Archive for February, 2008

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

“Wat” a Sight to See

2276|350 Angkor, the Sanskrit word for “city,” was by far the largest city in the world in the pre-industrial era, covering an area of over 1,000 square miles.  Between 900 and 1200 AD, the kings of the Khmer empire built over a thousand buildings in Angkor, from small, nondescript temples now reduced to rubble to […]

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Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

A Macabre History Lesson

Our travels thus far have taken us to a number of places marred by the aftermath of politics gone wrong.  In no place, however, have the wounds from such wrongs been as raw or as recent as the ones we witnessed during our time in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, […]

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Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Getting There is Half the Fun

No one ever said that independent travel is easy.  For the uninitiated, it can be painfully stressful.  Piecing together the logistics of getting from point A to B to C and so forth can test the patience of even the most laid-back of individuals.  For most Americans, vacation is the chance to escape from the […]

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Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Taking a Detour into Leisure

We’ve been traveling for almost six months now and among the many lessons we’ve learned is this: travel can sometimes feel like a full-time job. Okay, like a really good job where we have neither assignments, deadlines nor specific working hours, but all the same, finding places to sleep each night, navigating new places every […]

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Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Oh! Chi Minh City

When I first visited Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) with my parents back in 1996, I was mesmerized.  Decades of French rule ending in the mid 1950s and a massive presence of American military during the 60s and early 70s have combined to create a city steeped in history.  In 1996, the […]

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Monday, February 11th, 2008

Good Morning Vietnam!

Our visit to Vietnam would not have been complete without a trip to the demilitarized zone, or DMZ.  This strip of land, which is approximately two miles wide, divided North and South Vietnam before and during the Vietnam War (or, as it’s called here, “the American War” or, depending on the speaker, “the War of […]

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Thursday, February 7th, 2008

On the Banks of the Perfume River

After Hanoi, we flew to Hue, a former imperial city on the banks of the enigmatically named Perfume River.  We spent a mist-filled afternoon exploring the Citadel, a section of the city that is surrounded both by a moat and by tall, thick walls.  These safety precautions did little to defend the area from the […]

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Monday, February 4th, 2008

Ringing in the New Year with Ho

Hanoi is a city difficult not to love.  After finding a hotel in the Old Quarter, we set off exploring its narrow streets.  Historically, each street in the Old Quarter was devoted to selling a certain product, from which it received its name – Flower Street selling flowers, Shoe Street selling shoes and Fish Street […]

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Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Floating Through the Bay

In the green-gray waters of the Gulf of Tonkin sit the more than 3000 limestone karsts that combine to form the wonder that is Halong Bay. The bay has long been a draw for tourists visiting mainland Vietnam; most of us hop on buses in Hanoi and, after a long ride through rice fields and […]

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