THE BIG TRIP XI – CAN THO AND BIT MORE GEORGE III

Can Tho is on the banks of the Hau River in the Mekong delta area, but it felt as if we were by the sea – it is one big delta.

We spent the night in Can Tho and went walking along the promenade and came to this!

That must have cost a bit and slap bang in the south which was not in favour of the man on the platform.

Now from pictures on the internet it looks as if there are hundreds of tiny boats floating by the banks, but the following morning we were whisked up river to see the permanent floating villages. We were told they did relocate every six months due to the flooding, but I wasn’t sure how they managed this. How do you move a petrol station twice a year?

Then it was time for more eco village pursuits. Making rice noodles and a couple of extra pictures to prove I was there.

 

You can see how brave I was!

Back to Ho Chi Min city (Saigon) to fly to Seim Reap and I’m sure you can guess why they took us there.

 

Not only was George III interesting because he was mad, other exciting and interesting people lived at the same time – such as:

The peasants in France who revolted under Napoleon, who wanted France to become Top Dog. This could NOT be allowed of course, so Nelson with his very close friend  Hardy [of “Kiss Me Fame.”] and an Irishman called John Wellesley, who became the Duke of Wellington, and thus English, defeated Napoleon once at Waterloo and then again on the playing fields of Eton, which only proves that geography is not taught in French schools.

I’ve used up all my pictures for this post, so can you please imagine them?

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THE BIG TRIP XVI – SAIGON AND WE GET RID OF GEORGE II

It’s Monday so it’s blog time and we are off back to Vietnam to continue the trip. If I thought that going around the tunnels was harrowing, the afternoon was even more of a shock. We were taken to the War Remnants Museum.

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and neither of us took pictures here. The displays were quite gruesome and understandably there was a strong anti-American and anti-French flavour to the exhibits. Curious, I asked our guide how he handled taking visitors from the United States here. It’s a big tourist attraction he told us and everyone must come.

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Saigon or Ho Chi Min City was cleaner and more modern that Hanoi, but if possible the traffic was even more chaotic – scooters everywhere.

The post office is a major tourist attraction. It was jammed full with stalls selling all manner of cheap tourist tack, and just a few people in there trying to use the mail service.

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And then we were taken to the Cao Dai cathedral built in 1933 the highlight being the mid day mass. Of course every other tourist in Saigon was there too and when the service began we were herded up into the balcony.

From what I could gather the community encompasses Christian, Buddist, Taoist and Confusians. The major focus was the ‘third eye’ and I have to let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Well I’m going to get rid of George II because he’s beginning to bore me. Apart from fighting with his dad I don’t think he was a very interesting king. Don’t just take my word for it as this next sentence comes straight off the internet and we know we always get the truth on there right?  For two centuries after George II’s death, history tended to view him with disdain, concentrating on his mistresses, short temper and boorishness.

GEORGE ii MONDAY

He spent a lot of time fighting with his son Frederick who was later to become George III – yes I know his name was Frederick, but please, just please don’t ask.  But he was so much more interesting, to begin with he went mad.

I’ll tell you about that next time.

A footnote. I am offering an e.copy of any of my books for free if you’d like to sign up to my mailing list.  lucindaeclarke@gmail.com.

Have a great week.

THE BIG TRIP XIII – HOI AN AND THE FATHER FROM HELL

Hoi An was possibly the town I loved best (there is one exception, but more of that later). The first evening I dragged myself out of the hotel which was also really nice. It was called the Little Hoi Hotel and if you ever go there I would recommend it.

We walked alongside the river, and I’ve not mentioned this before, but it was coming up to Chinese New Year and everywhere you looked you could see colourful red lanterns. I saw a huge Trip Advisor poster which listed Hoi An at night in the top 20 things to see and do before you die – well maybe they didn’t have the last bit on there but you get the message.  There were performers of all kinds, and cheerful crowds wandering the street markets. It was a fairyland atmosphere.

 

By the next morning, it was as much as I could do to get out of bed. I was hacking and coughing and on fire from the inside. Within minutes the hotel staff had summoned a doctor – he should have been starring in the movies he was that cute, spoke perfect English as he diagnosed bronchitis, verging on pneumonia. He also informed me I’d not been on antibiotics as I’d though, but throat pastilles of some sort.

He dosed me up, prescribed bed rest and I waved a weak farewell to DH as he went off on his day’s trips.

I don’t remember much of that day, but DH saw this village where they made pottery and a museum donated by a local philanthropist and of course another temple.

Sadly we were to leave Hoi An the next morning and were told we would be escorted to the airport, which was just as well as we had no plane tickets, we only knew we were destined to go to Ho Chi Min City.

THE HISTORY RUBBISH

There doesn’t seem to be much to say about George I except he was pretty boring, kept going back to stay in Hanover, courtesy of the cheap Ryan Air flights and had to talk to his ministers in French as he had no intention of learning English.

But of course they got their own back. Since he didn’t like the way they were so bossy, he chose a few and had secret meetings with them. But then when that big pyramid financial scandal hit, and George and his two ugly mistresses were caught up in it, the ministers got him out of a very nasty situation so he had to be nice to them. This is one of them, Robert Walpole and here he is.

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He also had huge fights with his son – boringly called George – especially when young George was very rude to one of the godparents his father had chosen for his son and was rude to him at the christening, George I threw him out of St James’s Place but kept the grandchildren living with him. Pretty mean eh?

Have a great week and if you have a spare moment you might like to pop over to my Amazon author page and take a peep at my books. Beware, this blog contains a monitoring device so I’ll know if you go and look.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914/

PS there were some comments on one of my re-blogs and I wanted to reply, but then I lost them, so sorry for that I wasn’t ignoring you.

 

THE BIG TRIP XII – THE MARBLE MOUNTAINS – DIFFICULT KIDS

To be quite honest the Marble Mountains looked like any other mountains to me, but then we didn’t see where they were slicing bits off.  It’s a group of five mountains whose names represent the five elements. It’s a popular place for spiritual retreat and pilgrimage with several Buddhist pagodas, remnants of the Cham civilization and several natural caves inside the mountains formed by erosion, water and the passage of time.IMG_3406

Our cheerful, friendly guide took us to the bottom of the path and pointed skyward. I gasped, even if I’d not been fighting off the dreaded lurgy  a climb like that was just not in my repertoire. I watched in horror at some bouncy young things leaping up the mountain.

Then with a smile, he pointed to the lift shaft. Was I relieved! There were a few awkward moments as our guide explained that the cost of ascending in the lift was not included in the itinerary, in fact the only thing that wasn’t in the whole trip.

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I was prepared to scream, attack DH and do whatever it took to get into that lift. No way was I going to walk. So we coughed up and as it seemed a little mean to let the guide walk all the way up, we paid for him too.

This is the whitest Buddha I have ever seen and I’ll post both pics so you can see that it wasn’t just in the closer shot that it sparkled Omo dazzling white in the weak sunlight.

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There was a pagoda up there of course

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and you could go into the mountain itself where they had several small shrines and statues.  DH went into the cleft a lot further than I did.

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I don’t know if it’s anything to do with being a writer, but I have a huge sense of atmosphere and to me that day I was not getting good vibes at all. It would have not been my choice for a spiritual retreat.

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marble mountain cave 2

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Then it was a trip round the workshops to watch the craftsmen and admire their skill before being whisked off to our next destination Hoi An.

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It was here that the bugs finally took over and got the better of me.

While George was busy reigning, or not, the new titled Duke and Duchess of Marlborough were busy building themselves a little cottage in the country.

BLENHEIM PALACE

No expense was spared, especially on the bedroom they made ready for the birth of Winston Churchill.

And there was no difference in the politicians they had in those days either. The Whig party got into power and immediately voted they could stay in power for seven years at a time. With George on their side – no point in taking a chance with the Tories who just might have tried to bring back James III from Paris – they remained the majority party in parliament for another half century. Not bad going for a political party.

Something else that wasn’t new either, King George and his son Prince George did not get on at all well, and I am reliably informed this had nothing to do with him confiscating the prince’s lap top when he refused to finish his homework.

 

THE BIG TRIP XI – THE DRAGON BRIDGE AND ABSENT GEORGE

Before I start writing my usual drivel today I’d like to say a big thank you to all the new followers to my blog.  You probably have a lot better things to do than read the nonsense I churn out every Monday morning, so it’s really kind of you to press the follow button. I would prefer to drop each one of you a line to say hi and stuff, but I’ve not worked out how to do that yet – another skill I may discover one day.

I left off last week at the Dong Ba Market in Hue and I’ve just noticed that it’s described as a romantic symbol of Hue, the attraction being the preservation of ancient distinctiveness, where tourists can see all the typical features of a traditional Vietnamese market. If you remember I described how indescribably dirty, hot, sweaty, claustrophobic and gross it was and yes, this is coming from someone who has to be retrained in a straight jacket if we get nearer than 50 kms to any market. Either the description is over the top hype, or the writer had not been anywhere near the place. We have better ones in Spain, without all the dead things cut open to expose their digestive systems to the world, or wriggling in abortive attempts to escape their imprisonment in plastic washing up bowls. These I could take, it was having to wriggle along the alleyways between the stalls barely wide enough to wheel a supermarket trolley.

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The rest of Vietnam, including the markets was such a delightful contrast.

Next announcement on the itinerary the following morning was a relaxing breakfast before heading towards Hoi An. Relaxing? Well only if you rose at sunrise. As usual we had to set the alarm clock to get us up in time to do all the usual stuff before sleep walking into the car at 8 am.  All the guides we had were wonderful, but not one of them would budge at my suggestion they collect us at 9 am or even 8.30 am.

We were supposed to go through the High Van Pass in the mountain but this was abandoned due to bad weather so the next attraction was the Nuoc Beach in Danang which we flew past at a rate of knots. Still that wasn’t serious as neither DH nor I are holiday beach bunnies and we have a nice beach just down the road.

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No, our guide took us to a museum instead. Now I like museums, I really do, but not this one. The Cham Museum holds large chunks of stone, part pillars and partially demolished statues. There were no labels on anything, well none we could understand and I was also a little worried the building itself would collapse, it was in a terrible state of repair . After wandering around for a bit we said we’d finished. The guide was a little sad about that, but to keep to the time table he allowed us a cup of coffee.

This is something I missed on our trip, our morning coffee routine, it just wasn’t written into the script. In Vietnam it comes in a small cup with condensed milk added – it plays havoc with your waistline but does it taste good!

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I was fascinated by the dragon bridge just across the road from the museum – it’s an amazing structure and I’ve since learned that at the weekend the dragon breathes fire, followed by gallons of water pouring out of its mouth. Now that I would have enjoyed.

Next week, the Marble Mountains.

A lot of things happened during George’s reign. For example there was an early sort of stock exchange scandal called the South Sea Bubble. Many of the better off people, like Walpole, invested in the South Sea Bubble pyramid selling scheme, which was quite legal in those days.  Sadly the structure collapsed and everyone was left holding the free mop and bucket supplied with every 200 shares sold.

SOUTH SEA BUBBLE

I can’t say I like George I very much, he wasn’t all that keen on being King of England – how ungrateful can you get! For example, although he was supposed to live in Great Britain after 1714 he visited his home in Hanover in 1716, 1719, 1720, 1723 and 1725. Altogether he spent about one fifth of his reign as the British King in Germany. That’s not a very patriotic thing to do is it? I mean offer you a throne and you keep running home again. A clause in the Act of Settlement that forbade the British monarch from leaving the country without Parliament’s permission was unanimously repealed in 1716, but that didn’t seem to stop him. While he was away his power – such as it was – was held in a Regency Council instead of his son, George Augustus, Prince of Wales.

Just a gentle reminder that ReadFreely are asking for nominations for the 50 books of 2016 worth reading. I would love you to bits if you nominated Amie and The Child of Africa.  If the book is chosen, then they give you a little sticker and tell lots of people about it. It also makes your tweets about the book look much prettier. This is the link

http://www.readfree.ly/50-self-published-books-worth-reading-2016-nominations/

That will take you to the site and nominations must be in by 3rd June. I would be soooo greatful and please feel free to re-blog this J

Also the Bloggers Bash of the year are asking for votes on the best blogs. I’m not there of course, but you might want to pop in a vote for your favourite bloggers, you know the really funny and clever ones. Here is the link https://sachablack.co.uk/2016/05/19/vote-now-annual-bloggers-bash-awards-now-open/

Have a great week.

THE BIG TRIP X – MY EXPERIMENT AND MORE GEORGE

It’s Sunday, yes and my blog goes out on a Monday right? Well in a major step forward, I am going to try and time this to go out tomorrow by using the timing thingie. Will it work? Watch this space. I am determined that I will get some writing done tomorrow morning while DH is out playing boules/petanque and I must also go and get a haircut. When DH starts calling me lassie and offering me dog biscuits, I know the time has come.

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Last week we were still in Hue (pronounced Way) and we were about to go for lunch. Well I guess it was a tourist venue although when we arrived we were the only guests there. It was in a really beautiful setting with different little glassed-in areas set around brick paved walkways circling goldfish ponds. I thought it looked like a Japanese garden, but I didn’t say so in case it caused offense.

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I hope I didn’t upset the staff as I couldn’t resist feeing some of the goldfish or were they carp – at one point on our trip we were told the difference. I do remember you can eat carp but not the goldfish.  Anyhow a kind waitress rushed out with a packet of fish food. For a brief second I thought it was for me until I noticed the look of horror on her face.

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Now it was time for our visit to a tomb and it wasn’t just any old tomb. It was the Royal tomb of King Ming Mang the final resting place of one of the Nguyen Dynasty’s staunchest Confucians, whose reign was at the height of their power over the county. He’d reigned for 34 years, but although the setting was in a pretty parkland the stones were black and covered with mould and it was all quite depressing.

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As we stared at the large stone in a courtyard, our guide explained that beneath our feet lay a complete palace he insisted it was fully furnished, and it had been totally covered over with flagstones.

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Sadly it was raining and quite cold and the lurgy was getting worse not helped when we were whisked off to a market, which most have been the most unpleasant one I have ever visited. The size of several large barns, it was necessary to wriggle along the walkways between vendors who assaulted us from both sides. It was both dirty and smelly and I couldn’t wait to leave. Unwisely DH mentioned I needed a new pair of takkies / plimsolls / trainers / running shoes (I don’t do much running, I stick to walking) as mine had fallen apart. That was it, the guide was now off on a mission, so we must have combed the market from one end to the other. As the filth and odours got even worse, I was quite determined I would never buy from there, I’d never get the smell out of them.

By the time we got back to the charmingly named Cherish Hotel we were absolutely exhausted.

You may remember that George I came from a tiny little principality in what was to become Germany and couldn’t speak English but this suited the guys at the top – previous monarchs had interfered. If they didn’t want the King to understand when they were being rude about him, they spoke in broad regional accents and he didn’t stand a chance.

NPG D11633,King George I when Elector of Hanover,by and published by; after John Smith; Johann Leonhard Hirschmann
by and published by; after John Smith; Johann Leonhard Hirschmann,print,1706

But a few of the faithful still supported Bonnie Prince Charlie. He kept trying to come and be king on the silly excuse that his daddy had been the Prince of Wales and his grandfather King of England. Why he thought such a flimsy excuse should entitle him to be king, very few could understand.

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Handout from Scottish National Portrait Gallery of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, here identified as Henry Stuart, Cardinal York by Maurice Quentin de La Tour (1704 – 78), 1747. Pastel on paper, 61 x 51cm.

He was eventually defeated at Flodden but managed to escape to France with the help of Flora (of margarine fame) MacNightingale, Annie Laurie and Lorna Doone.

I really hate to ask this, but I see a few other authors have done it already and I shall never become rich and famous if I am shy. ReadFreely are asking for nominations for the 50 books of 2016 worth reading. I would love it if you nominated Amie and The Child of Africa.  If you do well, then they give you a little sticker and tell lots of people about it. It also makes your tweets about the book look much prettier. This is the link

http://www.readfree.ly/50-self-published-books-worth-reading-2016-nominations/

That will take you to the site and nominations must be in by 3rd June. I would be soooo greatful and and please feel free to re-blog this J

Oh, a final note. This is now Monday morning and I got so caught up watching the Queen’s birthday celebrations on TV last night, I didn’t complete writing this yesterday after all.