the airport and arrived at home just before Nina so we were able to welcome her home from school for the weekend.  Nina jumped with joy as she saw Mila and gave us all hugs.  We hugged her back and showed her all the goodies we got her.  We got a very cute fashion show out of it, with both Nina and Mila strutting around in their new Vietnamese outfits.  The trip was totally worth it, but there’s nothing like being together as a family!

 

長ーいバス旅行を経て、ハノイに着いたころにはもう既に4時。我が家は早めにご飯を食べなくてはならないので、荷物をまとめてさっさと晩御飯へ。雨も降っていたので、近場の場所でおいしいところを教えてもらい、出かけた。晩御飯を食べながら、一歳児との旅行に付き合ってくれた妹を労い、ちょいゆったり。が、ここで、次の朝に出なくてはいけないのにろくにベトナム料理ちゃんと味わっていない事に気付き、晩御飯の後に、バンコンとプリンを買い込んで帰る。夜は早く部屋に戻って、流石にひっくり返った。朝、8時に出る前に、食べられるだけ食べるぞ~、と決心していた私は朝6時起床、妹と実良を叩き起こし、Phoを食べに出発。ホテルの近くのかどっこの店(というか、露店)が美味しいとの情報をゲットしたので、道端に座って、Phoをすする。美味し~。この味やっぱり好きだわ~。私はベトナムの燻製肉とか、ソーセージとかも大好きなので、昨晩見かけたバンコン屋さんへ走り、一皿。妹は朝の6時にエルゴに一歳児をしょいこみ、走って食べまくる姉に唖然。でもローカルのおばちゃんとかは笑ってた。なんとか出発時間前にホテルに帰って、タクシーで爆睡。

飛行機に乗るまでは、遅れもなく調子が良かったのが、乗った途端に実良さんがぷちきれ。遂に大泣き。なだめてもダメ、シートベルトサインも着いてるので動く事も出来ず、周りに謝る事しかできない。その状況でも、近くに座っていた大家族がとっても優しくしてくれて、とても助けられた。前に座っている4歳の女の子は前から手を出して、シールやおやつをくれたり、笑わせてくれたり。お姉ちゃん大好きの実良は大喜び。隣の列のおばちゃんやおばあちゃんも面白い顔して笑わせてくれたり、抱っこしようとしてくれたり、素敵な家族だった。降りるときには2列くらいの家族が皆一緒に立って、「Bye Bye Mila-Chan!  We love you~~~」とお見送りしてくれて、ご迷惑ばかりおかけしたのに、優しくしてくれて、涙が出そう。いつでも旅では色んな人が手助けしてくれる、そんなつながりを再確認出来ました。ニューヨークでも日本でも周りに助けられた事は何度もある、でもアジアを旅していてると、本当に子供に対しての愛情が溢れていて、子供を産んで良かった、子供を通して人と出会えて、良かった、と思える事が多い。

遅いお昼をチャンギ空港で食べて、保育園から新菜が帰ってくる前に滑り込みセーフ。ただいま~、と皆でお迎えすると、みらちゃーん!!!と抱き付いてきた。ママはええんかい!?それからはお土産を出して、ファッションショー。楽しい旅ではあったけど、家族皆で過ごす週末はやっぱり最高!ただいま、お留守番ありがとうね。もう少し大きくなったら、今度は一緒に行こうね、新菜ちゃん。

Hmmm, ban cuon with smoked meat. Sooooo gooood!

Hmmm, ban cuon with smoked meat. Sooooo gooood!

ban cuon, the thin crepes with the mint is so fresh and so good!

ban cuon, the thin crepes with the mint is so fresh and so good!

Pho!  Oh how I miss you so much!

Pho! Oh how I miss you so much! Love the ikea style squat chairs barely big enough for Mila.  

 

Charming uncle at the ban cuon stall.  Happy to pose for a photo : )

Charming uncle at the ban cuon stall. Happy to pose for a photo : )

Nina and Mila in a Vietnamese dress with a modern twist

Nina and Mila in a Vietnamese dress with a modern twist

The Ao Dai from ABC stopover.  Bright colors in silk.

The Ao Dai from ABC stopover. Bright colors in silk.

 

 

 

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Halong Bay with toddler 子連れでハロン湾

Halong Bay View
This Hanoi trip log is taking a lot longer than I expected…

The most difficult part of this trip, the loooong (with a 1 year old) 4 hour bus ride to the ferry terminal began quite early in the morning at 8AM. Mila woke up around 6AM, so we were all up, showering, packing and feeding and we just made it downstairs on time to catch the bus.  Our plan was to let her run around as much as we could until we had to board the bus.  Due to the early morning “run”, when we got on the tightly packed bus, she fell asleep and slept for the first 2 hours.  The hotel arranged the Fantasea cruise for us and the reviews we read were generally good, so we had high hopes.  The bus was a good sized tour bus, and the AC worked.  That’s all you can really ask for.

The bus made a pitstop at the ABC Stopover where there are some (overpriced) souvenirs and a small cafeteria. I actually bought two Ao Dai for the kids here.  I’ve had trouble finding silk pre-made Ao Dai for children that I liked in other cities I’ve traveled to in Vietnam.  The ready-made ones tended to be polyester and I wanted silk.  Most parents would tailor make a silk Ao Dai for children but I didn’t want to struggle with the little kids. Plus I always buy a bigger size for kids since their sizes seem to change every week. The ABC Stopover had really cute ones I hadn’t seen before.

Back on the bus and it was about an hour and a half to the ferry terminal.  Mila was generally in a good mood and with some assistance from other wonderful people on the bus, we made it to the ferry terminal before a meltdown.  Success!

The ferry terminal was very crowded and since it was drizzling that day, covered in dirt.  We were shuttled on to a boat named Dang Tam.  Cozy, decent seating, nice roof deck upstairs.  The boat dropped off half of the passengers on the overnight cruise and continued with the rest of us to the tour of Halong Bay.  The boats are NOT toddler/baby ready. They are fine regular tourist boats, but with steep dangerous stairs and a wide open back, They are definitely not meant for young children.  I was very happy to have the leash for Mila.  She kept wandering to the back of the boat and her favorite was the steep precarious staircase to the roofdeck. We briefly saw the overnight boat and it’s definitely not recommended for toddlers.

It was a very eery day at Halong Bay.  Very deep fog, couldn’t see very far ahead.  Suddenly, an island would appear here and there, then disappear back into the fog.  Beautiful and serene.  We had our lunch on the boat, the food was much better than expected. It was a full course of salad, “cha gio” (fried spring rolls), fried rice, chicken cutlet, fried whole fish, extra veggie dish.  I’m always impressed how they manage to get this much food out of a cramped ship kitchen. Being used to western tourist ships with terrible food, I thought the food was quite good.  Mila ate well on the boat, she loves the fried spring rolls.  It’s good to see kids being introduced to different foods at an early age.  I was impressed the other day when Nina picked up chicken feet in a soup and asked me, “Can I eat this?” and seeing my nod, just went on to gnaw at it until she ate all the meat (cartilage?) off of it. It may seem cruel to some, but I think it’s important to eat as much as you can from every animal that’s been killed for consumption.  Anyways, I digress.

After lunch, we came to the famous Dong Thien Cung cave.  It seemed like the entire island was made from limestone and the whole inside was a cave.  Breathtaking view.  It was unbelievable how beautiful it was.  The cave alone was worth the painful bus ride for me.

The next stop was a makeshift raft with kayaking option.  I stayed behind on the raft and my sister went out in a kayak since I couldn’t take that risk.  They kayaked the area where there were low caves that lead to big open space and some interesting rock shapes.  I hope to come back someday when the kids are older for this opportunity.  Marc would have absolutely loved this. Mila wandered around the raft and made friends, enjoying the scenery.

After this, the tour split up again and we changed to a different boat.  Sunrise something or other.  The second boat was not as charming as the first.  It had those tacky lights all over the interior like a high school disco night and was blaring music like it was 1999.

We opted to stay up on the roofdeck which was just a bit quieter. We chatted with some other travellers. Most of them were Westerners travelling through Asia on their trip of a lifetime.  They were either very young, or retired.  Funny how those two crowds come together.

We stayed the night on Cat Ba Island.  The bus ride once we reached the island was honestly a bit painful after a long day. Mila was passed out and exhausted and my sister and I were ready to do the same.

We stayed at Cat Ba Palace Hotel and this is one hotel I’ve stayed in Asia so far that I do NOT recommend.  The dinner was bad.  The lunch on the boat was much better.  Their “cari ga” (chicken curry) was probably the most watery and sad curry I’ve ever had. The room looked OK when we first entered, but for some odd reason, the whole room was damp and so was the bed. I showered with Mila first and by the time my sister got in, no hot water. I suppose it is a budget hotel, but I would have preferred to pay a bit more for a dry bed.  The staff was generally nice and helpful.  We were on the second floor which may have contributed to the moisture in the air.  The hotel was built up against a mountain, so its back was essentially a steep cliff.  We were exhausted from travelling and went to bed early, but were rudely awakened by very loud Karaoke from downstairs.  I guess the staff have their nightly Karaoke after they are finished with their work, but it was painful and sounded like they were singing in your head.  I went to ask them to turn it down a bit, they said, “just another half an hour?”  I hate to be the But-I-Have-A-Baby-Mom, but I had to pull that card since all three of us needed the rest.  They turned down the mic and we passed out soon afterwards..

The next morning, we were up early again.  Fortunately, after the Karaoke ordeal, we had a good night’s sleep.  We left the hotel at the same time, around 8AM, and went back to the small pier.  We were really hoping to see our Dang Tam boat back and were very happy to see it approaching the island.

Back on the boat and back to Hanoi, we encountered an entirely different set of people.  There was group of young Israeli guys.  I’ve noticed this more and more as I travel, guys from Israel and other areas of the Middle East love little kids.  It’s just an observation, but it’s nice to see because I used to think young guys didn’t really take an interest in young children.  They smiled at her, when she would trip, they would help her up and cheer her on as she (with support) climbed up the steep stairs to the roof deck and clapped when she finally made it.

This was the last day to enjoy the scenery so we hung out mostly on the roofdeck.  The way back always feels faster than the way there and soon we were back at the ferry terminal waiting for the bus to Hanoi.

The bus ride back was a bit tough since Mila had gone from enjoying the fresh air to being in a packed bus, and she was not pleased.  Eventually, she settled down and was chatting up the other passengers on the bus.  We arrived back at the hotel at around 4PM and were relieved to be back in the comfortable room at Tu Linh Legend.

ベトナム旅行、たったの4日だったのに、全然書き進んでいない…まだ食事のこととかあるのに。

それは置いといて、恐怖のハノイからハロン湾への道のり。何しろバスで4時間、それから結構延々と船に乗る。これを3歳児連れてやるのは無理だろうと諦めていたハロン湾。一歳児一人なら結構どうにかなりました。朝6時起きで準備と実良の運動もかねてお散歩し、朝ご飯もたらふく食べて8時のバスに乗ってほぼすぐ実良はおねんね。ツアーはホテルのお勧めでFantaSeaクルーズにして貰いました。レビューを読む限りはなかなか良いようで、バスも普通に大型観光バスで一安心。

2時間程行ったところにABCストップオーバーという観光ストップがあって、そこで軽食、トイレ、おみやげ屋さん等を散策。大きなデパートっぽい感じで綺麗にしてあるし、悪くない。お土産屋さんは凄く高いんだけど、いいものな気がする。これまで2度ベトナムに来ているのに、今まで子供達にかわいいアオザイを見つけてあげられていなくて。子供用にもう出来ているものは大抵ポリエスターせいのぺかぺかしたやつで。絹のものがなくって。テイラーしてくれるところはたくさんあるんだけど、子供二人を押さえつけて作るのもめんどくさく、しかもすぐ大きくなるからサイズの大きいものが買いたい、と思っていたら、なんと意外にもここで色もデザインもかわいいものが。お揃いでそろえられるので、ちょっと高いけど買っちゃった。新菜も喜んでくれたので、ま、それはそれでいっか。

ストップオーバーの後、もう1時間半。もう流石に寝てはくれないけど、バスに乗ってる方々と笑って遊んだりして、メルトダウン状態の直前で何とかフェリーターミナルまで着きました。ちょっとげっそり、でも思ったよりはまあまあ。一番のハードルはとりあえず超えた!

フェリーは雨が降ってることもあってドロドロ。20分程待って、Dang Tam号に搭乗。みたとこちょっとぼろっちいけど、後で何隻か乗ってみた中ではこれが一番良かったかも。ルーフデッキのチェアとかもちょっといい感じで。船泊予定の人達は半数が途中で乗り換えして、うちはこのままDang Tamで出航~。予想はしてたけど、小さい子供を連れて乗るにはちょっと危険な観光船。日本とかシンガポールみたいな安全第一のところから来ると結構びっくり。後ろとか、壁ないし。船の後ろに座って足ぶらぶらしてるお兄ちゃんとか気持ち良さそうだけど、子連れは怖すぎ。デッキに登る階段は狭いし急だし。何故にそこを登りたがる一歳児…もちろん実良さんにはお散歩紐とママがしっかりついてます。

ハロン湾は霧が深く、とっても神秘的。深い霧から島がぼうっと現れてはまた消える、あ~、この景色が見たかったんだよね~。晴れてたらもっと綺麗なんだとは思うけど霧の中もいいと思う。雨はやんでたので、上でゆっくりも出来て、リラックス。船に乗って結構すぐにランチが出ました。全然期待してなかったんだけど、これが意外を美味しかった。きゅうりのサラダ、チャーハンに揚げ春巻き、とりカツ、それに魚の丸焼きと他野菜。ゴージャスじゃん。あの小さいキッチンから良くこれだけ出てきたな、とびっくり。アメリカの観光クルーズとかと比べてもずっと美味しかった。実良さんも揚げ春巻きが気に入ってパクパク。どこでも何か食べられる子供って嬉しくなる。どこに言っても何か好きなものを食べられるっていうのは人と共有出来る事があるって事だし、嬉しくなる。そういえば、この間、新菜がスープに入ってた鳥の足をひょいっと掴んで、”これ、食べていい?”って聞いてきたので、”いいよ”って言ったら結構ニコニコしてそのまま食べてた…びっくりしたけど、いい事だな、とも。私はベジタリアンにはなれないけど、無駄にしない気持ちはもっと持つべきだと思う。この部位はいや、美味しいところだけ食べたい、じゃ無駄が多すぎるよね。そういう意味でも色々な文化に触れて何でも食べてくれるのはママとしては嬉しい。

それは置いといて、ランチの後は少しして、有名なティエンクン洞へ。実は私あまり調べてなくて、全然期待してなかったんですが、凄く綺麗でびっくり。しかも雰囲気からして、島全体に鍾乳洞があるようで、感動。他の島にもまだ知られてないだけで、こういう洞窟が無数にあったりもするのかな、と思うと、更に灌漑深い。この洞窟を見られただけでも長いバス時間も良かったかなと。

その後は近くにあるちょっとした浮舟みたいになってるところからカヤッキングのオプションが。この美しい景色の中でカヤッキング、めっちゃ行きたかったけど、流石に無理なので実良とお留守番。っていうか、この浮き島自体相当危ないわ。でもああ、この景色を感じたかったのよね、と思いながら妹が帰ってくるのを待つ。カヤックでは、低い洞窟を抜けると、また違う景色が広がっていたり、なかなか楽しい経験だったよう。マークがやりたがるだろうな、いつか子供達が大きくなったらまた来よう。

カヤックの後、カットバ島宿泊予定の私達は船を乗り換える。Sunriseなんとかっていう船は、中には90年代のディスコみたいなライトが…で、もうなんか変なテクノ系ずっとかかってるし。こりゃまいったな~、とルーフデックに逃げる。デックには年配の方とか若いアジア横断旅行中の人とかが旅行ダイアリーを書いてたりしてたので、一緒に座って少し休む。皆和気あいあいしてていい感じ。いや~、子連れやっぱいませんな。

カットバ島に着くころにはいい加減疲れも出てきて、ホテルにつくまでのバスが少し辛い。Cat Ba Palace HotelというFantaSeaの直営ホテルに泊まったんですが、ここがあんまり良くなった。食事もはっきり言って、船で出たものの方が美味しかったし。鳥カレーが水っぽい、肉がかちかち。食べたけど、うーん、もちっとどうにか出来たのでは?量は多いんだけどね。部屋自体はパッと見は普通だったんだけど、何か全体的にじとっとしてたというか、ベッドもジメジメ感があって巨大乾燥機が欲しかった。一日バタバタしてたので疲れて早く寝ようと思ったら下から大音量のカラオケが…何事かと思えばスタッフが仕事終わった後に宴会タイム。隣で歌ってるような音で寝れない。そりゃ早く寝過ぎといえばそうなのかもだけど、スタッフのカラオケタイムって...

音を下げてくれって頼みに行ったら”後30分我慢して”って、いや、無理。無理だって。赤ちゃんがいるから気を使ってよ、ってママにはなりたくないが、ここは流石に子供を理由に音を下げてもらってようやく安眠。うーん、FantaSea、ホテルはもう一声!カラオケのごたごたの後は爆睡したので朝はさっぱり。また朝の8時に出てピアへ。嬉しいことにまたDang Tamの船が来てくれてほっとした。もー、あのテクノ船だとハロン湾の空気ぶち壊しだもん。最終日はゆっくりしたいわ。

船でまた絶景をみながらフェリーターミナルまで、帰りはほぼずっとルーフデッキでくつろぐ。今回は船にイスラエルからの若い男性旅行グループが乗っていたんだけど、彼らが実良の大ファンに。もう子供が可愛くって仕方ないみたいでふらっとしようもんなら2人がかりで助けに来てくれるナイトぶり。私の偏見ですが、中東の方の若い男性は本当に子供を可愛がってくれる。今まで20代の男性から見ると子供なんてわけの分からない生き物なんだろうな、と思っていたけど、彼らは本当に子煩悩というか、泣いたら駆け寄って笑わせてくれたり、ルーフデッキに行きたいと急な階段を一生懸命に昇る実良を急かせるどころか応援して、着いたら拍手喝采してくれたり。いい若者達が多い。家庭内で皆で面倒みてるんだろうな~、と思う。こういう経験をすると、子連れ旅行もいいな、と感じられる。何かと物騒な話題の多い地域ではありますが、旅行中、またはシンガポールで出会う中東の若い男性には結構和ませて頂いてます。ま、許可なしで写真撮りまくろうとしたり、マナーのない人もいるけどね。でも、純粋に子供の好きな人もとても多く、それに救われる事もよくあります。もう船を降りてバスに乗る頃には別れがたいといった感じのお兄さん、かわいらしいです。

いい加減最後のバスでは実良さんもグズグズになったりもするも、周りの寛大さに助けられながらTu Ling Legendに到着。前に一泊しただけなのに、おかえりなさいませ、と言われてほっとする安心感。やっぱこのホテルいいわ~。FantaSea クルーズも全体的には良かったです。でも、Sunriseの船にあたっちゃうと、辛いかもね~。出発前に、うるさい船はいやだと伝えておくと、全然違うかもしれません。折角の旅行ですから、しっかりリクエストして、楽しんで下さい。

Halong Bay 1 Halong Bay 2

My sister on the kayak heading towards a cave

My sister on the kayak heading towards a cave

The cave my sister canoed through.  Pretty Cool

The cave my sister canoed through. Pretty Cool

Halong Bay 4 SmallDSC05456 Halong Bay 7

The view from the top of the island

The view from the top of the island

Cat Ba Palace Hotel Entrance  Looked OK...

Cat Ba Palace Hotel Entrance Looked OK…

Cat Ba Palace Hotel room.  It's gooooold, but moist....

Cat Ba Palace Hotel room. It’s gooooold, but moist….

Would be cool if I didn' have Mila with me.

Would be cool if I didn’t have a toddler with me.

The Kayak stop where I hung out with Mila for an hour

The Kayak stop where I hung out with Mila for an hour

And they are off!

And they are off!

The beautiful Dong Thien Cung cave

The beautiful Dong Thien Cung cave

The light shining in through

The light shining in through

Look at that!

Look at that!

I just thought this little house is cute

I just thought this little house is cute

Mommy, Seriously, this post is a bit too long...

Mommy, Seriously, this post is a bit too long…

 

 

Who Buy For You? 誰が買ったの?

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I picked up Nina one day wearing new yellow heels (Yes, I’ve been wearing three inch heels everyday of my life since I was 16, even when I was pregnant.  No, the ones I wore weren’t these but I wish they were! LOVE this photo! ).  Nina immediately took note and said, “Ohhhhh mummy, new shoooes, who buy for you??”  Why does my three year old daughter sound like a neighborhood auntie? The whole concept of the question bothered me…

Grammar!
The fact that the term “buy” was used annoyed me.
I don’t need to have “someone else” buy me shoes.

First, I assumed she got it from the other kids, but then I started listening and it’s not just the kids, it’s every person we meet on the way to school, the taxi drivers and even the teachers that ask, “Who buy for you?” for every item she’s holding or wearing.

But then, I tried to correct her, “No, the question is “who bought it for you?” and I was even more pissed off that I didn’t like that any better.  Then it occurred to me, I didn’t know what else to say.  Would “Who got it for you?” be any better?  Should that be asked at all?  How about “Oh, are those new shoes?” She’s not skilled enough to use a rhetorical question…she knows they’re new!

I asked Marc, and he said, ” If I were describing someone getting me something, I usually use ‘found’ like ’Daddy found this for me.’ since it implies that someone made an effort for me, not just put down the money.”

I guess that’s not bad…but I still don’t know what to teach her to say instead of the ever so infuriating “Who buy for you?”  Right now, I’m sticking to correcting her grammar.

What does everyone else ask their kids to say? I’ve asked around, and so far, every mom has agreed that they hate it too, but I haven’t gotten a solid what-to-teach-them-instead…

ある日、新しい黄色のヒール(そうです、私は妊娠してる時でも10センチのヒールを履いてたほどヒールの好きな女です)を履いて新菜を迎えに行くと、来たー、シングリッシュ。

“Ohhhhh mummy, new shoooes, who buy for you??”

ま、雑に訳すと、”ママ新しい靴ね~。誰が買ったの?”

これね~、腹立つのよね。お節介おばちゃんそのものの口調でさ。

1)過去形は?(Buy)じゃなくて(Bought)でしょ。他にも文法的にボロボロでしょうがぁ。英語っていえないでしょうそれ。
2)買うって言葉を子供が使う事自体、お金の話だけみたいでいや
3)ママが自分で買ったんじゃなくて、誰かに買って貰わないといけないみたいじゃん。確かに今仕事してないけど、かっちーんと来る代表みたいな言い回し。

他の子供のマネしてるのかな~、と思ってしばらく聞き耳立ててみると、い~え、バスのおばちゃんから先生まで、皆そう聞くんだもん。もう新菜の持ち物全てに関して何度もきかれてる。こりゃ覚えるわ。
しかも、直そうと思って自分の口から出たのは、”Who bought it for you?”でしょ、と文法だけ治した言葉。自分に切れた。内容変わってないじゃん。それじゃダメだよ母親。かと言って、

”Who got it for you?”も訳すれば同じことだし。質問自体がいらん質問なんだけど、かといってオブラートに包んで、”それ新しい靴?”とか修辞疑問(わ、日本語難しい)なんて高度なテクを3歳児に教える事も出来ず。何て言えばいいんだろう?日本語ならどういうんだろう。日本人の子供は訊かないのか?

で、マークに訊いてみたところ、う~ん、誰かが自分にプレゼントをくれた場合だったら、Foundを使うな。“Daddy found this for me.” (パパがこれ、見つけてくれたんだよ)って感じにね。そしたら、その人が自分の事を思って探してくれた、っていう感じがするでしょ、Buyだとお金出しただけみたいだしね。とさ。
悪くはない、でもまだ質問として確立出来てないな~。とりあえず今のところは文法をなおすのにとどまってるんですけど、さて、他の皆様何て教えてるんだろう。色々聞いて回っても、”うちもそれやる!良くないのよね~”って感じで。どうしてくれよう。言語は難しい…

photo credit: EraPhernalia Vintage . . . (playin’ hook-y ;o) via photopin cc

Walking Around Hanoi ハノイ子連れ散歩

I love the hustle and bustle of a growing city, especially in Asia. The noise, the motorcycles, the old buildings that look like they might be falling apart, but still keep some of their beautiful past. I love buildings in Vietnam with their splash of colors and crazy wires everywhere.

Or I did, until I was traveling with kids. Suddenly, the wires are weapons, motorcycles are like a Roman war chariot, the noisy crowd is like bloody murder screams that wake napping children and old buildings are health hazards. Especially with a wandering toddler who is used to having other people avoid her, it’s not easy to maneuver in a city in Asia. You have to remember that you’re visiting and your common sense means nothing regarding safety. I mean, I had some “love taps” from motorcyclists (engine still off) who wanted me to move out of their way. I’m carrying a kid! Not my usual scene in the US or Singapore.

When you travel with young kids, you leave a place to get to a place, there has to be a purpose, we have to figure out where to eat, get there, eat, run back and stay on schedule. When the place we want to go to is not open for whatever reason, we get upset. We have to change our plans, find the next cleanest option available while we still have our snacks to please them. It gets pretty stressful. Especially when you have two toddlers, it isn’t that much fun. Hence, Marc’s lack of interest in Vietnam.

But there is so much beauty in the old buildings, the grungy looking old stalls and a corner cafe where people lazily spend their days. Mila had to be on that leash again and kept very close to me at all times, or be in the Ergo, but she still enjoyed the attention she got, the random toy shops and the occasional snacks. With a one and a half year old, the walk was somehow quite enjoyable. No offence to my perfect husband, who doesn’t always appreciate the ordinary in the same way I do, but my sister and I share similar views on old buildings and the mundane. We found random street corners beautiful and fun. With her, I can just wander, like I used to. There are more smiles with children, an extra nod, and I remember what it is like to enjoy a city without going anywhere ‘special’.

I sincerely enjoyed travelling with just the girls, so sad it will probably be a long long time before we get to do this again. Hopefully someday, it will be us four girls, together, travelling and finding wonders in all corners of the world. Marc, don’t be jealous, but there’s a reason we sometimes need a girls’ night out as much as you need your boys’ time.

We did all the appropriate preparation too, bunch of baby food squeeze tubes, backup restaurant research, reserved taxis. The hotel was super helpful with all that and made sure they recommended a place we could get to easily ; )

So I wandered around with my sister and took pictures. Wish I had a better camera and the skills to use it, but hope you get to enjoy some of it.

私はアジアの街の喧騒というかごちゃごちゃが結構好き。バリバリ走ってるバイクも古くてボロボロいになってる建物も、それなりに情緒があるというか、何となく惹かれるものがある。ベトナムは特にぱっと明るい色があったり、色んなところに緑があったり、それなりに美しいと思う。そんな事言ってられたのは子連れ旅行の前まで。子供連れてたらワイヤーなんて凶器だし、バイクは戦車みたいだし、人混みは子供起きるから入れないし、おんぼろビルは色んな意味で健康に悪いし、崩れてきたらどうしようってもう危機感しかない。ホテルを出て、直タクシーでお目当てのところに行って、開いてなかったら次の場所を選んでおかなきゃ、とかそれでもお腹すいてご機嫌斜めになったらどうしよう、とか無駄な心配ばかりしてしまう。ところが今回は結構平和だった。やっぱり感性の似てる妹と旅すると、同じものをみれるので、急く気持ちがなく、ゆったり散歩出来たんですよね。もちろん子供のいない頃とは比べられないし、実良は迷子防止紐でピッタリくっつくかエルゴで背負って歩くんですが、1歳半だとまだ色んな人が構ってくれたり、おもちゃ屋さんをみたり、たまに貰えるおやつだけでも楽しめるんですね。三歳児はやっぱりもっと遊び場に連れて行かなくてはダメだったりするので、もっと大変。やはり普段家族で旅行する時って目的地を決めて、そこへ動くツアー方式になっちゃうんで、それが上手くいかないとイライラしたりもするのが、妹とだとのんびり女子旅行出来て、ただ街を歩いて、あのビルの感じいいよね、って言ってるだけでも楽しい。嬉しい発見でした。妹とゆっくり旅行したのにこれが初めて。普段は両親かお互いの旦那さまや子供着きなのでこうは行かない。もう多分しばらくは無い事かな、とは思いますが、とても楽しかったです。そのうち娘達ともこんな旅が出来るようになるのかしら。

もちろん子連れなので、ホテルを出る前に色々お目当ての店とバックアップを調べたり、子供のおやつの確保、タクシーの手当て等は先にホテルでリサーチ済み。ホテルの方も子連れ様に生きやすい場所等を教えてくれたのもありがたかったです。

そこで、散歩しながら撮ったハノイの写真を幾つか。

Not a huge fan of the dessert, but love the colors

Not a huge fan of the dessert, but love the colors

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Mila and her friend at the toy shop

Mila and her friend at the toy shop

...What happened to the bottom half?

…What happened to the bottom half?

Cool building

Cool building

I had those funny bouncing dolls when I was Mila's  age

I had those funny bouncing dolls when I was Mila’s age

Party City!

Party City!

Vietnam(Hanoi and Halong Bay) with a toddler 子連れでベトナム(ハノイとハロン湾)

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I’ve always wanted to go to Halong Bay, but it’s a difficult choice since it’s a long bus/boat trip from Hanoi.  With two toddlers, we had our reservations. In fact, Marc, who is half Vietnamese, refused to go to Vietnam anymore while the children are young, since we had such a chaotic time on our last trip.

But when my sister casually pitched doing a sister’s trip to Vietnam, Halong Bay immediately came to mind. With an extra pair of hands, maybe, just maybe, I could pull this off.

I did ask Marc if he had any interest in coming along, but the answer was a resounding no.  He also suggested leaving Nina at home since he did not want to keep disrupting her school schedule and routine (we had just gone to Phuket a few weeks before).  He could put her to bed and help her in the morning.  She goes to daycare full time, plus we have an awesome helper that can look after Nina if need be.  Nina didn’t enjoy Vietnam last time either, so it was quickly agreed that Mila, who hasn’t started daycare yet, would come with me to Vietnam and we would go during the week, so the family could be back together for the weekend.

My sister was planning on a budget trip, but with Mila, I needed some level of comfort, so we decided on a budget of USD50-100 for our stay in Hanoi. We figured that should get us a decent accommodation since when we went to Ho Chi Minh, Marc’s grandmother was staying at a place for only USD30 a night (she negotiated the deal) and it was actually pretty nice. With no negotiator this time, we figured a 50-100 would be a decent enough budget. We planned to arrange an overnight trip to Halong Bay, staying in a hotel to for safety concerns.

We looked exclusively at hotels in Hanoi that had “Family Room” offerings, as I’ve usually found hotels that offer family rooms to be more helpful with a toddler.  We booked Tu Linh Legend Hotel since this one seemed to have a nice family room, was very responsive on email and was offering lower rates for advanced booking directly through the hotel. Even when we had to push the trip back 2 weeks because of my sister’s jellyfish accident, they were accommodating and re-booked us right away.

The schedule was pretty much a roller coaster ride

Mar.18 – Leave Singapore in the AM, arrive at Hanoi around lunch time
Mar.19 – Leave Hanoi in the AM, See Halong bay (Night at a hotel)
Mar.20 – More tour of Halong Bay and head back to Hanoi expecting to arrive around 4PM
Mar.21 – Leave Hanoi in the AM and arrive back in Singapore around 2PM

On the way there, we flew just me and Mila and she was perfect.  8AM, got on the plane, slept for the first 2 hours and ate the last hour.  We got off the flight and my sister was there, along with the hotel pickup. It was truly one of those moments when the stars aligned.  Hanoi was very hazy, but unlike the Singapore haze, it didn’t have that terrible burning smell, so it didn’t feel half as bad.

Tu Linh Legend Hotel is located in the tourist area of town and it’s pretty convenient to hang out around Hanoi. The hotel lobby is simple and clean, has comfortable couches, computers, a friendly doorman and lobby staff. Every single staff member was friendly, spoke English decently well and loved children.  They had tea, coffee, bananas and milk in the lobby and they were very good about refilling that tasty plate of bananas that Mila downed.

The family room was quite spacious, though from the photos on their website, I thought the room had two king beds; it turned out to be one king bed and a folding bed.  The folding bed was quite small and uncomfortable and I took the couch since my sister has a bad back and needed the bed.  She’s fairly picky about her bed, but was pretty comfortable, even with Mila rolling around next to her, so it was a nice space for a family.  I actually have this weird obsession with sleeping on the couch, so I was actually quite comfortable. I’m sure they had a baby cot if we had asked, but I knew Mila was going to end up on the bed anyway, so I didn’t bother.  As long as there’s enough room, we are good!
**When we came back from Halong bay and stayed another night, instead of the folding bed, they had a small mattress and my sister was happy to sleep on that. So I guess you can probably request it if you don’t want the folding bed**

There’s also a water boiler (meant for tea) for those of us who may want to take extra caution with washing water-bottles for the babes. I don’t usually sterilize water bottles for a toddler, but considering the bad water in Vietnam, the hot humid climate and other risk factors, while I travel, I sterilize the pacifier and straws and small pieces of the water bottle that accumulate bacteria quickly.  My kids have never been sick on a trip fortunately, and that’s one of the safety precautions I take.  It may be irrelevant, but better safe than sorry.

The room was also very clean including the bathroom so we were happy with the accommodation.  All of this for USD45 a night, pretty good!

Here’s the website for Tu Linh Legend Hotel and the tripadvisor reviews. When we went, there were not mane reviews, but it looks like it’s getting great reviews now!
http://tulinhpalacehotels.com/tu-linh-legend-hotel
http://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Hotel_Review-g293924-d5063732-Reviews-Tu_Linh_Legend_Hotel-Hanoi.html

シンガポールに引っ越した時から、(いや、もっと前か)ハロン湾に行きたかったんだけど、ハノイからバス4時間プラス船、子供連れては無理だと諦めてました。

実際ハーフベトナム人のマークでさえ、二回子連れでベトナムに行ってから、もうごちゃごちゃしてるし、子供が大きくなるまで行きたくない、と諦めてたので、無理かな~と思っていたところ、妹が姉妹旅行に行かない?と誘ってくれて、大人の手もう1セットあれば行けるか~、とまたしても無謀な事を…

一応マークには一緒に行く?どうする?と誘ったところ、即時に、行かん、平日行って来て、週末帰ってくれば?とのお返事。しかも新菜無理に連れてかなくても、どうせデイケアに行ってる方があの子は楽しいだろうし、自分が夜帰って来て寝かせたりするから置いてけば?とのお言葉。いいのか~!?実良一人で大人二人ならどうにかハロン湾まで着けるかも?と思ったのでブッキングしちゃいました。

妹は今回はセミバジェット旅行との事で、20から30USDの比較的安宿に泊まってましたが、流石に幼児連れて失敗したらきついので、私達がいる間はUSD50から100までで探そう、という事で、色々探しました。うちもホーチミンに行った時はマークのおばあちゃんの泊まっていたところにUSD30で泊まったけど、あそこの良かったので、ま、50から100だせば十分なところに泊まれそうだし、マークほったらかしの旅だし。後は、ファミリールームのあるホテルを探すこと。ファミリールームをわざわざ作ってるところはやはり家族連れに理解があるし、部屋以外の点でも融通がきいたりするのがうれしい。色々見た結果、メールの対応も早くて、大きめのファミリールーム有り、しかもアドバンスブッキングの場合はがっくんと値下げもしてくれる、Tu Ling Legendホテルに決定。こちら、出る3日前に、妹のクラゲ騒ぎで日程が二週間変わった時の対応も良く、ハロン湾ツアーも組んでくれたので、とっても助かりました。

スケジュールはちょっと強行?
3月18日(火)朝シンガポールを出る、昼ごろにハノイ
3月19日(水)朝ハノイ出発、バスでハロン湾移動、船でハロン湾を回る
夜はホテルステイ
3月20日(木)朝ホテルを出て、船でハロン湾をもう一廻りしてハノイへ戻る
3月21日(金)朝ハノイを出てシンガポールへ、2時ごろ到着

行きは実良と私二人だし、どうかな~、と思ってましたが、朝早いフライトの為に起こしたせい(おかげ)で、朝8時に乗ってすぐ爆睡。最初の2時間寝て、最後の1時間は食べてたので問題なし。飛行機を降りたら丁度ホーチミンから着いた妹とホテルの運転手さんが待っていて、こんなに上手くいっていいのか~、と結構テンション上がったりして。ハノイは意外にもヘイズに包まれていたけど、はっきり言って、シンガポールのヘイズ(インドネシアから流れてくるあれね)程くさくもないし、余り気にならず。

Tu Linh Legendホテルは観光地のど真ん中にあって、とっても便利。美味しいものも回りにあって、ハノイをうろつくには申し分ないロケーション。スタッフは全員フレンドリーで子供ラブで英語も問題なく喋れる。豪華ではないけど、メンテのしっかりされた綺麗なロビー。コーヒー、紅茶、バナナとミルクはいつも補充されていて、実良はバクバクいただいてました。

ファミリールームも広いし(写真だと小さく見える)、バスルームまで手入れがちゃんと出来ていて綺麗。ただ、ウェブでみたところ、大きいベッドが二つあるものだと思っていたら、キングベッド一つと折りたたみベッドが一つ。折り畳みの方は使えたもんじゃなかったので、私はソファで寝させていただきました。私はなぜか昔からソファで寝るのが好きんんだよね。つくづく貧乏性なのかなぁ。で、結局キングベッドの方に、背中が悪くてしっかりしたベッドでしか寝れない妹と、ころころ実良が一緒にねるはめに。一回は妹が顔をけっ飛ばされたようですが、まくらで防衛して過ごしたとか…ベビーベッドは聞けば持ってきてくれたんだとは思いますが、どうせ夜起きて泣きそうなのでパス。

子連れでアジア旅行する時に部屋にあるととっても助かるのが水沸かし機。本来コーヒー用に常備してあるんだろうけど、水が信用できない、暖かいところにいる時は一応幼児のを水筒のストローとかを煮沸するのに大活躍。それさえあって部屋が綺麗なら、後はそれほど気にならない。おしゃぶりとか水筒のストローとか細かいところはばい菌がたまりやすいので、煮沸しとくと、気休めかもしれないけど、いい気がする。実際うちの子供達は親がお腹壊しててもぴんぴんしてる。アジア育ちはやっぱ違うのかなぁ。

お部屋はバスルームも含めて丁寧に掃除してあって、綺麗でした。これでUSD45!最近リゾートばっかりだった中で、このお値段でこのサービス、うーん、ベトナム、侮れない。朝ごはんは、まあまあかな。フライドヌードル、フライドライス、野菜一品、卵ステーション、茹でたまご、パン、スープ、おかゆに果物と一通り揃ってます。どれも可もなく不可もなく、なお味。パン、果物ゆで卵は実良のおやつ、お昼用に頂いて行けるので、ありがたいです。実良はおかゆも好きなので、よく食べておりました。

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The dining area for breakfsat

Tu Linh Legeng Hotel

The small bed, the couch and the king bed

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The small couch area to hang out

And She Speaks! 喋った!

Mila at 15 months is picking up new words every day.  I spoke (or tried anyways) a lot more Japanese with her and was in a more Japanese speaking environment so I was really, really hoping her first words would be Japanese.  I guess “Mama”, “Papa” (Pop-Pop), and “bye bye”  are kind of Japanese… I’ll take it.  That was followed by “fish” (feeeesh), “please” (pu-liiiiiiiiize), and “peace” (peeeeesh).  Well, I guess I’ll count “peace” as “Japanese.” If you’ve noticed, her words are all “eeeeesh” and they all sound the same to everyone else but me.  My biggest issue is that I’ve fallen back into that “please” trap again.  It’s just so much easier to point at a water bottle and say “Pu-liiiiize” than “Omizu kudasai” in Japanese.  Again, there are easier Japanese words to ask for something, “Choudai” or “Hoshii” but the words are not really part of my vocabulary since it’s more in line with “Gimme” or “I want”, which I’m trying to get rid of in Nina’s speech.

Oh well, she’s starting to talk, it’s a fascinating time. I know, which language shows up first doesn’t mean much in the end, but I was trying to boost her Japanese earlier than I did with Nina, so I’m having a bit of a FAIL moment, that’s all.

The other thing is that Japanese is a very greeting heavy language.  There’s no universal greeting like “Hi” and “Bye”. Each word tends to also have more syllables.

i-tte-ki-ma-su* (5) vs. Bye (1)
ta-da-i-ma** (4) vs. I’m home (2)
ko-ro-n-ja-tta (5)  vs. I fell down (3)
o-ka-e-ri-na-sa-i*** (7) vs. Hi (1)
a-ri-ga-tou (4) vs. Thanks (1)

*greeting devoted to announcing when you are leaving your own home

**greeting devoted to announcing to your family that you are home

***greeting devoted to welcoming a family member’s return home

…..how many greetings can one remember in their first two years of life!?

I have the feeling she’s saying these words, I just can’t understand them since her mouth can’t enunciate each sound. If she has a choice of saying 1 or 2 syllable words in English, obviously, she will use them first.

She’s saying plenty of English words:  “shoes”, “nana” (banana), “turtles”, “bubbles”, “bag-bag” (backpack), “mine”, “daddy”, “wa-wa” (shower), “more”…..and the infamous “I want”

Exciting times ahead!

実良ちゃん15か月、どんどん言葉が出てくる時期に突入。長女の時よりずっと日本語を使っていた(つもり)の私はこの時期に賭けていた、日本語いけーっっっと。が、う~ん。ママ、パパ、バイバイ、は日本語って事で、いっか。そうしよう。

後は基本英語 Fish (feeeesh), Please (Pu-liiiiiiiiize)と Peace(peeeeesh)ま、ピースも日本語って事にしちゃえ。他人が聞いたらシイイイイイとしか聞こえないんだけどね。親にはその僅かな差が分るんだけども。

やっぱりお願いってのがネックになっちゃうんだ。そりゃそうよね。水筒指さしてPu-liiiiiiiiizeって言う方が、お水下さい(新菜は言う)より言いやすいもんね。かと言って、ほしい、ちょうだいを始めると、新菜さんも折角お水下さいが言えてるのにほしいになっちゃいそうなので、使えないので結局実良は今のところ英語で意思疎通してます。

何にしろ、実良が喋りだした。これから楽しくなるぞ~。どちらの言葉が先に出ても別に大差ないはずですが、新菜の時は余り日本語に気が回ってなくて、今回は結構頑張ってたつもりなのちょっと日本語に先に出て欲しかったかな、なんて。

でも日本語は最初に出てくる挨拶言葉の数と言葉ごとの字数が多いから子供も英語の方が喋りやすいんだろうな、とも思う。だって、英語はとりあえず、HiとByeあれば挨拶は通るのに。

いってきます (5音) vs. Bye (1音)
ただいま(4音) vs. I’m home (2音)
おかえりなさい (7音) vs. Hi (1音)
ありがとう (4音) vs. Thanks (1音)
長っ。多分朝とか帰ってきた時にもごもご~、と言ってるのは言ってるけど、まだ音がはっきり出てないんだね。

英語は他にも結構出てきてます、shoes, nana (banana), turtles, bubbles, bag-bag (Backpack), mine, daddy, wa-wa (shower), more…..そして、恐怖の “I want” きたよ~。これ嫌なんだよ~。

これからも発展が楽しみ、が、バトルも増える予感。