Saturday, November 24, 2007

Lula: The Bruiser

My dear, dear Lula fell today at the White Tiger exhibit at the Singapore Zoo, scraping her face and bruising her forehead.

Furthermore, I did not mention that she rolled off the bed in Vietnam while sleeping and woke up with a bottom lip 4 times the normal size. It was too disturbing to photograph and the swelling went down in several hours.

The good news is that she's still cute.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Halong Bay

Having left Hoi An early to escape the floods. We got a tour booked to Halong Bay a UNESCO World Heritage site on the Bai Tu Long Junk boat for two nights.

There are little floating fishing villages that I would have liked to explore. Also, there are grocery boats that try to sell their goods to people on boats.

Thanksgiving and new families

For a moment there I forgot it's Thanksgiving! It's very low-key here as you may have guesssed. We're celebrating with some new friends who we were put in touch with because we have similarly aged children and are from New York.

While in Vietnam at breakfast in Hanoi one morning we were privileged to witness the final signing of papers certifying the new parents of a happy little Vietnamese girl who would be moving to Atlanta that same day. I was so excited for them that I cried a little (not so unusual for me.)

Meanwhile, news from home, my cousin Rachel Slack originally from China is turning 13 and celebrating her Bat Mitzvah very soon! You may read more about her here and here. It's very exciting because I get to say I knew her when she was a little little girl and now she's very mature and well-spoken.

Lula & Maya are talking a lot and remember everything about everyone back home even beyond one year ago. Maya is repeating the last one or two words of every sentence I say which. I love to hear her toddlerese versions of "polyester" and other words I throw in to keep it interesting.

They are very loving with one another and play together well punctuated by much screaming, pinching, pushing and fighting. This photo shows how a fight for the front seat of the stroller ended well and in a nice compromise.

Lula is tiring of only having friends who speak "Mandawin" and would like more "Engwish" speaking friends. She's switching into an English dominant curriculum next month and hopefully she'll be more comfortable. She has a French friend Lea who lives in the same apartment as us on another floor of our building. They play together very well despite not sharing much language.

I have also included a photo of Chandrika. She invited us to celebrate Deepavali with her family. She's the flight attendant for Jet Airways who I kept running into at Ananda Bhavan vegetarian restaurant.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Charms of Hanoi

After we got out of Hoi An we went on to Danang to the aiport and we were able to get on an earlier flight to Hanoi.

The Old Quarter of Hanoi is nice. A lot of quaint French influence mixed with old Vietnamese and newer ugly industrial decay. At first I didn't like it but I did grow fond of it and I would liked to have stayed longer.

Dangers of the Road

It was very challenging to get around with the children because crossing the street was really hard. The sidewalks are filled with parked mopeds and motor cycles so it wasn't worth it to use the stroller. The way the locals cross the street is to walk really slowly while vehicles whiz around them. It was too scary for me to do so I'd wait ages for a break in the traffic. Shocking to me the crossing signal did not mean vehicles would stop. During the time I was there I didn't figure out what the traffic lights were for.

Two nights ago we drove around a motorcycle accident with a person lying in the middle of the highway (dead or alive, I don't know). Rob suggested to the driver we call the police but he didn't not speak English. Everyone just drove around him and I suppose eventually the police came.

On average 38 children/young adults die a day in Vietnam due to head injuries resulting from auto bike accidents. We drove by 4 accidents during our 8 day trip.

Hoi An Flood - 3 Feet High and Rising

Hoi An Flood:
Photos include the courtyard of our hotel, wading out down the street in water at the high end of my thigh, boats, photo of Lula, Maya & Me in our flood garb and the water line on my dress.

Monday, November 12, 2007


We arrived yesterday, it was raining and some streets flooded. It's an adorable town. I was very excited to go to the tailors and have my vogue tear sheets duplicated. However by morning, Rob's colleague who was in town as well, texted me asking if we were flooded in. I looked out the window and the courtyard of the hotel was all water and boats were going by in the street.

We packed up and the hotel helped us to get out. Our luggage was loaded into a boat and we followed, wading through thigh high waters with children in life jackets that I'd brought for our boat trip scheduled later. It was pretty exhilarating and scary for a little while. We didn't know if we'd get out or be stuck for days living off the nuts and crackers I'd brought. We were helped along to higher ground - first to a tailors where we waited a bit then to a shoe store where we were able to get a taxi to take us to Danang where we are now. We're at a fancy hotel (Furama Hotel) waiting to get on a flight to Hanoi - got an earlier flight. Hopefully we can go back to Hoi An later...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Around Cochin

Day Four - Driving Around Cochin, Kerala

This was a day in which I was constantly yelling STOP THE CAR! In order to get out and take photographs. One time I got out of the car with only my camera (no phone or wallet) and the driver, so intent on sticking to his itinerary, drove off to show Rob the Synagogue without saying a word to me about the plan. They left me there for about 15 minutes. I was pretty annoyed but since nothing went terribly wrong during that time I didn't make a big fuss about it.