beafunmum beafunmum

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Kelly  Aussie. Currently in Brisbane. Mum of 4. Supporting my husband in his medical career. Challenging myself in work, travel and study.

A bright corner. So many untold stories.

Arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). It has a different vibe to Hanoi. It’s, balmy, more modern, westernised and fast. Hanoi was crisp, more traditional, culturally distinct, bustling. As I wandered around HCMC, I noticed more of a contrast in the way people live their lives in the city. For example, this group of young women, were dressed up in traditional costume (áo dài) to take photos in front of the iconic French-built Post Office. Just around the corner, an elderly woman sold her wares in a little corner on the street (next pic). “The city of opportunity,” my guide calls this huge city of 8 and a half million.

On the way to the airport for Ho Chi Minh City. We stopped at these fresh veggie and herb fields. It was cold!

Halong Bay. Wish I had more time to explore here.

During lectures at Hanoi University, we talked about sustainable/responsible tourism. There needs to be action at global, national and local levels, but also at the individual level. It reminded me to not just enjoy a place but find a way to minimise the impact, and even invest back somehow. Vietnam recognises the importance on improving in this area, and have invested in many initiatives, for example, an eco label certificate requirement for cruise operators in Halong Bay. However so much more needs to be done. Interestingly, a week later when I visited Halong Bay, @scubaprojects (in collaboration with @cleanupvietnam) happened to be on the same cruise as our group. While we kayaked in the region we helped them clean up the area, collecting 8 huge bags of rubbish in an hour. It often feels a bit overwhelming when there is so much to do, but I have to believe that a lot of little actions can make a difference.

Halong Bay is incredible!

View over Mai Châu. I was surprised at how tourist focused the region was, not just for foreigners, but as a resort for Vietnamese too. Mai Châu town is surrounded by many villages (like Lac village where I stayed) which are spotted with homestays geared for tourists. I slept on the floor with 4 other females with a huge (room-sized) mosquito net covering us all. A short walk has you in the market, where women hand-weave scarves, vendors cook BBQ pork kebabs on the edge of the path and stores stock a variety of items to buy. Tourism has transformed the village and enabled an avenue for income. The locals appear to feel positive about tourism, however I do wonder about wider impacts to the culture, especially for those not participating in the immediate benefits. I did an hour and a half bike ride around the area, through the markets and rows of homestays and down the paths between the rice fields. It was beautiful. I found myself lured off the main way through a dirt track and the conditions of homes was vastly different than the tourist centre.

Visited a little village today called Na Chao. We learned more about the ethnic minority — White Tai — who live there. Money from our study tour plays a part in building infrastructure in the area. For example, dams, to assist in the dry months, and better roads. The community is based on equality and loyalty — so leadership and gender do not distinguish people. Although, mature age is highly respected. The way this works in daily life means that both men and women contribute to all jobs. One of the leaders said along the lines of: “One day the man might be in the forest and the women in the rice field, and another day the man will be in the rice field and the women in the forest.” As I waked around the village, I came across a group of women laying a concrete road, muscling wheelbarrows of gravel and later, a group of men taught us how to weave baskets out of bamboo. It’s good to learn more about different cultures and the way they do life.

Climbed 1000 steps for this view.

Exploring Lac village and surrounds.

Only at @Woolworths_au, you can now get limited edition Hot Cross Bun ice-cream! We tried it and can confirm it tastes amazing. Use the ice-cream to make a fun dessert for the Summer holidays or to prepare for Easter. Put a few scoops of Woolies Hot Cross Bun ice-cream into a glass, add a drizzle of chocolate sauce and top it off with Easter eggs and pieces of toasted traditional fruit hot cross buns. So good! The ice-cream comes in a 1L tub, soit’s great for sharing with the family. (Sponsored)

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