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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Our Tet Aussie Odyssey.

The Moggys had a lighting trip back to Aus over Tet to get a few things sorted for our return in July.  The kids got to see their new school which they loved.  Scarlett did however ask why they did not show us the swimming pool.  Troi Oi!  We also spent time down at the Bellarine Peninsula where we have a caravan.  We then headed off to the bush to visit more family and even managed to squeeze in a performance of Jersey Boys in town.  We had a fabulous time and the weather was perfect.  It has made the kids even more excited to return.
We couldn't resist!

Scarlett making ANZAC biscuits with her cousin Steph.

Lunch on the beautiful Maribyrnong River near our home.

Whilst we were in town for Jersey Boys we managed to celebrate Tet after all!  Well, Chinese New Year anyway, in China Town!
One of our favorite places in the world.  Ocean Grove.  The kids were so happy to be there!

Being tourists at a local wildlife sanctuary.

Now that they are both confident swimmers it was time to throw them in the deep end.  Surfs up dudes!

I am astounded at the natural ability of children.  They took to it like ducks to water....pun intended.

This little grommit even managed to walk the plank!

By day 2 she was ready for the Rip Curl Pro at Bells this Easter.

.....even on a short board!

Beach bum!

Then we were off on a road trip to the Aussie bush.  Here is a tip for fellow travellers or expats heading back for holidays.  We hired a car for the week but rather than pay an extra 30 dollars a day for excess insurance we picked up some travel insurance that covers hire car damage.  That way the car is covered...AND us!

A good old Aussie pub!

See what we did there....

There was a local Farmers market on in town.  Amazing fresh produce from the local area.

Ever wondered what a sleepy Aussie country town looks like?  Here is one I prepared earlier!  This is the main street.  You can smell the eucalyptus in the air and the birds screeching is almost deafening.  It might just be a little bit like heaven.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Saigon Puts on her Party Dress - Tet is in the Air.

Tet is an amazing time of year in Vietnam.  It marks the start of the new lunar year.  On Sunday we say goodbye to the auspicious Golden Dragon and enter the year of the snake.  Although it sounds like it shouldn't be, the year of the snake is also said to be a good one.

A lot of tourists decide not to come to Vietnam during Tet and with quite good reason.  Basically just about everything shuts down so that the Ho Chi Minhians can all go to their home towns and be with their families.  When you come to Saigon you want to be able to do tours, visits museums etc.  This can be tricky around the Lunar New Year.  We have however noticed over the last few years that more and more places are staying open and it is nowhere near as deserted as it used to be. Restaurants catering to tourists in particular.  I remember our first Tet and the warning about eating out and getting food poisoning as there was no fresh produce being bought in.  Needless to say, it didn't happen!  (It is still a good idea to get a heap of cash out and store it at home as the ATM's tend to run dry after a few days and are not replenished).  

If you do decided to visit during, or even pre Tet, you will get to enjoy a city that is buzzing.  People are frantically preparing for the New Year.  Tet baskets are bought along with new clothes that are to be worn on the first day to bring good luck.  Houses and painted and debts paid so that the new year can begin with a clean slate.  The children eagerly await their little red envelope with fresh crisp dong inside.  Smiles abound around the city and the city itself transforms into a floral paradise.  Industry shuts down bringing with it's closure the clear blue skies of town with much less pollution.  I was looking out the window the other night and it looked different.  It took me a while to figure out that it was because there were STARS!  I can't really ever remember seeing stars in the night sky! 

I wish you all a very Happy Lunar New Year and I hope the year of  the snake brings you much joy, prosperity and happiness.  Chuc Mung Nam Moi!