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 Channelhttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGchxaPN1j9p0PjVDyu2a_A

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.

THANK YOU VIETNAM!

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 (https://amzn.to/2wGqMHC) 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.

BOLT in the Time of Rona

These are trying times for us all. Kathy and I are safely in Vietnam and doing well. We are practicing social distancing which is not so easy for these 2 Black old lesbians! This blog is about some of the things Kathy and I are doing to stay physically well, mentally strong and emotionally positive during the pandemic.

I assume we’ve all read all the information about hand washing, avoiding crowds, corona statistics, etc. In fact, I feel like I’m reading the news more than I should. We feel a lot of concern for our family and friends all over the world. There’s a lot of uncertainty, fear and anxiety. Here are some of the things we can all do instead of spending time in worry or the 24 hour news cycle.

Spend Time in Prayer, Meditation and Quiet

I think this is probably the most important thing that we each do daily. We give each other time and space, every morning and evening, to attend to our individual spiritual practices.

Get Plenty of Fresh Air and Exercise

Even in “shelter in place” situations going outside for a walk or exercise is allowed, and even encouraged. But people are asked to keep their distance from others. I’m participating in the Girl Trek 30 Day Walking Challenge. I’m also extremely grateful that we have a pool and I swim daily. Kathy goes out for a daily walk. She says that if she didn’t walk daily her days would feel very empty.

Keep Mentally Active with Reading, Hobbies and Creative Activities

I’m writing this blog and fool around with Pinterest pages. Kathy has created a YouTube channel. We both read and play brain challenging computer games. These are all great ways to pass the time when faced with stay at home situations.

Keep Your Immune System Strong

There are lots of beautiful fruits and vegetables here in Vietnam and we have found plenty of healthy choices for food. We drink lots of water. Devise at home self care rituals. A silver lining of the pandemic is that we have plenty of time for rest.

Reach Out, Be of Service, Stay in Touch

Even with social distancing or quarantine I think we can find ways to connect with and help one another. If you are member of a 12 Step fellowship there are phone and online meetings. You can brighten someone’s day with a phone call. You can arrange a treat to be delivered to a neighbor or friend or offer to shop for an elder. We’d love to hear from you. Please share your ideas for thriving during these difficult times.

BOLT Reviews: Nui Than Water Park

I felt like a celebrity yesterday! You know, the one who rents out the entire amusement park in order to avoid lines, crowds, etc?

Our small group of 15 had the Nui Than Water Park almost completely to ourselves!

This place is amazing! Acres of traditional water park spaces with slides, lazy rivers and splash zones.

The hot springs are really hot! We enjoyed a wonderful, long soak in beautiful, natural surroundings.

The park is amazingly designed with a lot of attention to detail. They have a tram service to take you around to all the sites.

There are lovely plantings and lots of very cool dinosaurs, dragons and other beautiful statues and displays.

Kind of unusual at a water park was the virtual reality theater. We thoroughly enjoyed an amazing 9D roller coaster ride!

There is a restaurant and options for mud baths, beauty treatments, and massages.

Of course, for us the best part of the day was spending time with friends and family!

We hope you enjoyed these pictures (visit https://amzn.to/2wGqMHC for the camera phone we use) and this account of our day. We love questions and comments!

BOLT❤️Da Nang!

Kathy and I are really enjoying our time here in Da Nang. This coastal city in central Vietnam has so much to offer. I love all the photo ops and keep my camera phone handy at all times.

We love talking long walks along the clean beach and breathing the fresh clean air. There is usually a nice breeze blowing too.

In Da Nang you are literally surrounded and by water as the lovely and peaceful Han River runs through town.

The river has played a significant role in the development of Da Nang. There are 10 bridges crossing the river. The city is on both sides of the river.

One thing we really love about Da Nang is the towering Kwan Yin statue that watches over the city. I really feel the energy of her loving compassion.

There’s an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables in Da Nang. I especially like visiting our local market, Bac My An.

Being right on the ocean, Da Nang seems to be a seafood lover’s paradise.

I’ve been super pleased with the vegetarian options I’ve found.

One of the best things about Da Nang is our ex pat people of color community. We meet frequently for brunches, game nights and outing.

We are looking forward to at least another month here in Da Nang and have found a great apartment with a rooftop pool, 2 blocks from the beach!

We have found the people of Vietnam to be friendly, helpful and kind.

We are very happy here and feel quite safe. I know people have concerns about the Corona virus but Vietnam is currently considered one of the safer countries to be in Southeast Asia. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions, comments or concerns.

BOLT REVIEWS: Hoi An

Any visit to DaNang is not complete without a trip to the ancient town of Hoi An.

Hội An is a city on Vietnam’s central coast known for its well-preserved Ancient Town, cut through with canals. The former port city’s melting-pot history is reflected in its architecture, a mix of eras and styles from wooden Chinese shophouses and temples to colorful French colonial buildings, ornate Vietnamese tube houses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge with its pagoda.

Hoi An is also a well known spot for bespoke and tailor made dresses and suits. On the recommendation of a local we visited Naly Tailor and Cloth Shop. For a very reasonable price we are having some pants and dressses made. The owner, Twi, is very lovely and creative.

I do have to say that Hoi An is quite touristy and the vendors can be very assertive. There are beautiful lanterns, kimonos and jewelry for sale everywhere. Be sure you bargain for your souvenirs, etc. Remember, the first price is never the final price!

Be sure to stay for the evening in Hoi An as that’s when the town really comes alive. The lights are so beautiful!

We ended our day with a lazy ride down the river. It was so peaceful and our boat captain was fantastic!

By the way, BOLT is now an Amazon affiliate. Throughout our posts you may find links to Amazon products you may be interested in. For instance, I took all the photos for this post using my Redmi phone. Click the link for more details. As always please let us know if you have any questions or comments to share.