Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Staircases of South East Asia

For the Christmas and New Years holidays, we visited three wonderful cities of Southeast Asia, each offering a very different experience. Singapore was a nice starting point as its pleasant orderliness is such a contrast to the chaos of Jakarta. Bangkok continues to deliver and live up to its reputation as a truly fascinating travel destination. And Hanoi is a city in transition, still offering plenty of tradition but with the vitality of a place on the move.

Enjoying a street side "beer from a hose" on New Years Eve in Hanoi. These drinkeries are quite common in Hanoi and offer cheap beer, eats and great vantage point to watch the city go by.

I am considering crafting a coffee table book showcasing the staircases of SE Asia. I have become quite the connoisseur due to Emmerson’s fixation with the vertical walkways. Hotel lobbies, restaurants, shopping malls, Ho Chi Min’s mausoleum, parks, even a street curb will do in a pinch.

Not so tiny baby anymore taking a break from her busy schedule long enough to pose in front of "Uncle Ho's" final resting place.

While in Hanoi airport Emmerson needed one more perusal of the staircase connecting the arrival hallway to the immigration area. We heard a commotion upstairs in the arrival area and left the stairs for a moment to check it out. A ceiling tile lay on the floor in pieces and two airport workers were excitedly talking about something. Next to the wall lay the cause of the collapsed ceiling piece; a well fed foot long rat had apparently become a bit too well fed for its ceiling home and fell through the tile. Of course Emmerson wanted a close up look of the “puppy” – it was that big – but I quickly got her refocused on the staircase.

The staircases on the boats that service Halong Bay are very steep which offered Emmerson quite an exciting challenge. The scenery was pretty impressive as well.

Emmerson taking a break from the stairs at Halong Bay in north Vietnam.