Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Final Chronicles of the Nolen's in Vietnam '08

Trip to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2008
September 13 - September 27

Parker's Favorite Memories of Vietnam:
1. Watching & observing the Vietnamese people
2. getting to ride in our laps anywhere we went instead of his carseat!
3. playing with Nana & Poppie in the evenings
4. Poppie treating him to Cheese Puffs for the first time
5. Mr. Nam & Mrs. Nga playing with him & talking to him
6. eating with chopsticks
7. Seeing the fun sights of Ho Chi Minh City
8. Having the Vietnamese ladies touch & "oogle" over him
9. sitting with Poppie at his desk at the office

Clay's Favorite Memories of Vietnam:
1. Carrie going down the tunnel at Cu Chi Tunnels
2. Swimming in the backyard pool with Parker & Carrie
3. touring the city & the Presidential Palace (see, I told you he liked this one a lot!!!)
4. going to the MeKong Delta & riding in the boat
5. tea downtown with mom
6. the markets
7. seeing mom & dad's office & classroom
8. the factories (candy factory in the MeKong & the lacquereware in Saigon)
9. eating was an adventure (dragon fruit, fresh pineapple, etc.)
10. visiting the Cau Dai temple

Carrie's Favorite Memories of Vietnam:
1. tea at Gloria Jean's (& dessert of course!)
2. YKC!!!!
3. shopping at Mrs. Teresa's
4. watching Parker smiling, laughing, & taking everything in
5. touring the MeKong Delta with Clay
6. shopping at the markets
7. going down in the Cu Chi Tunnels
8. driving through the countryside & seeing life in a totally new way
9. visiting time with Nana & Poppie at their home
10. Mrs. Nga's cookies
11. touring Ho Chi Minh...seeing everyday life
12. High tea at the Caravelle

Parker's experienced quite a few "firsts" while on this trip:
First time to fly internationally
First time to crawl on all fours (while upstairs one evening at Nana & Poppie's)
First time to make the cute tongue-flipping sounds
First time to try formula
First time to ride in a car without being buckled in!
First time to eat with chopsticks (with a little assistance of course!)
First time to see an international doctor
First time to be babysat by a nanny all day!
First time to have Cheese Puffs! ("thank you Poppie" Parker says!)

Contact & trip info:

I am going to include some of the contact information for some of our favorite places, businesses etc. If you are planning a trip to Vietnam, feel free to use any of this information to help with your trip planning. One of the things that made the trip so perfect was our tour guide, Win. He was so nice, very thorough with detail & made the excursions such fun for us with stories & little details that he would point out. He does speak English fairly well, which made it nice in talking to him from one destination to the next! We had a lot of questions for him & he was always so patient & kind to answer each of them as best he could.

Tour Guide:
Nguyen Trong Nguyen (also pronounced "Win")
Add: 49 Le Thanh Ton St
Dist 1, HCMC, Vietnam
Mobile: (+84) 0913.833733

YKC Esthetic & Hair Spa:
219 Dien Bien Phu St. District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: 829 2791-827 5194
Business Hours:
Monday-Saturday 9am-6pm
Sunday 10am-5pm

Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City:

Chu An Seafood Restaurant
27 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Dakao Ward, Dist 1, HCMC
Tele: 84.8 823 7373
*We enjoyed a delicious lunch here with Poppie on his lunch break. He ordered for 3 of can order different platters & then share with a group which is what we did
Our order consisted of:
Morning Glory (stir fry with garlic) - Rau Muong Xao Toi
Spring Rolls - Cha gio
Seafood Soup - Sup hai san
Fried beef in mustard rolls - Bo Cuon Cai Xanh
Grilled chicken with lemon leaves - ga Nuong la Chanh
Steamed shrimp in coconut - Tom su hap Trai dua
Fried Rice Cantonese stule - Com Chien Duong dua
Soda - trang

Pomodoro Italian restaurant
79 Hai Ba Trung, District 1, HCMC
Tele: 823 8998 - 823 8957
This is a great family-style restaurant with fabulous pastas, pizzas, soups, salads & desserts

Co Ngu Restaurant
222 Pasteur St. Dist 3, HCMC
Tele: 848 - 827 -5702
Great place for a nice dinner out!

Shopping in HCMC:

The Vietnamese Refinement
141 Dong Choi St, Dist 1 Ho Chi Minh City
Tele: 00 848 823 9615
Loved this cute shop! It had fun jewelry, purses, linens...I got some beautiful silver errings & bracelet here. One of my favorite purchases was a set of decorative pillow covers in bright, bold colors that will look great in our future home!

NKid Children's Wear
Duong Hoan Tuyen
Managing Director
cell: 090 800 8586
*in multiple locations...the one we visited the most was at
83 Dong Khoi St, Dist 1, HCMC
We purchased some of the most precious outfits & pajama sets for Parker. Also, they had beautiful baby quilts & gifts for mothers too! I bought a gorgeous simple white gown here that I just adore! Toys, socks, can find it here!

Mrs. Teresa's Jewelry Shop
located at Dong Khoi Street
Dong Khoi Street in Downtown HCMC

Places to See & Things to Do:

Indepedence Palace
135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia St, Dist 1, HCMC
Open 7:30am-12pm & 1pm-5pm

Post Office in & Cathedral in downtown Ho Chi Minh City
Caravelle Hotel in downtown HCMC(these 3 places are all right together)

The Museum of Vietnamese History
2 Nguyen Binh Khiem St, Dist 1, HCMC
Open from Tues -Sunday 8am-11:30am & 1:30-5pm
*Cameras are only allowed if you pay an extra fee..the fee is very nominal though..just a 3-5 at most!

Don Khoi Street in HCMC
This is where we did most of our shopping...lots of very nice boutiques, jewelry shops, art galleries, clothing shops, coffee shops (Gloria Jean was my favorite!)
*There are many art galleries (one right after the other) in downtown HCMC. We spent a lot of time in each one of them looking at their styles & such. Each one has several different artists each of which have their own style of course. Some seemed to be better at portraits versus others, whereas other artists had mastered the landscape & scenic pictures. We actually used 2 different galleries to paint 3 different pictures for us. My advice is to shop around until you find 1 or 2 styles that you like & then bargain for the best prices.

Tay Son - Laquereware factory

Touring outside of HCMC:

Cu Chi Tunnels
MeKong Delta
Cau Dai Temple
*we weren't able to make the beach resort this trip, but the Nolen's have been there & raved over the place.
We have been asked several common questions since our return, so as I think of them I will post them up here.
Q: Did you take Parker with you on all of your excursions?
A: We took him on all but the MeKong Delta
Q: How old was Parker when you went to Vietnam?
A: 8mos
Q: What did Parker eat while over there?
A: I was still nursing him, so along with the milk, Nana had gone to a grocery store & bought baby food & cheerios type foods for him. The only food outside of their household that we let him eat was rice & a few things off of our plates from the restaurants within the city.
I will post pics of the Vietnam albums soon! :)

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