We are so fortunate to be sheltering in Da Nang during this pandemic. We are able to go places and do things. The virus appears to be under control and with sane precautions we are able to enjoy this part of Vietnam. We’ve been here long enough that we have our top 5 spots.
5. Hoi An Ancient Town
This picturesque town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s touristy with lots of shops and souvenirs. It also has lovely ancient buildings and views of the water. Hoi An is a short. (less than 45 minutes) ride from Da Nang. A highlight for us was the river boat ride.
4. Bana Hills Sun World
This place is amazing! A marvel of engineering and design, it’s set high above the city. To get there you take the world’s longest cable car. After a breathtaking ride you can spend hours exploring the park. There are amusement park rides, arcade games, flower gardens and beautiful buildings. A highlight of Bana Hills for most folks is the amazing Golden Hands Bridge.
3. Kwan Yin Statue
I love that we are sheltering in a city that is overlooked by Kwan Yin. She is the Buddhist goddess of love and compassion. A short ride up into the hills can take you for a visit. There you can oooh and ahhh at beautiful statues and gardens and even see some monkeys (a highlight for me).
It’s a water park! It’s a zoo! It’s an amusement park! It’s an awesome place to spend the day! Vinpearlland is the kind of place you have to experience, it’s hard for me to really tell you how much fun can be had there! I’ve been twice and each time I discover more. I especially loved feeding the giraffes on the safari river!
1. Hot Springs Park
I LOVE a good soak in a hot springs or even a hot tub. Unlike most hot springs that I have visited, this place has so much more! It’s a fully loaded water park with all the slides and water features you’d expect. There’s a 5D movie theater, an area full of growling, moving dinosaurs and there are lovely gardens. I really enjoyed the mud bath I had and spending time with Kathy and our friends at this lovely place.
We are grateful for our time here in Da Nang. It’s a beautiful big city. We are looking forward to exploring more of Vietnam in the near future and sharing our experiences with you!
I love mornings here in Da Nang. No matter how early I’m up there are folks up ahead of me. The markets are bustling at 6am.
The coffee shops and bahn mi stands are also up and ready for business by 6.
But the thing I love most are mornings at the beach. I went today for the 5:18 sunrise, enjoying the beauty of the path leading to our local beach.
The beach was already crowded. The sights of families swimming, elders exercising and crowds of people briskly walking bring me joy.
Perhaps this is not scientific but I think that the Vietnamese commitment to community and wellness has contributed to the low Covid numbers. As beloved and frequently used as the beaches are when ordered everyone respected the closing of the beaches and following the rules was the norm.
Kathy and I are so grateful to be in such a safe and beautiful place during these difficult times. We hold all in our prayers and meditations. We surround you all with love and light. We pray for an end to this pandemic. We pray for the dismantling of systemic racism and injustice. We trust and affirm that healing is happening and change is coming!
A friend asked me about how Kathy and I began to consider prepare for and experience BOLT (Black Old Lesbians Traveling) life. As I answered her, I decided to also share my answers in this post.
Kathy and I have talked about a life of travel from the moment we met. It was something we always considered. We traveled a lot even while working. We found we travel well together.
In 2014, after years of caring for my mom (an ancestor now) and being at my job for 32 years, Kathy and I set our intention to be”home free” travelers by the time I turned 60 in September 2015.
It took us about a year of preparation and letting go of stuff, property, etc to be ready to hit the road:
We had yard sales, donated stuff, gifted things to friends. We sold our house and cars.
We made living wills as well as traditional wills.
We got bank accounts with no ATM fees (Charles Schwab is good).
We digitized all our important documents and keep them in the”cloud”.
A few guidelines and agreements we made:
We could each have one rolling bag, one backpack and one purse which must hold everything we need.
We limited ourselves to one bin of stuff to save: pictures, mementos from my kids, etc. These are in Kathy’s mom’s garage.
We made budgets and savings plans.
We talked a lot about what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go.
Then we set out. The 30 day cruise was the perfect way to begin world travel. We went to over 10 new destinations and traveled from Seattle to Singapore with no jet lag.
I still had too much stuff, broke our 1 rolling bag rule and had to give a bunch more stuff away while traveling. It worked out ok because the the cruise and hotel staff benefited.
After a year in Asia we decided to pursue another dream: RV travel. I love road trips and seeing beautiful North America has been wonderful. But full time RV life is not for me. I like mixing it up with long term stays in foreign countries. I have not found the same connections to community with RV life.
Somethings I’ve learned about myself are:
I don’t like fast travel. In the beginning we would stay places a week or less and they became a blur.
I like staying in places long enough to get to know folks, find meetings, activities etc.
Kathy and I get along well in small spaces but it’s important for us to have solitary time daily. I have quiet time in the morning and I take a solo walk daily.
I’ve always been a neat freak but in RV life it’s super important. A place for everything and everything in it’s place!
I’ve learned I don’t need as much stuff or variety of stuff as I thought… cosmetics, vitamins, hair care stuff, jewelry are some of the many things I carry only small quantities of.
I’m not sure if I answered my friend’s questions but these reflections have been rewarding to me and I hope helpful to someone. If you have any questions about a life of home free travel, please email us at email@example.com.
I’m too tired and jet lagged to write much but the BOLTs have arrived safely in Ensenada, Baja California Norte, Mexico.
We are reunited with the BOLT dog, Kahlo.
And are back in the cozy Winnie.
The trip was grueling with a 5 hour layover in Bangkok and a 12 hour one in Tokyo. We ventured out from Narita Airport, by bus, into Tokyo. I don’t recommend this. The bus ride is 3 hours round trip and all we saw was the big, bustling, business part of Tokyo. We will definitely visit Japan when we have time to explore and enjoy.
We arrived safely in San Diego after a 10 hour flight. From San Diego we enjoyed the Blue Line Trolley which took us right to the Mexican border.
Crossing the border was easy, the Mexican immigration folks are lovely and friendly.
We took a taxi from the border to Ensenada, less than 2 hours, for $80. There are cheaper ways to go (by bus) but we were very tired. We arrived safely at the Mona Lisa RV park. And are enjoying the Pacific Ocean Views.
I love a good road trip and yesterday was the perfect one! We set out in the morning from Inthakin Green Village in Mae Teang. We headed north, destination Chang Dao, just a few kilometers from the Myanmar border.
Most of the drive was along the Ping River which was lovely in itself. We traveled through small villages and lots of lush greenery.
Our first stop in Chang Dao was the temple /home of a local monk. It was wonderful to see him again, he had given us a special blessing a few months ago. We also got to see our friend, Pi Oi, who lives near the monk.
No road trip is complete without delicious food. The gyoza at this small restaurant is amazing!
After our bellies were full, we headed up to this amazing wat (temple) . Called Wat Tam Mung Na, it’s building it built onto a cave. There’s an easy trip up several levels of ramps to the top where you find the cave and are surrounded by soothing chanting and can join in sitting meditation.
Many people come to spend the night or several days in meditation and chanting. There were tents everywhere.
These are the views from the top of the temple.
The temple grounds were very beautiful with lots of amazing statues.
There’s even a cute little coffee shop, which also offered amazing views.
Kathy and I had a truly fabulous day, made even more special because we spent it with people we love. Thank you Wanvisa, Jen and Ajan Sai for a perfect day!
Just about an hour outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand there is a place of healing and power. I don’t know (or care) about the scientific explanation of hot springs or mineral water soaks, I only know I feel great after I visit such places. San Kamphaeng Hot Springs is no exception. It is a delightful space, actually a large park with lovely grounds for strolling as well as many options for soaking. Both times I have gone with groups and that really adds to the experience. There is a large room with a communal tub. Enjoying that tub with girlfriends was a great experience. There is a really good restaurant as well as many food stall vendors. One thing everyone remembers about the hot springs is that the water is so hot in spots that you can boil eggs in it! There are baskets of eggs available as long with instructions for how long to cook them. I hope you will enjoy these pictures and if you are in Chiang Mai, please consider a visit to the springs!
One of our faithful followers reminded me that I haven’t posted a blog lately. Kathy and I have been very busy but I wanted to take a few minutes out for a brief update.
One project that is keeping us joyously busy is helping our dear friend, Wanvisa, in the development of her wellness center, Inthakin Green Village. We’ve had lots of fun brainstorming ideas, getting treatments (the best part) and doing some administrative tasks. Kathy has been working hard, designing a website and it should be published soon. We do have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Inthakin-Green-Village-254781621989943/
The other thing keeping us (me) busy is that I am doing my first community theater gig. It will be a readers theater production of James Baldwin’s “The Amen Corner”. I am working with a fabulous group of people and we are under the direction of the very skilled Stephan Turner, who is the founder of the Gate Theater, here in Chiang Mai. If you are in or near Chiang Mai please come out and support us: https://www.facebook.com/TheGateTheater/photos/a.466250796762976/1791627774225265/?type=3&theater
So that’s us for now, how about you? We love hearing from you: where you are, what you are doing and how can we help? More about our Black Old Lesbian Traveling adventures soon!
It has been a whirlwind month for BOLT. In addition to our wonderful stay at Inthakin Green Village we had a delightful time playing host to our dear friends, Lecia and Sergio.
It was wonderful showing them around, playing tourist and sharing with them the Thailand that we know and love.
Kathy and I are not crazy about Bangkok but it is a must stop for your first visit to Thailand. We were waiting for Sergio and Lecia at the Air BnB we rented and had planned a fun-packed 5 day stay in Bangkok. The first day we spent shopping at the humoungous Platinum Fashion Mall. We had fun, got great bargins and returned home exhausted.
We had a ball the next day, being pure tourists at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. We even got to enjoy a boat ride during a monsoon rain!
Of course, no visit to Bangkok is complete without going to the Grand Palace.
Thanks to Lecial and Sergio we finally got to visit Wat Pho.
In contrast to the sacred beauty of Wat Pho we got to experience another type of beauty…the faboulous queens at the Stranger Bar drag show!
One of the most fun things we did in Bangkok was also the cheapest! We took the local (15 Baht) boat and saw the city from a different view point.
We loved showing Lecia and Sergio around our beloved city of Chiang Mai. They got to meet some of our friends, do more shopping and enjoy the local cuisine. Lecia and Sergio also got to spend some time at an elephant camp.
My dear friend the phenomenal Lacey Clark asked the question that inspired this post. She asked what does community mean to me. While I can’t give a precise definition I can share what community looks and feels like for me.
Community is embarking on a 5 hour pilgrimage up Doi Suthep Mountain for Visakha (Buddha Day) with the beautiful group above. Community is getting a Facebook shout out even though Kathy and I quit after 2 and a 1/2 hours.
Community is Sunday Dinner and seeing old friends and meeting new ones.
Community is cherishing friendships and having great memories no matter how far away the friends are.
Community is beloved family, near and far.
Community is hours spent at Cafe De JJ talking politics, philosophy, science and a bunch of other random stuff, not to mention enjoying the love on a plate served up by the fabulous Beer (top, right above)!
Community is making friends everywhere we go and doing our best to stay in touch. Hey Keiko (our friend met in Mexico, from Japan and currently in Canada)!
Community is exploring nature with friends. Community is something that must be built, nurtured and cherished. I’m sure community is something that looks different to each of us. One thing I know for sure is that true community feels so wonderful and is something I need. I am grateful to have found it here in Chiang Mai!