I've been railroaded with Snug Furniture work since the year rang in. As many of you know, starting up a business entails too many many things that I can't even begin to bore you about. I have a few blog posts lined up but haven't gotten around to them. This month somewhat threw me into a loop with work deadlines and 2010 goal setting+follow through. And nothing like the Haiti catastrophe to render me helpless as I sit and watch from the comfort of my home and discomfortably, yet gratefully reflect about life.
So I am thankful to
for pulling me out of a quick hibernation from the blogosphere. She kindly indulged me and Snug a supportive shoutout on her blog as well as sharing her beautiful memories of Vietnam. After reading her blog post last night, I watched one of my favorite movies, Indochine, by another Catherine ~ Vive La Deneuve.
photo courtesy of movieposter.com
The movie brought back beautiful memories of my own holiday with extended family to Hong Kong, Hanoi, Sapa and Halong Bay from Dec 26, 2003 to Jan 3, 2004. Thank you Catherine. Traveling back through time was the perfect 'holiday' I needed on a cold and foggy Sunday afternoon. Let me know when you want to come to Cebu so I can arrange it!
After leaving Hong Kong with a hangover from our favorite shopping, culinary, and nightlife must stops, we arrived Hanoi on this desolate day and wondered if we had made the right choice to spend New Year's in the city. Garrison Rousseau (my evil twin), whom you've met in a previous blogpost, is always after my own heart wherever I go. He made sure I call his good friend, Christina Yu of Ipa-Nima, Hanoi's social and fashion doyenne to immediately plug into the most happening events in town.
So we met at Restaurant Bobby Chinn, probably still
the chicest place in town
Bobby Chinn, celebrity chef, pre TV host days
with my best friend since high school, Kerwin Go ,pre cinematographer days
A night with the bubbly Christina and her gang erased the afternoon's dreariness. Her bags are fabulous too! I have about five that I continue to carry today and an exquisite silk shawl with a beaded trim that never fails to warrant compliments. A must try at Bobby Chinn's: the martini cocktail he named after Christina, Typhoon Tina
From googling (don't you just love Google), I just found out that the restaurant has moved to a new location,Xuan Dieu Street, a new expat enclave according to an NYT review comment. See this other review for more details where I got this photo below.
Since there were eleven of us, my Uncle Manuel hired a bus with a driver and tour guide so we could plan our own tour and schedule. This is a typical traffic condition in Hanoi or many Southeast Asian cities so the next time you think about going off on a road rage, don't fret too much
We dropped by somewhere in the country for a boat ride along the rice paddies.
Nothing like some nature to nurture...
Yes, we passed through that eye of a needle
to get a glimpse of their world
where bananas grow in wild abandon along the shore.
To appreciate its beauty in solitude is as precious
as sharing their genuine laughter.
Our next stop was the legendary Halong Bay
Halong means "where the dragon descends into the sea"
A Unesco world heritage site since 1994,
you have the option to explore with a no frills or luxe Chinese junk
where you can enjoy a picnic freshly concocted onboard by a cook
or make a tropical fruit salad from the wares of this man,
this gives "fresh off the boat" a new meaning....
the potted plant in Chinese pottery adds a delightful touch
one can get lost in the Gulf of Tonkin
amidst 2,000 of these limestone monoliths
some topped with jungle vegetation
while others are hollow
with explorable caves
the sunset pierced through the clouds
as we sailed back to the shore.
My favorite guide to Hanoi and many other cities...
nothing is more au courant than Luxe.
Click here for the trailer of Indochine
*photos, unless noted, are from personal archives*