explore. dream. discover.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." This site will take over from my previous blog: http://dayumnicebridge.tumblr.com

Month: December, 2013

The Binh Duoc tunnels at Cu Chi

Yesterday afternoon, following our splendid morning at the Reunification Palace, we met our tour guide and private driver in the lobby of our hotel and started the 2 hour drive to Cu Chi. Along the way our guide “Quan Ting” better known as Kevin, gave us the low down on the tunnels, the Vietnam war and the ruthless abilities of the Viet Cong.
Mum and Dad asked a lot of questions while I listened and stared out the window at the rapidly changing landscape. Within the space of about 30 minutes the city had vanished and was replaced by roadside stalls, shacks and forest. People were selling anything from clothing to fruit to giant plush toys the size of a toddler.
When we arrived at Binh Duoc, the only people around were Vietnamese and there weren’t many of them either. We had chosen to go to these particular tunnels as they aren’t for western tourists and have been kept almost exactly as they were 40 years ago. We watched a video before our tour explaining the tactics of warfare and how the “little devil beasts” aka Americans, attempted to destroy the land with poison.
After the video we walked through the jungle and Dad and I climbed into the entrance of the tunnel, a tiny trapdoor about the size of Dad’s belly. I made it through much easier. We were taken through a series of tunnels into underground bunkers where the Viet Cong had established hospitals and living areas. The vast system was fascinating and is surely the reason they were unable to be defeated.
The guides here are very proud of their heritage and the fact that they ran the Americans out of Vietnam.

The tour ended with our guide Kevin sharing some local fruits with us and a long drive back to the city. He recommended a great restaurant for us and that’s where we had dinner before returning to the hotel.

Until next time,
Jess x

Good morning Vietnam!

Hi Chi Minh City, like New York, is always under construction. The city is constantly moving, awake at all times with the continuous honking of horns creating a perfect soundtrack. People on bikes (sometimes four at a time) fill the roads creating the perfected art of organised chaos. Watching the traffic from above the city provides hours of entertainment as I watch in wonder how they avoid collision. Giant roundabouts with no lanes or use for indicators are a “cross or die trying” game for pedestrians. Brave families with children under the age of five, cross fearlessly as of to say “I dare you to hit me”. It is fair to say that the Vietnamese could be the worlds best drivers.

Obviously, the food is phenomenal. The freshest cuisine I’ve tasted and the most fun to eat. Rolling your own rice paper rolls at the table and attempting not to spill the entire bowl of pho down your front at breakfast.

The most interesting part however is trying not to laugh at my parents social media ignorance…
Dad: oh look Scott liked your photo, so did cayleigh. Cayleigh liked all of your photos, what is she doing in the back streets of St Ives?
Me: Yes dad, I got the notification, I realise who has liked my photos.
Dad (to mum): Why do you have a photo of Cayleigh on your iPad?
Me (to dad): That’s Facebook dad
Mum (to dad): Cayleigh’s my friend.

And so on… I will provide more anecdotes later. For now I will amuse myself watching Dad eat musli out of a tiny jar.

Until next time,
Jess x

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A glass case of severe regret.

So for breakfast on the plane I chose to have fried rice instead of poached eggs and I’m definitely starting to regret it.

I had a feeling that eating that one prawn was a bad choice. Now I’m trapped in a glass case of stomach pains.

On the plus side, if my situation starts to go south, it could be the best weight loss technique I’ve tried so far.

In the mean time I’ll try and find something more entertaining than the bathroom to help me pass the next five hours at Changi airport.

Did someone say cocktails?

Until next time,
Jess x

Vietnam Tomorrow

First of all, Merry Christmas.

Second of all, who wants to help me pack for Vietnam. I leave in 12 hours so any help would be amazing.

No takers? Didn’t think so.

Packing has got to be one of the worst parts of travelling. I can never decide what I want to take and when it comes time to make the gut-wrenching decision about which clothes to take and which to leave, I feel as though the poor rejected clothes will just be lonely in my drawer. It’s completely heart breaking.

I cannot wait to explore a country I know almost nothing about.

As I sit here watching my sister take selfies on my phone, I realise that she is probably going to be very bored whilst I’m away, so if there’s anyone that wants to bring over some board games or a ball of string for her to play with, it’d be appreciated.

Alright, off to empty some drawers into a suitcase. If anyone has any recommendations of what to pack please let me know.

Until next time,

Jess x

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Day 7 – A letter to your guilty pleasure…

(how do I choose just one)

Dear days where I don’t have to wear a bra,

Thank you for existing.

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Dear Mama June Cooking Show,

You’re truly amazing. Thanks for teaching me how to make a tuna bake.

Dear Chicken Schnitzel,

You. Complete. Me.

Shut up, just shut up, you had me at “mushroom sauce”

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Dear Teen Mom Marathons,

You are true television genius. Thank you for always making me feel better about my life choices.

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Dear Oversizes Shirts,

Thanks for making it uneccessary for me to wear pants. I hate pants.

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Dear Frank Sinatra Christmas Album,

You are number one. Always were, always will be.

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Dear Hashbrowns,

You’ve saved my life on many occasions…thank you.

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Dear Books,

Thanks for all the adventures you’ve taken me on that I couldn’t have otherwise afforded. Thank you for making it easier to ignore the fact that people in reality are generally shit.

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Until next time,

Jess x

 

Day 6 – A letter of your choice…

Dear everyone that reads this blog,

Something very interesting just happened to me.

I came to the realisation that I am friends with someone who I’ve never had an actual conversation with. In fact, I don’t really know them at all. I guess you’re wondering how this actually happens, well, everytime we’ve ever conversed it’s been in banter, sexual inuendoes and complete and utter nonsense. It’s as though there is this person who takes over and becomes what everyone expects me to be instead of who I really am (apologies for the “dear journal” tone). I didn’t realise it was happening at all until I thought about the evening I just had and cringed about the light I had presented myself in.

It’s just not me.

I love having real conversations, yet am warey about the people I choose to have them with. With everyone knowing everyone else, you have to be careful who you trust. There are so many rumours flying around that you can have a pretty distinct picture of someone before you even meet them. Most of the time it’s wildly inaccurate as well. I have a serious side to me that not many people see because I’m normally making overly confident statements and telling stories that don’t shed the best light. It’s not me, I mean I am a confident person about certain things but I’m not as arrogant as I make myself out to be…or as materialistic. You cannot even begin to fathom how embarrassed I really am. I despise those girls who act as if they’re another person and here, I’ve been doing it with certain people for the better part of a year without even realising it.

Does anybody out there do this? I feel like I’m not alone in this because well, that would be highly unlikely. The world has 7 billion people, I’m sure there are people who have this flaw in common with me… There are probably people that have worse flaws than me even, this is at least some comforting news.

Until next time.

Jess x

Day 5 – A letter to a celebrity you like…

Dear Jimmy Fallon,

First of all, thank you. Watching your show/YouTube clips cheers me up to no end…even if I’m not sad! I can’t help smiling whenever “Late Night Hashtags” comes on but I always seem to miss them on your twitter.

I think you are a genius.

Thank you for doing a history of rap with Justin Timberlake, I probably got an unnatural amount of joy from it, but thanks all the same.

I hope that there is another person in this world who can make me smile like your show does, only that I actually get to meet them. When I was in New York I kept an eye out for you whenever I left my hotel room. It would be an honour to meet you in person, though I think I would pass out from happiness if that ever came true.

Thanks for being the greatest Late Night host of all time…of all time.

Jess x

Jimmy Fallon

Day 4 – A letter to the person who has influenced you most…

I don’t think that any one person can fill this position in my life. There are a lot of people that have crossed my path and have opened me up to different experiences that have, in one way or another, changed me.

Obviously my parents are a big part of the reason I am who I am. I am lucky to have a secure and loving home. My father has taught me to travel far and often as he did when he was a child. Going to my Grandparents homes when I was a kid and watching slides of my Dad camping in France have always stuck with me. I always wanted to live in a place where I could drive to another country just like Dad (he grew up in England).

Then there is my Mum. I admire how hard she works and that she isn’t a housewife. I’ve dated boys whose mothers are housewives and I couldn’t think of a bigger waste of my life…that is because I don’t want children, but maybe if you do it’s a little bit different. She has always earned her way in life and I am so happy she has installed those attributes in me.

The friends in my life that I’ve come across have inspired me to do different things. There was the one who encouraged me to reapply to the exchange program and in doing so, changed my life completely. There are the friends who are always there for me when my life “falls apart”…(usually something minor like a boy breaking my heart). Some of the people I love make me feel as though I want to do better, that I can do better and that I should live each day for what it is. They make me feel like I should take risks and I should put my heart on the line because nothing great ever happened to anyone who didn’t ever live a little.

Through all my relationships, with all the interconnected people in my life, I have become the person I am today, and I’m happy with that. I like who I am and sometimes I need a little push to leave the sanctity of my books and my adventures, but I’m loyal and trustworthy and a person that I’m proud of.

I would like to thank all the people in my life, good and bad, who have made me stronger, kinder, more fun and more adventurous than I ever could have imagined.

Thank you. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Jess x

Day 3 – A letter to your best friend…

Emily…my sister.

This photo explains exactly why I love you.

I will always enjoy dressing up as a Gangsta in Chris’ clothes with you.

love always,

Jess x

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