Sailing in Boracay 

Even when we said we would get an early start to our day in Boracay it never happened. The second day we decided that we wanted to go sailing. But we didn’t really want to go deal with bartering with a million sales guys who wants us to spend way to much to sail. So we decided we would go to the queen and ask her advice on whom we should get to take us sailing. She took us to a bar towards the end of station 3 called the Red Pirate. We were going sailing with pirates!   
  The pirates were literally the nicest guys I have ever met. They really truly met well with everything they did. They took us sailing right then and agreed to make us dinner when we got back! How cool! First they took us sailing around the island to a place to snorkel.

  
 Mike hopes to cut some of his footage he did soon and well post the YouTube video. I’m still not a fan of snorkeling.  
  
I freak myself out now even before I get in the water. I’m not sure what it is. Even though I can swim being away from the boat without a life jacket and this thing in my mouth and the piece covering the nose freaks me out! I think its become one of my number one fears in life. So I spent my time tanning on the boat while Mike watched the fishes.  

   
 After snorkeling the Pirates took us around to another small island to cliff jump. Except it wasn’t like cliff jumping I’m use to. You literally have to walk the plank (or diving board ha ha) out and jump out. 

   
   
I liked this rush way better then I liked snorkeling ha ha. We hung out here and drank some rum and coke for a bit before heading back to Boracay. On the way back I noticed that where my feet are usually white from my sandals were now bright red! Whoop! Note to self: Put sunscreen on your feet when sailing all day! 

  
We had a couple hours to rest before we were to go back to the Red Pirates for dinner. Dinner was amazing!

   
  If you go to Boracay try and convince the Red Pirates to make you dinner! 

Especially Rooney! He is an amazing chef. Hands down the best food on the island. If you are looking for a beautiful island with amazing food.. Boracay may not be the one for you. The food is mostly American food, a lot of pizza and burger, and some Italian. Its not really a great island to get good Filipino food. 

But this is an amazing island, at this point in our trip we were contemplating getting teaching jobs here! I headed home early this night because I was trying to fight off a cold. Mike stayed out for “just one beer” ha ha!!

  

 Ill post more pictures and more about our trip soon!

Boracay, Philipines 

After a crazy birthday celebration, we didn’t fly out to Boracay, Philippines until 10pm the next day. We would fly from Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) to Manila and then to Caticlan. In Caticlan we would have to take a quick 10-minute ferry ride to Boracay. But rarely is traveling that simple. We didn’t exchange currency in HCMC because we thought we would get a better rate when we got to Manila. However, our flight was delayed getting out of HCMC which put us at a little bit of a time crunch in Manila. Once we landed in Manila we had about a hour to get out of the terminal we landed in, go through customs, get our boarding passes, go through security again, and find our terminal. Thank God we got lucky! As we were running to get our boarding passes I saw the lady take the sign for Caticlan off the board and I yelled at Mike “She’s taking our sign!!”. If we were any later I’m not sure if we would have noticed what ticket counter we needed to go to. The ticket lady let us go in front of everyone and get our ticket.

Long story short we made it to the correct terminal in time… but we didn’t have any money for the Philippines yet. Once we made it to Caticlan we were zombies! It was 4am and we were exhausted! We just wanted to make it to Boracay and hopefully get into our hotel early to sleep some. Fortunately we met a couple of guys from the U.S. that were on the same airplane that live in Boracay. They were able to help us get some money exchanged and get to the place where we needed to get to take a ferry.

   

We were finally here! Walking towards our hotel all we wanted to do is run straight into the Ocean! Screw a nap! What were we thinking?! 

  
We stayed in a very cute little hotel called Roy’s Rendezvous. The sweetest older couple runs it. Looking online this hotel doesn’t have the greatest reviews. Which in the high season I bet it does get a little hectic for them. But we came in the low season and we aren’t worried about trying to do everything and things happening super fast. I think this hotel cost us about $40 a night to stay. It had pretty good wifi and breakfast every morning with eggs, fruit, toast, orange juice, and instant coffee.

After a quick power nap we put our bathing suits on and hit the beach. Where we were staying was in Station 3 of Boracay. Stations 1-3 break the island apart. Station 1 is the most touristy, most crowded, and most expensive. In station 3 we had the cheapest drinks on the island and the most room on the beach. We didn’t really need to worry about our stuff too much when we went swimming because no one was really around us to worry about. Of corse during high season I bet all three stations are pretty crowded.  

   
 The water surrounding the island is crystal clear. I have never in my life seen water this clear and turquoise. It felt like a bath. I was never once cold being in the water either. Even when it was raining it wasn’t bad.

Since we did come during the low season we had to expect some rainy days but for the most part we missed them. Our last two days on the island did get some rain, but it was alright we made the best of our time.

The whole first day we swam, ate, and relaxed in this amazing place. The first day we did meet the queen of the island, or who thinks she’s the queen. She’s this lovely lady who gets things done! She told us she worked for the US Embassy and that’s why she always gets so much done. She does everything for the island if you need to get something done, find someone, want something fun to do, a good restaurant she’s the person to find. She sits in station three all day and tans or tells people how to do their jobs ha ha.  

   

I will post more soon about the remaining of our trip. That was just our first day in paradise; I have much more to share soon. 

  

Mỹ Tho

Going into Mikes interviews the first week we thought we would love living in My Tho the most; its out in the country and very cheap to live. We spent about 2 days that first week in My Tho.My Tho is a little south of Saigon (now known as Ho Chi Minh City).

  
My friends from Pacific University, Linh and Lan, helped us get bus tickets to My Tho. It was only about a 45 min bus ride there from HCMC. The bus was so neat! I wish I would have taken a picture of them. When you get on the bus you take off your shoes and put them in bags. The seats on the bus were all reclined and either on the floor or in like a bunk bed type set up. Since the bus wasn’t going to My Tho directly we got dropped off on the side of the high way. Which we didn’t realize was going to be quite far from our hotel. Luckily we found another bus going to My Tho. But from there we were still about 6 miles from our hotel. So we took one of the only taxies in that town to the hotel. 

As soon as we got into our room it started to rain. Now, this was our first rain fall in Vietnam and it rains here! It’s not like a sprinkle in Portland where it lasts all day. If you walk out in the rain here you will get drenched to the bone! 

  
Thank god the hotel we were staying at offered to cook us dinner for $6 each ( expensive for Vietnam but totally worth it!). We got a whole fish, bread, taro soup, rice, and vegetables. This hotel was called Chalet Suisse Guest House it was so relaxing! When my parents come or if we decide to go out to the country with my friends we will try to stay here again. It was so quiet way out in the country a perfect get away!! I would recommend this place to anyone. 

So the next morning when we woke up, we realized crap.. Mikes interview is 6 miles away. The hotel does rent bicycles and motor bikes for $10 a day but it was hot in the country and we weren’t about to bicycle all the way there. This was the best opportunity for Mike to ride a motor bike.
 It was pretty scary, I’m not gonna lie. But thank god his first time riding one wasn’t in HCMC. 

   
 To get to My Tho we had to go over pretty close to the worlds longest bridge( or what felt like it!). At least in Vietnam you can go as slow as you want. So we kinda just took our time getting to the interview. I was so relieved once we finally made it! It’s definitely an event in our lives that we will never forget! 

  
After his interview we spent the rest of the day just driving around the country side. The country side here is so beautiful! We drove around bout 2 hrs before I realized we should probably go back to the hotel and put some sunscreen on….whoops! We were too late!! Mikes hands and thighs absolutely roasted and my back and shoulders were so red. 

  
For everyone that wants to visit, bring plenty of sunscreen and bug spray! All the sunscreen we have found here is pretty pricy and there is no bug spray with deet in it. That’s one thing that really turned me off from living in the country. I didn’t necessarily want to wear bug spray everyday. But I definitely needed too. I’m not sure if it’s my blood or what but by the end of the My Tho trip I had over 20 mosquito bites. Although malaria isn’t that common in Vietnam, along the delta where there is always standing water some pockets do pop up and that’s something I really didn’t want to get. 

Getting back to HCMC was a lot easier then getting to My Tho. This was our last night in HCMC for the week so we splurged a little on the room and instead of a $20 room we spent $26 at the Blue River Hotel. It was worth it to me :) I got the first and only hair dryer I would use for the entire month. For our last night my friends took us to Bar Fang Pub to celebrate my birthday. It was a little late for my birthday but I have to admit it was one of the best birthday celebrations I’ve ever had! 
At this bar they have a few bands that play American pop music. It is a little loud, but totally worth it. The band plays most of the songs better than the originals!

   
   
I’ll post soon about our amazing Philippines trip! I can’t wait to share it with you! Again, don’t feel shy to send an email! I would love one! 

Also, please let me know your thoughts on the videos! I know their short but it’s the closest I’ve came to posting some of our GoPro footage.  

Hello Vietnam!!!!

We’re in Vietnam!! I feel like in every post I apologize for not writing sooner… But again I’m sorry. We’ve been here for about 2 weeks now and we’ve been going going going. But we’re finally settled for the most part now in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC).

Ho Chi Minh City

We actually got to HCMC on July 27th and stayed for about a week. Then we took a trip to the Philippines for a week before we came back for good ( I’ll post about the Philippines soon!). The first week we were here we did a little of the touristy things here.
We went to the War Remnants Museum one day and spent a good 3 hours reading about the American War.

War Remnants Museum image

The American war… that really through me off at first. I had never heard of a war being called the American War, but it makes sense. Everyone has asked me if the perception of the war is skewed in the museums but I don’t really think so. I guess the perception of the war that I got all my life was that we probably shouldn’t have been over here. That’s what I got from the museums too. We spent a lot of time, lost a lot of lives, and some people are still suffering from the war today.
People also ask a lot if there is any hostility between the Vietnamese and U.S. tourists that visit. I would say where we are (in the south) there isn’t any hostility, surprisingly. I can’t say what it’s like In Hanoi since I haven’t been there. Even though the war has been over for 40 years people are still being born with side effects of the war. Walking around in HCMC you will see people with severe birth defects which were more then likely caused by Agent Orange. There hasn’t been a day yet where I haven’t seen someone without a disability. I think I pick up a lot on it too since I studied disabilities in college and also coming from China where we NEVER saw anyone with a disability making it more apparent too. So I’m really surprised there isn’t more hostility for the damage we have done and are still doing.
The U.S. did begin to help the Vietnamese government clean up certain hot spots in 2010.

Agent Orange Hot Spots

But I think there is more that can be done. One of the goals Mike and I have being here is to volunteer with different organizations and also eventually help other foreigners to do the same.
Overall I think the museums are very accurate and, with that war being the first where reporters were really present, there is a lot of information and fantastic graphic photos shown. Like I said we spent about 3 hours in the museum and didn’t even read anything on the first floor. This museum is about $2 each to go in though so we’ll go back for sure.
That was the most touristy thing we did the first week we were here. Our main purpose for that week was to find Mike a job. He had 3 interviews at different English centers lined up that week. The first two were in HCMC and the last was in My Tho.
I will post more about our My Tho adventure within two days! I’m serious this time :)

My Tho Trip Continue reading

We’re moving!!!!

Life has been pretty busy here until this week. A few things have happened at work and were at the point where this is no longer the place for us. No worries though! Were moving to Vietnam!!!! Mike has already secured a teaching job and we’re looking to move to My Tho, Vietnam

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It looks pretty neat and we’re super excited. I heard that in My Tho to eat all day will cost less than $1. Were super excited! I’m not positive yet where I will work, but I hope I will be able to find something easily, maybe in the healthcare field. That’s not the only great news though; we’re also traveling to Boracay, Philippines.

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We’ve had this trip planed for a while and we decided not to change it even though we will be living in Vietnam now. We will leave for Vietnam on July 26th and stay there for about a week. Then August 2rd- 8th we will go to Boracay for a little vacation before returning back to Vietnam to work.
Although we are excited for Vietnam, we are absolutely stoked for Boracay!!! It looks absolutely amazing. If you have time I highly recommend you Google it. All the pictures that turn up look exactly like a screen saver.
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Mike has been planning this trip for a while now. He has us going parasailing, snorkeling, hiking and tons more things. This trip were hopping to do everything (plane ticket, hotel, food, activities) between $500-$800. Our plane tickets turned out to be $100 round trip each and the hotel we got is about $41 a night.
Besides planning our trip and packing, we haven’t been up to much. Our work schedule changed since the students are out of public school for the summer. Now we both have to be at the school Monday- Saturday from 9am-6pm. But I only teach 3 hours a day and Mike only teaches 2 hours a day. We also both have one day off of teaching but we still have to be in the office. So we have a lot of free time. I’ve been reading a lot and learning Vietnamese! It’s a lot easier than Chinese for me.
Other then that, Mike and I are just living day by day. We celebrated the 4th of July with some Korean BBQ and rum and coke.
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It was really relaxing. I the Korean places here are so good and always so friendly to us!
I will be sure to post again after our trips? Tons to come early next month with our new town and vacation!!

Zai Jian (Goodbye)

Hong Kong Adventure- Day 6- Back to China

Our flights going back to Weihai went relatively smooth. I only got questioned at customs about where in Weiahi I was going. Which hardly ever happens. Luckily it wasn’t a big deal and they waved me right on through. On the flight from Hong Kong to Shanghai we got ice cream, again! I’m definitely flying with this company again, if they always serve ice cream with their flight!!Now were back in Weihai. Working hard as usual. We start our paleo diet. Its going really well. We allow ourselves three cheats a week so that we can go out to eat with people. In China one of the main sources of fun is to go out and eat with one another and they don’t take no for an answer. So we allow ourselves to go out every now and then. We’ve learned how to make cauliflower rice and Chili and sweet and sour without any preservatives. We learned how to make the sauce from scratch. It feels really good that we eat so healthy now!

Last week we went to a public middle school to teach. Mike will continue teaching there on Thursdays, but I will start to teach at a public first grade in September.  The middle school students weren’t as scary as I thought they would be. The last class did give me a little hard time. But overall it went okay. In the public schools in China they go from 8am-6pm. BUT they get a one-hour naptime during the day. That nap was pretty nice after teaching two classes and having three more to go that day. Mikes classes went really well. His size definitely helps him in the classroom and everywhere in China. People are pretty intimidated by him and never want to upset him. 

I’ve had a couple sick days. Not sure why. I had these rashes that looked like scratches all over my body for a couple days. Then two days ago I had some really bad fevers. I’m pretty much back to normal I think now. But I do have a little cold now. I think I’ve been really stressed with the lesson plans and it seams like I’m never caught up. But I’m working on it, hopefully I’ll get over being sick so much soon.

Mike and I are now planning our next big adventure! We have two weeks off at the end of July. We are planning to go to Vietnam for one week and then travel over to the Philippines. I have a few friends in Vietnam that I met at Pacific and they want to travel around with us, it’s going to be so fun! They already have it mapped out where they want to take us. Then we are going over to the Philippines for five nights. The other teacher at our school, GG, is going to meet us there and stay with us too. Always trying to figure out my next adventure!

My parents will be here on Saturday of this week! Pretty excited to show them around Weihai. There isn’t too much to do here, but it will be nice to show them where I live and some of the food.

父母

Fùmǔ (Parents)

Hong Kong Adventure- Day 5

The New Kowloon hostel was very accommodating and very nice, so we decided to stay in that hostel for two nights. We were hopping to get an early start and try to do a hike and go to another beach in the same day. But we slept in a bit and got a little late start. By the time we got going and got lunch it was a little after 11am. We took the subway to a semi remote part of Hong Kong. Then we took a mini bus even farther out to Brides Pool Nature Park.  It was so nice being out of the city! I really enjoyed it. But we didn’t really think this hike through. We weren’t positive where we were going and we didn’t know when the bus was coming back around. We also didn’t bring, or even think to bring any bug spray. For anyone who decides to go hiking somewhere tropical, you need bug spray! Lucky for Mike I distracted all the mosquitoes away from him! I ended up with 24 mosquito bites up and down my legs. 

When we walked in to the nature park it was so quiet! It was like a normal park, had some bbq pits and places to hang out but there was no one around. We hiked up a ways to a waterfall.

     It wasn’t a long hike, only took us about 15 minutes or so. We had to go off the trail to get to the waterfall but it was worth it. Super beautiful and peaceful.

After a while we headed back towards the road to wait for the mini bus to come back around. We probably ended up waiting at the bus stop for almost an hour. But we were taking pictures with the go pro and trying to figure it out…still ha ha

Once we got back to the subway station we decided to try and find Stanly beach. We heard that there was a bus that took people out there and the name was even on the signs everywhere. But we had no luck finding that bus. We asked everyone and went through every bus on both sides of the road, but no luck. 

Plan B, we went back over to Hong Kong Island and took a ferry to Lantau Island. It was a quick ferry only took us about 30 minuets. It was a quiet island. No cars. A lot of the people live on this Island because it’s quieter and cheaper to live, but then work on Hong Kong Island. We wondered the Island for a bit. There wasn’t much to see or do here, but there looked to be some really good seafood restaurants. 

We chose a restaurant that had happy hour drinks for 30HK (which is only like $3.50 or something close to) 

  

  

  

We sat there for a couple hours had a couple glasses of wine and watched the sun set. Mike and I played some card games, and then I may or may not beat him horribly at checkers ha ha. When we were ready to pay we realized we didn’t know if in Hong Kong if we were suppose to tip or not. Back in Weihai people get really angry with you if you try to tip. But a British couple ran the bar we were at, so we thought maybe it was different. We decided to ask the people behind us. They looked young and like they probably lived here. 

They were super friendly! Gave us some good travel advice for our next trip. Apparently the two ladies had backpacked through Asia 10 years earlier. Now one of the sisters lives in Hong Kong with her husband they do some kind of business there. They were super helpful, apparently you can tip some in Hong Kong. Good thing we asked.

After our talk with them, they pointed us to a good seafood place for dinner. We spent our last bit of money on egg rolls, clams, and shrimp. It was worth it. We had just enough money to get back to Hong Kong Island.

The people we met at the bar had told us that there was actually a ferry that went from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon every 8 minutes. I guess it opened back in the 1800’s and still works today. We really wish we would have known that earlier instead of spending so much money on the subway. The ferry to Kowloon only cost us 3HK each. Not even one dollar!

When we got back to the hostel we checked out early because we thought out plane time was earlier then it was. Turns out we would fly out at noon the next day back to Shanghai then to Weihai

远足

Yuǎnzú (Hike)