Oct 092009
The Bumpy Bus from Mui Ne to Dalat

Busty travelers of the world: strap on your triple strength sports bras before attempting the passage from Mui Ne, Vietnam, to Dalat! And if you’ve got back problems, hoo boy! Better bring a rigid brace and some Advil.

For the five hours from Mui Ne, our small bus jolted and banged along the rocky road, twisting around mountains and overlooking mist-shrouded green vistas. When a particularly ominous stretch of [...Read More!]

Oct 082009
Sankara: The Forefront of Mui Ne’s Evolving Face

There is a place in this world for true beauty, and truth be told, I have a massive crush on Sankara. Walking into Mui Ne’s newest venue, you gasp in awe and your heart passionately races. You have the urge to whip out a camera and photograph every billowing white drape, every sensual pool of water, every soft shift of rainbow lights against the palm trees. With [...Read More!]

Oct 082009
A Fantastic Vietnam Birthday

Really now, your birthday evening cannot be anything but FABULOUS when it kicks off by receiving the following email:

“Happy b-day Ms. Marshin. Thanks for everything u did for me at Ctown. U shudda took me wit you on this world wide trip. But it’s all good– u still my Home Dogg. – Terrence”

I laughed uproariously, then wrote back with love from Vietnam. Thank the heavens and [...Read More!]

Oct 072009
Birthday Realization: A Vice May be a Boon!

Reflect for a moment: What is something you absolutely adore (it makes your heart pitter pat and wakes you up in the morning with excitement), but which drives everyone around you absolutely CRAZY?

For me, one of these things was my Internet addiction.

Picture this: I would be having a perfectly delightful evening with my closest friends, then I would spot an unsupervised computer in the next room. Excusing myself [...Read More!]

Oct 052009
$10 Touristic Day Package Joy

I am fundamentally a lazy bum. Therefore, I usually kick and scream when friends try to get me to mobilize for touristic productivity. But you know what? I always thank them for it in the end. Check out what $10 and seven hours buys you in fantastic Mui Ne, Vietnam…

1. Meet your jeep driver at any of the one hundred tourist kiosks where you booked your trip. [...Read More!]

Oct 052009
The $30 a Day Budget Secret

A major goal of this blog is to show folks who think they don’t have the luxury to travel that it’s actually easier and cheaper than you think. The key is to get yourself to a “Developing Country”, aka, a country less rich than yours. Basically, if you save up for the $300 flight to Latin America, or reeaaaally save up for the $700+ ticket to Southeast Asia, you [...Read More!]

Oct 042009
A New Appreciation of Japan

I’ll admit it: when I was in Japan for those ten days in August, I didn’t get it. Everything was so quiet… so mercilessly efficient and effective… so… helpful! The fact that the trains were on time to the MILLISECOND made my free-spirited soul panic.

And yet, I am now starting to get it.

Sitting in Saigon’s hottest new cafe, the Japanese-run “Ministry of Food” (“MOF”), I gazed at my green tea [...Read More!]

Oct 042009
How do you Choose Where to Stay?

Five hours out of Ho Chi Minh City, our bus trundled into Mui Ne: a beautiful coastal town in South-Central Vietnam. What followed nicely illustrates my current hotel selection process whilst solo, budget backpacking in new and far-off places. Perhaps this strategy may work for you in the future!

1. Pre-research the location through a guidebook, but acknowledge the guidebook’s out-of-date-ness.

Ahh Lonely Planet Guidebook– it’s been good for basic background [...Read More!]

Oct 032009
The Vietnam War Remnants Museum

The Vietnam war slashed its knife through America. My parents marched in anti-war protests, sprinting from billy-club smashing police, and aching with frustration at the movement’s powerlessness to stop the conflict. My father became a teacher to avoid being thrown into the bloody battle overseas; others were tragically drafted and deployed. Even today, new Vietnam War films, books, and stories emerge each month. The Vietnam war is [...Read More!]

Oct 032009
Banh Xeo: The Heavenly Chicken Pancake

This next post is dedicated to the witty, wise, and w-ridiculous Ray Newton (pictured, right, in the classy purple shirt). Ray was a student in my English class for four straight years (the lucky duck!) from ninth grade to twelfth. I watched Ray grow from a sunglasses-wearing pup who stared in awe at the Aquarium fishtanks during our field trip until we forcibly pulled him out, to a sunglasses-wearing [...Read More!]