Archive | July, 2012

Vietnam, Hanoi – The True Concrete Jungle

27 Jul

Okay, so there is no smooth transition from Israel to Vietnam – just a sad little apology from me for not blogging for an entire month between trips.  So yes, I came back from Israel, soaked up a little Seoul, started my life as a Samsung employee, and headed straight back out into this big ol’ world.

And this is how we find ourselves in Hanoi…

Our trip to Vietnam started as a pretty typical question between friends – where should we meet?  So, when our chingoos (= amigos, in Korean) suggested Hanoi instead of coffee, we immediately signed up for the adventure.

The four of us landed in Hanoi not knowing what to expect, but we all instantly fell in love with the chaotic, humid mix of city, jungle, East & West.

Most of Hanoi’s central streets are lined with lush trees…

overflowing with noisy motorbikes…

and crowded with food vendors and hungry customers.

The old, dilapidated (yet rich) French colonial villas bring a surprising pop of color to the bustling avenues, which we explored sweat-ily for hours, finding artistic shops and delicious restaurants along the way.

One of my favorite discoveries was Madame Hien (15 Chan Cam, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi), an exquisite restaurant serving traditional Vietnamese food in a luxurious colonial estate.

We spent a full day in Hanoi, filling our tummies with good Vietnamese food and enjoying the unique energy of the city, but this was only the first leg of our journey.  Our next stop?

Sapa.

Advertisements

Memories of Israel – The Desert [Part II]

9 Jul

If you haven’t been to Israel before, I hope these posts of “Memories of Israel” spark your interest.  I have intentionally kept them wording-light and photo-rich, so please email me if you would like more details.

***

So, there we were…

looking out into infinity, as we stood at the edge of the Makhtesh.

What is a Makhtesh, you ask?  A Makhtesh is a rare geological land-form that looks a lot like a huge canyon, but is actually an erosion crater (as opposed to craters that were created by meteoric impacts).  There are only seven erosion craters in the entire world, five of them are situated in the Negev desert & the other two are found in the Sinai desert.

And as beautiful as the Makhtesh was during the day,

it was even more incredible at night.

Besides discovering the Makhtesh, the rest of our time in the desert was filled with awesome hikes,

surprising finds,

(Above: A tree, fighting for life, in the middle of nowhere

Below: Fossils of huge snails in the Makhtesh wall)

& lots of family bonding…

more accurately, A TON of family bonding, especially after the arrival of my sweet cousins, who came to join us for the last 2 days of the trip.

I could go on, and tell you the detailed stories of how, accidentally, the battery died in our uncle’s car or how I got so sun-burned that I could barely wear a t-shirt or how my brother got so sick that he had to rush back to Tel Aviv to see a doctor… but why ruin such a perfectly beautiful trip?  The only thing I remember clearly today, is how we had the best time in the most unlikely of places- the desert!