“This is not my beautiful wife”

My friend, Vicky Ann, arrived with the rain and cooler temperatures.  It would be a week before she saw the sun in Vietnam, something I’d spent months avoiding.  For someone who has never left North America, I am so impressed with how well she has managed here.  Then again, anyone who knows Vicky Ann would not be surprised.  It is fun watching how even the smallest things (like laundry hanging from a balcony, a man carrying bread, a woman wearing a hat, or anything involving electrical wires) continually amaze her.  I am seeing Vietnam through new eyes and enjoying every moment.  

I have to admit, this site did catch my eye.

Before leaving Hanoi, I had to finish up some work, visit a school, say goodbye to friends, and I had a chance to be a tourist for a change.  Vicky Ann came along for the ride with an open mind and sense of adventure.  We had a long bus ride on a “disco bus” with blaring music and a disco ball, got lost in a province three hours away, rowed through caves, ate pho on low plastic stools on the street, met many people, and walked miles and miles every day in the rain.  I even lost her on a tour of a pagoda complex.  The guide warned us to stay with the group, but Vicky Ann ran ahead and wasn’t found for nearly two hours.  After that experience, she won’t leave my side!

All this just to use the “WC”

Now that we’ve moved on from Hanoi, we have had a chance to enjoy the beach (thought she would never leave) and are learning about everything else Vietnam has to offer.  

Outside the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum

As we wander through Vietnam, we are constantly approached as husband and wife.  Being older than your mid-twenties and unmarried is practically unheard of here, so we are used to it.  It doesn’t take long for my travel companion to whip out her phone and start showing pictures of her grandchildren and all the snow at home.  It doesn’t matter if the Vietnamese don’t understand her, she keeps talking and making friends wherever she goes!

. . . and these are my grandchildren . . .

If you want to see more photos from our trip, I have introduced Vicky Ann to Instagram and she is addicted.  Follow her here: @vdeledda.  

Vicky Ann arrives in Vietnam

Visiting a school in Yen Bai to teach poetry

Students reading poems

Vicky Ann’s a great photographer!

Meeting one of my university students, Tung Anh

The children made the soldiers laugh.

Even preschoolers visit the body of Ho Chi Minh

The soldiers dressed in white guarded the mausoleum.

Receiving flowers at the mausoleum

Making a music video in the park

Not everyone enjoyed the music

We rowed through seven caves.

The area is known as the Ha Long Bay on land

We had to duck to get through

Inside the cave

Clearing invasive plants from the water

Our guide told us the tower was closed, but somehow Vicky Ann made it to the top before rejoining the group.

Rubbing the knees of Buddha brings good luck

My advisor, Hang, took us around Hanoi’s Old Quarter

Tug of war game in the streets

Traditional music

Hanoi’s cathedral

A woman wearing the ao dai, the traditional Vietnamese dress

The guillotine at Hoa Lo Prison, a.k.a. the “Hanoi Hilton”

Home in the silk neighborhood

Woman weaving silk

Learning to take a selfie with one of my students, Hoang.

Comments (22):

  1. Lori Liguori

    January 20, 2017 at 06:33

    How wonderful!!! Oh, Vicky Ann…..you make me giggle!!!!! So happy to hear you are both having an amazing time!

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      January 23, 2017 at 08:10

      Many, many laughs every day.

      Reply
  2. Paula Agins

    January 20, 2017 at 07:09

    Repeating myself, but these posts make my day!!!

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      January 23, 2017 at 08:10

      And your comments make our day!

      Reply
  3. Monica Schnee

    January 20, 2017 at 07:29

    Great photos, great times and guess you also made it to Halong Bay! Back in the States and missing it all so much. Keep on enjoying.

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      January 23, 2017 at 08:13

      No Halong Bay, but we did do “Halong Bay on Land” which was great. Hope you’re having a good transition back to school.

      Reply
  4. Elaine T

    January 20, 2017 at 07:38

    I am stunned by the beauty and humanity in these pictures. That is so great that Vikky Ann made a visit!

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      January 23, 2017 at 08:15

      Thanks, Elaine. It is beautiful.

      Reply
  5. anne

    January 20, 2017 at 07:40

    As everyone else thoroughly enjoying the post! Pictures are outstanding from both of you!! Loving every second of it!!

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      January 23, 2017 at 08:15

      And she’s loving your likes and comments on Instagram!

      Reply
  6. Diane Gallo

    January 20, 2017 at 10:16

    So glad you are having a great experience together! Great to see all your pics.

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      January 23, 2017 at 08:16

      It’s nice to have someone from home see all of this, because I can’t begin to describe it all myself.

      Reply
  7. Cindy J Cassidy

    January 20, 2017 at 12:03

    It warms my heart to see my favorite “husband and wife” together and making MORE happy memories together. Continue enjoying your adventures on your “honeymoon!” Love to you both xoxoxoxo

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      January 23, 2017 at 08:17

      She’s already planning the next trip.

      Reply
  8. LInda A Wight

    January 20, 2017 at 12:59

    Glad to see that Vicky Anne has an adventurous spirit also. What a wonderful opportunity to see the sites, people and places together. Hope the poetry teaching is going well. The cave are so interesting. Spectacular pictures from both of you. Thank you, again, for sharing

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      January 23, 2017 at 08:17

      Vicky Ann is very adventurous, for sure. Thanks for reading and responding!

      Reply
  9. Deidre

    January 22, 2017 at 17:00

    Vicky Ann makes retirement look oh so good! What an adventure you are having. Glad to hear Vicky Ann is staying close by your side. What an adventure you are both having!!! Loved the post and seeing you both!

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      January 23, 2017 at 08:18

      Yes, she does make it look good. Wish I could join her, but it’s a little too early.

      Reply
  10. Diane Weisman

    January 26, 2017 at 10:19

    Great to see you on you’re adventures around the country.

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      January 28, 2017 at 08:52

      Thanks, Diane. It’s nice to have a break from work.

      Reply
  11. Donald

    January 26, 2017 at 18:52

    Tim, thanks for showing Vickyann a good time, and yes she’s alittle ADD, love her sister K

    Reply
    • Tim Flanagan

      January 28, 2017 at 08:53

      Glad you’re following along with our adventures. I’m having lots of fun with your sister!

      Reply

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