Category Archives: Travel

Taipei – Day 2 (The Night Market) 子連れ台北二日目(夜市)

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Toys Toys Toys! The night market fun

Nina fell asleep on the way home and was very disappointed we were no longer in the mountains.  I told her monsters come out in the mountains at night, so we can’t stay and she agreed to stay in the city.  Three year olds are still cute!

We got back to the city and headed out to the night market.  We went to Shinlin Market, which is I guess the more touristy market in town, with lots of baubles and fun things…and food! I remembered that it was mother’s day and so when the kids started to get grouchy, I used my “it’s my day, I’m not carrying children!”  So Marc carried both kids.  (Marc swears he offered gallantly, without being whined at, who to believe!)  Nina is a relatively small three year old, so she still managed to squeeze into an ergo on Marc’s back and Mila happily clung to his shoulder in the front.  The kids played peek-a-boo, shaking Marc, but he stood tall as I ran around the market looking for food.

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Shake Shake Shake! ……evil kiddies….

Taiwan is well known for having perfect produce.  Fruits in Singapore are pretty sad.  Since everything is imported, they are often over ripe, or hard.  We started with the mangos to soothe the kids.  Taiwan mangos look smaller than what I usually see in Thai or American mangoes, but they are super sweet and fragrant and the children devoured them.  I like green mangoes, so I tried the pickled mangos which were amazing.  Similar to South American mangos served with salt, lime and chili, these pickles had some beer in them to give them a little kick.  I couldn’t finish them all, but it was pretty good on a hot summer night.

I also bought a bag of custard apples, not like an apple at all.  Green fruit, never looks ripe, when you cut into it, has several black seeds and has very soft white flesh, reminds me a bit of a mix of 30% apple and 60% Japanese white peach with 10% of something I can’t quite pinpoint.  Whatever, they were the best I’ve had.  I’ve given up on buying them in Singapore, but had them in Thailand and Indonesia and this one was by far the best and the biggest.

At this time, you can tell I was in panic to feed the kids…I don’t have pictures of all the beautiful fruits! Well, comes with the territory of traveling with kids….

After the fruits, I got some beef bbq with scallions in the middle, junky, tasty morsal. SmallDSC05920 SmallDSC05921

 

The children’s favorite was the fried milk.  It looks like different recipes call for different milk, some use plain milk, some use condensed milk and others add a bit of coconut milk.  Whatever those sweet things were made of, they were one of our faves.  I went back three times to satisfy the kids (and my) craving.

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It’s hot and yummy!

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To give Marc the protein he needed to keep those kids on his back, I got him a Taiwanese sausage from an uncle that was dancing through the night.  He also made Nina jump on Marc’s back and almost fall over… We had a baked-on-the-spot bao for Marc to top him up and we were all happy and tired to go home and to bed.  Yeah, the night ended at 9PM.  Yeah, we travel with kids.

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This dude was dancing thee night away!

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No Fish? Asks Nina. No hells no.

Just can't get enough of them turtles....

Just can’t get enough of them turtles….

新菜は猫空から降りてくるバスで寝てしまい、街に戻ってきたことにご立腹だったけど、山は夜になると怖いよ~、モンスター出るよ~、と言いくるめた。まだまだかわいい三歳児め。 結局休む間もなくないとマーケットへ。シンリンマーケットは大きい観光客にも人気のマーケットなので、6時にはもう結構忙しく。

台湾は果物が美味しいので有名。シンがポールは輸入大国なので、熟れ過ぎか、かっちかちかでトロピカルフルーツはあるのに美味しくなかったりする。例えばこちらのRose Apple。いっつもスーパーで売っているので、一回買ってみたのだけど、生だととても食べられたもんじゃなくて、ジャムにしてみたけど、それもいまいち。結局捨ててしまった苦い経験が。それがマーケットのおばちゃんがサンプルで出してくれたやつが美味しかったのよ。さすがに買おうとは思わなかったけど、へー普通に美味しい果物なんだ、とびっくり。とりあえず、台湾マンゴーの切ったやつ。台湾マンゴーはタイやインドのものより小ぶりだったけど、ねっとり甘くて…娘たちに食べられました… 私はマンゴーの漬物を一袋買って、ポリポリしながら歩きました。まだ熟れてないちょっとすっぱいマンゴーを塩、チリとビールでつけてある感じ。ラテン系のお店でよくマンゴを塩、チリとライムで食べるのと似てるけど、あれよりもう少し漬けてあるからポリポリ感がサイコー。ビールが入ってるので、大量には食べられなかったけど、美味しかった。

果物はもう一種類、カスタードアップルを買いました。これ、アジアに来てから知ったけど、やはりシンガポールで食べて、どこがカスタードやねん、と思ったけど、タイやインドネシアで食べたら結構おいしかった。台湾のは更に大振りで、甘くて、極上フルーツって感じ。色々アップルって名前ついてるけど、皆全然アップルじゃないよね。カスタードアップルは緑のうろこついたみたいな外観に中には大き目の黒い種と白い実。お味は3割りんご、6割白桃、1割スイーツ、みたいな?食べきれないだけ買っちゃったので、子供が寝てからおやつにまた食べました。え~、この時間帯、あんなに素敵な果物の写真を全くとっておりません。それもありよね、子連れだと。

この時点で、子供達はフラフラしてくるし、ご機嫌斜め。そこで母の日権利発動でマークに二人とも担いで貰いました。本人は自ら背負っただろ~、と言ってますが、どうだったっけ?新菜はエルゴでおんぶ。実良は前にだっこ。がんばれパパ。回りのおばちゃんにアイヤーとか言われながら、子供たちのいないいないばー攻撃に耐えながらマーケット散策を続けるダディ。 私はその間、走り回って、マーク好みの食べ物を探し、貢ぎ(自分も食べるし)ものをゲットしておりました。

まずは、甘いもので子供の期限を治すべきFried Milk(揚げ牛乳??)なるものをゲット。作り方は調べてみると、牛乳にコーンスターチと砂糖だけのものから、練乳やココナッツミルクを使ったりと色々ですが、これは、基本ミルキーのトロトロあったたかいバージョンってかな?懐かしい味。美味しいので、3回戻って買いました。 これで子供は機嫌も直り、お腹も膨れたので、ダディの為に奔走して、ねぎ巻バーベキュー、ソーセージ、ころっけまん?みたいなのを買い食い。どれも美味しかったです。 お腹が一杯になったらもう大人も子供も寝る時間。そうです、まだ9時、でも子連れ旅行だと基本さっさと倒れちゃうので、夜遊びまで発展しません。でも子供とガヤガヤする旅もやっぱり楽しい。

Taipei – Day 2 (First Full Day) 子連れ台北 猫空(マオコン)

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Maokong Gondola (Closed!) and Tea Houses

Day 1: …was spent flying and reuniting with our friends. Overall, the trip went well. Day 2: The kids were restless as they always are on trips, and we had a slow morning. The plan was to go and enjoy some mountain time. Singapore is very flat. It’s great for stroller walking, running and biking, but sometimes, I miss the beauty of the mountains. We took the MRT to the Taipei Zoo stop, which was supposed to get us close to the Gondola. Unfortunately, the Gondola was closed for the time we were in Taipei, from May 5th – 19th, for maintenance. Lucky for Marc who is scared of heights. The glass bottom ones would have been fun for him. No problem, easy to catch a taxi up the mountain.

Marc did some research and decided to go to Yaoyue Teahouse. A bit isolated up the mountain, but we had a great view over the tea plantation. The food was good, a bit on the salty side, but perfect with tea grown on the mountain. We enjoyed tea smoked duck, noodle in tea soup, tea oil fried chicken with fried chunks of ginger, and some veggies. The waiter came over with the traditional tea pouring set and prepped the first cup for us. The scent of the tea was fabulous. Slightly sweet, refreshing smell, the leaves are fresh and whole. The entire mountain in fact smells like a tea plant, almost like jasmine, but lighter and fresher. Just breathing the air was a treat of it’s own. The teahouse was visited by local families when we were there. Nina and Mila walked around and enjoyed the view. Mila made friends with another toddler there.

Entrance of YaoYue Teahouse

Entrance of YaoYue Teahouse

Tea serving set at Yaoyue Teahouse

Tea serving set at Yaoyue Teahouse

Tea Smoked Duck and Tea noodles

Tea Smoked Duck and Tea noodles

Tea and ginger fried chicken  Not too meaty but full of flavor

Tea and ginger fried chicken
Not too meaty but full of flavor

Kids devouring their noodles

Kids devouring their noodles

YaoYue Teahouse view

YaoYue Teahouse view

After walking out of Yaoyue, Marc had an ice cream craving and we noticed that the tea house slightly uphill from where we were, called Hanshe Teahouse, had signs out for green tea ice cream, so we stepped into the mountains again. This tea house offered secluded seating on the hillside. The echo of Buddhist chants coming from the seating area next to us enhanced the scenery. Nina was very happy with her first cup of green tea ice cream, slight bitterness, not overly sweet. Not that terrible neon green color you see in most so-called green tea ice cream. I guess it came out in a pack, so maybe I can find it at supermarkets, but whatever, the location made it the best ice cream we’ve had in a while. The only issue with this place was the mosquitos. I seemed to have gotten my first 5 bites there.

Bug paradise, both the good and the bad

Bug paradise, both the good and the bad

Green Ta Ice Cream

Green Ta Ice Cream

Hanshe Teahouse view

Hanshe Teahouse view

HanShe Teahouse

HanShe Teahouse

After the ice cream, we walked over to the Tiannen temple to check out the architecture, unfortunately for me, this was a fairly modern temple. We kept walking and saw this beautiful view.

Wait! Wait!  Your pants is falling off!

Wait! Wait! Your pants is falling off!

View from another TeaHouse

View from another TeaHouse

View of the Zhinan Temple

View of the Zhinan Temple

We hit a strip with several cafes and guest houses so we weaved around a few and peeked for the best view in the house. Great view of the Zhinan Temple, which is where I wanted to go, but at this point, it was already about 4PM and the kids were tired and would have been very very angry if I tried to take them up the stairs, so we took the shuttle from the mountain back down to the MRT station. Terrific invigorating start of the trip!

What's next Daddy!?

What’s next Daddy!?

台北二日目  猫空(マオコン)

初日は結局シンガポールからの移動と、友達との再会を喜ぶので終わった。子供達もいい加減、飛行機に慣れたらしく、道中は結構平和でした。ああ、また少し成長してくれたか。でも二日目はやはりだらだらな朝を過ごす羽目に。ま、いいのよ。休暇なんだから。二日目は山へ向かう事に。折角海外まで来たら、シンガポールにはないところへ行こう、という事で。シンガポールは基本起伏が余りなくて、ベビーカーで移動するには持ってこいだけど、たまには山が恋しくなる。動物園駅までMRTで行き、そこからゴンドラに乗るつもりで行ったら、メンテの為、閉まってた。キティちゃんの呪いだ~、と私八尾ぐも、マークは密に高所恐怖症なため、密に
ガッツポーズしてた。おーい。5月5から19までお休み。ご安心を。山へは普通にタクシーに乗っていけます。ちぇー、上からお茶畑とか見たかったし、うまくいけばクリスタルゴンドラ(床がガラスになってるやつ)に乗りたかったのに。

今回はガイドブックでさえ買わずに来たので、マークが前日にブログとかを見て、目星をつけておいた、邀月茶坊(YaoYue Teahouse)へ。入口の門からして、雰囲気良し。少し坂を下ったところにお茶屋さんがあった。野外で眺めも素晴らしいし、開放的な雰囲気も〇。お料理もちょっとしょっぱいけど、それがうっすら甘いお茶とあってとっても美味しい。子供達も喜んで麺をすすってる。バクテーみたいにお茶をスープに使ってあるお料理は美味しい。邀月茶坊のTea Noodlesは他の調味料が余り入っていなくて、旨味とお茶の味がしっかりっしてとっても美味しかった。お茶を頼むとスタッフの人がやってきて、お茶を入れてくれる。新菜がこれに感動して、Smells Niiiiceと大喜び。香りからしてほんのり甘くて気持ちが落ち着く。山全体がお茶の葉っぱの香りで包まれてたのでほんのり幸せ。あ~、ここ、確かに夜来たら気持ちいいだろうな~、と思う。ま、子供の機嫌が悪くなるのは目に見えてるし、お昼で我慢するわ。結局ダラダラと数時間、お茶を飲んだり、ちょいちょい食べたりして過ごす。子連れ旅行の醍醐味は動きにくいから、動かないでも楽しめる場所をゆったり楽しむ事。地元のファミリーなんかも来ていて、実良は同じ18か月の男の子とはお友達になって、楽しんでいた。の~ど~か~だ~。

YaoYue Teahouse view

YaoYue Teahouse view

Kids devouring their noodles

Kids devouring their noodles

Tea and ginger fried chicken  Not too meaty but full of flavor

Tea and ginger fried chicken
Not too meaty but full of flavor

Tea Smoked Duck and Tea noodles

Tea Smoked Duck and Tea noodles

Tea serving set at Yaoyue Teahouse

Tea serving set at Yaoyue Teahouse

Entrance of YaoYue Teahouse

Entrance of YaoYue Teahouse

折角リラックスしたのに、甘党のマークがアイス食べたいと言うので、邀月茶坊(Yao Yue Teahouse)を出て、少し歩いたところにある寒舎茶坊(Han She Teahouse)に入る事に。看板にお茶アイスって書いてから。こちらも情緒あっていい感じ。簡素テーブルでちょっとピクニックみたいだけど、それもなんかローカルのスポットって感じでよし。隣からお経が聞こえてきたんだけど、何だろう?でも山でお経ってそれはそれで雰囲気あるじゃん、と罰当たりな事を考えながら、また和む…と行きたいとこですが、ここは蚊が多くて。私は5,6か所ここでやられたので、アイスを食べ終わったらさっさと退散。

Green Ta Ice Cream

Green Ta Ice Cream

Bug paradise, both the good and the bad

Bug paradise, both the good and the bad

Hanshe Teahouse view

Hanshe Teahouse view

HanShe Teahouse

HanShe Teahouse

歩いて行ける距離に天恩宮(Tianen Temple)というお寺があったので、寄ったんだけど、ちょっと古ぼけたお寺を想像していったので、普通のモダンなお寺にちょいがっかり。(またまた罰当たり)そこから本来のゴンドラ駅までの道沿いには色々なお茶屋さんがあったので、景色を楽しみながら歩きました。ちょっとお茶屋さんのお庭からの景色も覗いたりしながら。そこからはバスで動物園駅まで戻ります。

Wait! Wait!  Your pants is falling off!

Wait! Wait! Your pants is falling off!

View from another TeaHouse

View from another TeaHouse

View of the Zhinan Temple

View of the Zhinan Temple

家に帰りついた頃にはもう5時。お友達が天気予報を見てくれ、明日と明後日の晩は雨だから、ナイトマーケット行くなら今日行った方がいいかも、とのことで、ほとんど休みもせずにないとマーケットへ。山で癒されたからマーケットに行くエネルギー出たし!子供達はお友達も一緒に来れないとがっかりしてましたが、いいのいいの!

What's next Daddy!?

What’s next Daddy!?

Taipei With a Toddler and Pre-schooler, Intro 子連れ台北 始めに

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We try to alternate our vacations between beach and culture.  Mainly because I get bored at resorts.  I mean, we live in Singapore, so we don’t have the cleanest of beaches, but if we want a pool and a beach, we can go whenever.  Our last family trip was to Phuket, so this time, we headed to Taipei.  Our friend from Singapore moved out to Taipei about a year ago, and generously offered us a place to stay in their spacious apartment.  She has a daughter who Nina used to play with in Singapore and we were all excited about the reunion.

This is the view from the window!!! Boys' dream home.

This is the view from the window!!! Boys’ dream home.

Expats often call Singapore “Asia Lite”.  For me, Taipei was “Japan Lite”.  The concentration of Mister Donuts, FamilyMart, and Hello Kitty made me feel even closer to home (culturally) than I do in Singapore (compared to New York anyway!).  They seem to love children in Taipei and again, I was thankful, since Nina and Mila had turned into complete nightmares while we were there.

Taipei is very child friendly. The MRT is clean and easy to use. Nina, finally coming out of her toilet training, still needs to go quite often, so we were very happy to find that most train stations have a super clean family bathroom facility with a small toilet for kids, an adult toilet and a diaper changing table.  Some malls in Singapore, like Plaza Singapura, also have the small toilets, but not consistently and certainly not in the MRT! We’ve come so far from changing Nina on Marc’s lap while he sat on dirty Manhattan toilets (with no toilet cover, gross).

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We also saw a small shopping cart for kids in the supermarket.  Don’t think this is everywhere, but how cool is this!? I usually do my kids snack and souvenir shopping at a local supermarket since you find funky stuff and for a better price than the souvenir shops.  This time was no exception.

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Love the little handle on top to steer them as needed.

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Maokong Gondola, one of the bigger tourist attractions in Taipei teamed up with Hello Kitty, so everything, including the MRT is covered in Hello Kitty.  Nina loved it and I was forced to listen to her “Mommy, Mommy, it’s Hello Kitty! There! There! Theeeerrreeee!” for a lot longer than I would have liked, but whatever makes them happy, right?  There’s even a Hello Kitty Sweets restaurant, increasingly popular in Asia, soon to take over the world after Starbucks. I never got into Hello Kitty and at 33, I adamantly refuse to start liking the silly cat, so we skipped out on the cafe.  Hey, there’s a beautiful mountain and tea plantations!  Something you don’t see in Singapore everyday, let’s go there!

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A few other things I noticed about Taipei’s awesomeness.

Youbike –  a rental bike system so you can get around and see the city your own way!  Would love to use this once the kids are old enough to ride on their own.  If they had a child seat on those bikes, I would have totally done this.
http://www.youbike.com.tw/en/index.php

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Complimentary Rental Umbrella at the MRT  – It rains pretty often, we were pretty lucky and we saw a little drizzle here and there, but not much rain rain.  When you want to travel light, and don’t want to carry around an umbrella for that 5 minute downpour, this is great.  And they even apologized for not having too many!

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Free City-wide WiFi – I actually found out about this AFTER I got back and was writing a blog.  I’m kind of so-so about having wi-fi when I travel.  I pay so much attention to my iPhone as is, it’s probably good that I look stuff up before I leave wherever I’m staying and don’t rely on my phone, but still, sometimes, it’s good to have WiFi. Marc, when he read this was flipping out though…
http://www.tpe-free.taipei.gov.tw/tpe/index_en.aspx

旅行先を決める時、出来るだけリゾート続きにならないようにしている。ハッキリ言って、ラグジュエリーでない私は、リゾートにすぐ飽きるし、子供のお付き合いプールも嫌になっちゃう。綺麗ではないにしろ、ビーチもプールもシンガポールにあるし、よっぽど綺麗な砂浜なら行きたいけど、せいぜい三日かな~。前回の家族旅行はプーケットだったので、今回は町あり、自然ありの台北に。一年程前にシンガポールのお友達が台北に転勤で行っていて、今回泊めて貰える事に。新菜と同じ年の娘さんもいるので子供達も大喜び。とっても広くて、国内空港を窓から眺められるので飛行機の離陸、着陸が一日中見てられる、子持ちには最高すぎるおうちでした。ありがとう~。

This is the view from the window!!! Boys' dream home.

This is the view from the window!!! Boys’ dream home.

シンガポールがなんとなくアジアなのと同じく、私の見た台北はなんとなく日本。ファミマにミスドにハローキティ。お寿司屋さんとかおにぎり屋さんも多くあり、売ってるものが異様に巨大で不恰好なとこを除けばシンガポールより日本に近い気が…でもここはアジア、やはり子供には優しく寛容。今回は新菜も実良も悪魔のように暴れてたので、助かった。ああ、私日本に夏行くつもりだけど、大丈夫なのかしら。二度と来んなって言われそう。

トイレトレーニングがこの旅行のほぼ直前まで続いていた新菜さん、まだまだ頻繁に行ってくれるので相当大変なので、この旅行もめちゃ心配してましたが、台北のMRT素敵すぎるわ。家族トイレ(子供用小さいトイレ、大人のトイレ、ベビーカーで入れるスペース+おむつ替え台)がほぼ各駅であったので、電車での「おしっこ~!」にもさっと対処出来るし、綺麗に掃除もしてあっていい!シンガポールでもモールによっては小さい便器があるところもあるけど、こんな風に町中にあるのはすっごい助かる。マンハッタンにいた時なんか、ふたもない便器にマークを座らせてそのひざで新菜のおむつ替えてたよ。実際マンハッタンでトイレトレーニングってどうなのよ。ああ、こっちでトイレトレーニング出来てよかった~。

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お土産と子供のおやつ買いにスーパーに行ったら子供用の小さいカートあるやん。うっわー、スーパーに遊び感覚で子供連れてこれるってすごいわ。かわいすぎる。

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そして、猫空ロープウェイ、猫だからって、Hello Kittyとコラボ。ちょっと安易すぎるだろ、とは思うが、MRT中どころか街中にHello Kittyのポスターだのなんだのが貼ってあるわけで新菜さん大喜び。一日中「ママ、Hello Kitty、こっち、こっち、こっちいいいいいい」(何故かあっちの使い方が分からないらしく何でもこっち)と騒いでましたわ。台北、キティちゃん大好きらしく、キティちゃんカフェもある。でも友達にいわく要予約、私は幼稚園児のころからアンチキティちゃん。あの目の死んだ猫のどこがかわいいのかさっぱり分からん。33にもなって今さら行くわけもなく、完全スルー。って、新菜キティちゃんまくら持ってるじゃない!毎日見てるじゃん。シンガポールにはない山があるのよここは、そして山の上にはお茶畑があるのよ、そっち行くわよ~~~。とか言ってたらバチ、あたったよ。かの猫空ロープウェイ、閉まってるわよ。五月5日から19日までメンテの為にお休みって。キティちゃん、つよし。ふん、タクシーで行くもん。いいもん。
…それは置いといて、
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我が家は利用しませんでしたが、台北には他にも一般旅行者にもフレンドリーなところが色々。

YouBike -自転車レンタルシステム台北中にある自転車駐車エリアから自転車をレンタル出来るシステム。綺麗で整備されていて、是非利用したかったです。贅沢をいえば、子供乗せるシートのついてる自転車も用意してくれないかなあ。
http://www.youbike.com.tw/en/index.php
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MRT駅にある、傘レンタル-台北は結構良く雨が降る。私達の滞在中にもぽつぽつ降る程度には何度か降りました。そんな時にはMRTに傘が置いてあります。自由に使って返せる様になってるらしい。これ、地味に嬉しい。
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Free WiFi ⁻ 台北内ではただでWiFiが使えるそうです。これ、帰って来てから知ったんですが、便利ですね。最初に電話を観光案内書所で登録するだけでいいそうです。うちは自分で色々最初に調べて回る、旅行中はスマホ見ない派ですが、(普段中毒状態なので)緊急の時とかにはいいですよね。マークは後で、そんなのあったのかああああと騒いでた。
http://www.tpe-free.taipei.gov.tw/tpe/index_en.aspx

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.

 

 

 

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…

 

 

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

SmallIMG_5989

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!