Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore


We stopped in Bangkok on our way to Vietnam and had just enough time to go downtown and have some great Thai food.  Our hotel (that we had booked months ago) was within a few miles of where all of the political unrest is going on in Bangkok, so we stayed close to our hotel and had a very satisfying meal.


Our hotel room (from reward points) was much nicer than our Cambodia lodging.  We enjoyed every minute…




Unfortunately our stay in Vietnam was very short, in fact, we only had a few days in Hanoi. Instead of trying to see it all, we decided to sit down at a street corner and watch people go by. Watching people and life going on around us brought Hanoi to us (see below).



We liked Hanoi very much. It has a very pleasant feel to it, with a mixture of French with Vietnamese, modern and traditional and a carefree approach to life versus the remains of burdened past. 


We thought it would be a good idea to invest in a tailored suit for Tal.


Stage two of the fitting. He already looks nice in it. I (Tal) look huge in this picture…


The nice tailor didn’t even make Tal pay extra for all of the extra material (because of his height) and Tal was able to get him to throw in a free tie with the purchase. 

While the suit was made, we went to Halong Bay to see some of the 3000+ limestone islands around Halong Bay…




We got to do some kayaking in the bay…



Were able to see a cave (sadly, it was along with about 100 other tourists)



At this point, we felt like we were more at Disney World than in Vietnam because there were so many boats and tourists around… but it was still beautiful.



Halong Bay turned quite romantic at night with all of the boat lights reflecting off of the water.  It was relatively quiet with an occasional party boat doing karaoke.


The next day we went to a more remote part of Halong bay (which was nice to get away from all of our fellow tourists). We went on a bike ride to a nearby village on Cat Ba Island.


A little rain didn’t stop us…


We also went to Monkey Island which lived up to its name.  This aggressive monkey accosted us (without getting close enough to hurt us) on our trail which made us turn back to the beach pretty fast. 


The beach was nice though…


The boat ride back the next morning was a favorite part of the trip because the water was placid and the birds were chirping on all of the cliffs as we floated past.  Truly beautiful…




We had a great time with our fellow passengers. We especially enjoyed the company of a family from Canada and look forward to keeping in touch with them.  We also had a nice chat with a French family and an Australian couple. 

The suit was finished when we got back to Hanoi and we packed for Singapore.


In Singapore, we decided to go to the highly recommended Botanical Gardens.  It was a perfect place to spend a few hours before we boarded the plane for Switzerland.

Red Bamboo?  Who Knew?




Wow, Singapore is clean and organized.  We think it was a good preparation for Switzerland.  Yes, we were careful to not jaywalk and yes, we ate some crackers on the subway only to find out that we could have been fined over $500 for doing that!  To put it mildly, Singapore is serious about cleanliness and order. 

Here are all of the options for throwing something away…


Then clean metro system…


On to Switzerland.  It was so great to see the snow-capped Alps from the plane…


We arrived in Zurich to a beautiful spring day.  The leaves had just come out and it was about 75 degrees…


We spent a few days at Anita’s brother’s place.  He and his wife took such good care of us and it was really fun for me [Tal] to get to know them and their children. 


Eating the wonderful food has been one of my [Tal’s] favorite things about being in Switzerland… I really missed salads, lasagna and tomatoes with mozzarella cheese while traveling.


We went into Zurich for a day…





I [Tal] got to see where Anita used to live, work, study etc.…


On to Flims… On the way to Anita’s childhood home, we were telling her parents about how we had missed the snow while traveling…   We didn’t have to wait long to see it because the next morning, May 3rd, we got some…



The view from Anita’s room…


Flims Dorf



It is fun to see how happy Anita is to be back home.  The below picture, she is looking out the window of her childhood room…


We’ve spent the last few days resting, eating lovely Swiss food, and catching up with Anita’s parents in their home in Flims.  Anita went through her old room and we found some true treasures from her childhood while Tal started his European job hunt. 

Below Anita is not just holding a purchased US flag - she painted it herself when she was about 13. 


And she found her old glasses… now these are a real treasure!


Ski passes going back all the way to 1981. As you can see, the same hat was a favorite for years! If you look hard, you can see the the same red rimmed glasses on the bottom pass. 



  1. The limestone rocks of Halong Bay looked amazing!... sorry you had to enjoy it along with all the tourists. .. and good call on having a suit tailored. You might wish you had bought more than one!

    And Flim, wow. Gorgeous! With and without snow. I think that needs to be added to our "Places to Visit" list. I guess Switzerland has lots of cute towns like that though. How awesome, to pull out childhood treasures while at your childhood home.. to divulge more of yourself to your newlywed spouse. Some things you just can't explain.. they need to be able to see it for themselves. That's great!

    Good luck on the job hunt!

  2. Sweet you guys. I like the burger shot. Reminds me of Oliver Burger. Man we miss you guys! Can't wait to see you pretty soon! Those are some beautiful pictures!

    Anita, please revert back to the red rim glasses permenentely

  3. What a great post. That Hanoi Bay is just gorgeous. And how fun to see where you grew up, Anita!

  4. WOW! What an amazing adventure. I am glad you are both having such a great time in Switzerland. I feel like I get to have my passport stamped with each post you make. Oh wouldn't that be fun if you lived in Europe for a while.

  5. I commented from my iPhone but it looks as though it didn't come through! LOVE these pics...especially the glasses and the view from Anita's window! You painted that flag??? Incredible!

  6. I think those are the same glasses Anita used to wear when I met her! I loved all the photos of Asia and Switzerland and catching up on your news. I'll write an email soon!

  7. Looks like you had some fun adventures! You do look huge in your suit...maybe you are putting your weight back on that you lost while here in India. We miss you guys, enjoy a salad for me!!

  8. The pictures are great. I'm sure you will let us all know when and where you have settled down, right? Steve is back and forth from Europe alot right now, including Switzerland. You might have lunch...

  9. Oh my word I am drooling because I want to be in all those places with you!! SOOOOOO gorgeous...what an adventure!