BOLT Reviews: Vinpearl Land

I’ve been on a high since Thursday! A group of sister friends and I set out for the local Hot Springs Park. Finding out, mid route, that it was closed our driver made a great suggestion: Vinpearl Land

I’d never heard of this place, located about 40 kilometers outside of Da Nang on the outskirts of Hoi An. It was AMAZING!!!

It’s like this crazy, only in Asia, combination of zoo, water park, amusement park, arcades and more! We were one of a very few visitors and had the place mostly to ourselves.

Vinpearl Land has one of the best, most humane zoos I’ve ever seen. The animals roam in beautifully designed enclosures and we saw no cages. You few the animals on a boat ride with a very knowledgeable guide.There were two stops along the way where we got to feed the giraffes and elephants.I feel like the actor on the commercials where they say “But wait, there’s more!!!”. There’s a parrot house where the birds come and perch on you as you feed them.There’s a water park with a wave pool, a lazy river and all kinds of water slides.There was a large amusement park area with lots of thrilling rides.The grounds and buildings were lovely and well maintained.Three things were a bit disappointing to our group. Unlike other attractions we have visited the arcade games were not included in the admission price. Neither was the tram ride to help you cover the vast park. Also the food was a bit disappointing. We paid a flat fee of 550k dong which included a meal. There were only two choices of meal however: vegetarian (eggs, rice and spring rolls) or a bowl of beef and noodles. Perhaps this will be different with more people attending.Despite those small inconveniences we all agreed that it was an amazing day! If you are visiting Da Nang, I highly recommend Vinpearl Land!

Be Happy Now, Simple Buddhist Teachings on YouTube

What many of you may not know is that Kathy, my beloved wife and BOLT co-founder, is also an ordained Zen Buddhist Priest and Dharma teacher.

International Buddhist Meditation Center (IBMC)

Kathy was trained in Vietnamese Zen Buddhist practices. She spent 15 year living and learning at the International Buddhist Meditation Center in the heart of Los Angeles.

Reverend Karuna Dharma

Kathy’s teacher, the venerable Karuna Dharma, was a renown Buddhist scholar and the first American born woman to become a Buddhist nun . She gave Kathy the name Abhya Hanasi Karuna. It means Fearless Laughter Compassion. I think it suits her.

Kathy’s YouTube Channel

During this time of global pandemic Kathy is truly living up to her name. She is creating YouTube videos in which she shares about Buddhism with simplicity and humor. You can watch one of her great videos here.

Please visit her YouTube page and like, subscribe and share. You’ll be so glad you did!

Watch “The Brahma Viharas: 4 Paths to Love” on YouTube

Kathy is an ordained Zen Buddhist Dharma teacher. She has been creating YouTube videos on basic Buddhism. These are especially designed to be helpful during sheltering at home. I really love this one.

My Khe in the Morning

5 a.m. in Da Nang Vietnam is a magical time. I fall our of bed, do my morning devotions and then head to My Khe Beach. The beach had been closed due to Covid 19 restrictions but I could walk along the sidewalk and enjoy the views.

That all changed on April 23. Lockdown is over and the beach is open.

It was actually a bit more crowded than I was comfortable with. However I kept my mask on, stayed 2 meters away from folks and enjoyed the sights!

There were men and women exercising to upbeat music.

Lots of folks swimming, splashing and wading in the waves.

There were people exercising by themselves and in small groups.

The fisherfolk were out gathering the sea snails that I see all the time for sale in the local markets.

Lifeguards were vigilantly keeping watch.

Peaceful Falun Gong practitioners were greeting the morning.

Even though it was quite cloudy and cool it was an amazing morning.

And I was enjoying it all! Thank you for letting me share it with you.


Kathy and I feel very safe here in DaNang Vietnam. We have good reason for this. Vietnam has one of the lowest incidences of Covid 19 in the world. This is amazing when you consider that we share a border with China and are a mere 1200 miles away from Wuhan (where the virus first was documented).

There are many reasons for the low number of cases and the fact that there have been no deaths. This NPR article gives some details as to why this is so. The Vietnamese government was very proactive from the start. When we got off the plane in February we were carefully screened including our temperatures being taken. Masks have been worn for months, hand washing and social distancing have been stressed and for the most part respected.

I feel that in addition to a respect for governmental authority (say what you want, this is a Communist country), there is also a real level of concern for the well being of others. Masks are worn, not just to protect the wearer but for the protection of others. There has been no hoarding or panic buying of food or home goods. To alleviate food insecurity rice ATMs have been installed. While I have heard about some xenophobia, it is my understanding that it is not sanctioned by the government.

So BOLT intends to remain in DaNang until the pandemic is over, maybe even until a vaccine is created. We are practicing social distancing, eating well and enjoying our time together. We know we are extremely privileged during these times. We hold all those who are sick and are affected negatively by the pandemic in our prayers and meditations.

Lockdown Graditude

Kathy and I have been talking about gratitude a lot lately. Not just talking about it but practicing it. These are scary, uncertain times. One thing that helps to keep me grounded are gratitude lists.

There are many ways to make a gratitude list. Kathy recently shared about one method on her YouTube Channel. Gratitude lists can be done mentally like I do first thing in the morning. They can be written in many different ways. Today, on this post I am doing a pictorial gratitude list. I’m going to share pictures of 10 things that I am grateful for. They are in no particular order.

1. I can’t imagine doing this alone! I am grateful for our marriage and all the ways we are blessed to be together!
2. I am grateful for our extended family and that everyone is safe and healthy.

3. I am grateful for all the wonderful friends we have made while traveling. I’m grateful that we check in on one another even during lockdown.
4. I’m grateful for my best friend, Lecia, and for all the ways we support one another.
5. I’m grateful for the gift of motherhood and for my 3 amazing sons!
6. Being a grandma is awesome! I’m really grateful for my 4 grandchildren!
7. I’m grateful for my mom. Even though she is no longer with us, I’m forever grateful for her!

8. I’m super grateful for technology, like my phone ( our computers, television, etc. They really help to keep my connected, informed and busy.
9. I’m grateful for the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables and that I can walk to this local market.
10. I’m grateful for our rooftop pool and for my sweet neighbor. I’m grateful that I can be her substitute grandma while she is far from her home.
What are you grateful for? I love doing these challenges. Maybe they can help get you started.

Finding Beauty in Fruit

Living under shelter in place rules means that the highlight of my day is a walk to the local market. I try to find and share beauty every day. I often find it in the fruits of Vietnam.

Many of these fruits were unusual to me. I’ve tried to buy and try most of them. Of course there are lots of pineapple, mango and watermelon, but I thought I’d share some of the more unusual ones here.


Jackfruit has a funky smell but is really sweet and delicious. It can be used as substitute for meat in tacos and curries.


This is a sapodilla or sapote. It’s really delicious, having sweet cinnamony taste.

Custard Apple

I never had a custard apple until coming to Vietnam. While it’s not very pretty it is really delicious-sweet and creamy, lots of seeds though.

Star Fruit

Star fruit are really lovely as a garnish on a fruit plate. I’ve yet to have one that is anything but bland and sour.


I fell in love with rambutan and longan in Thailand. They are well worth the effort it takes to get them out of their skins and into your mouth. Their taste reminds me of a green grape.


Mangosteen has all sorts of health benefits and it’s really good too.


The bananas in Southeast Asia taste different than the ones in North America. I like the small ones the best. They are sweet and firm.

Dragon Fruit

Dragon Fruit gets my vote for the prettiest fruit! It has a very bland but not unpleasant flavor.

I’d love to hear from you about which of these fruits have you tried. I’m sure I’ve left some out. Please let me know.