On the Road and In Your Backyard

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Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!

So –  a word, before the show. I had planned to share many more pictures from Le Comte … , but had back-end issues. I’ll work with Major x4 to solve. So the good news is I’ve got some great pics from him from Vietnam. One especially poignant for some, I’d expect. I will publish more from his trip next week, once the issues are resolved.

But I’m also publishing some other pictures first – so enjoy!

First, pictures from valued commenter donnah.

My husband and I brought our moms and my husband’s sister to Myrtle beach for a mini vacation. It’s off season, but still a lovely place to spend time away.

Traveling with two older women has been a unique experience, but it was a lovely break.

December at Myrtle Beach

Taken on 2017-12-05

This is taken from our hotel room balcony on one of the nicer days.

And this is the day we left…much cooler!

We lucked out on timing. It was cold here before we came and was cooling off the day we left.


Thank you so much donnah, do send us more when you can.

I’m pretty sure that my father, mother, and myself, enjoyed some time with that, or a similar view, only in late November. Since he was Swiss, and she was American, but grew up in Colombia, Thanksgiving was celebrated less normal-American, and more “go explore North/South Carolina coast in the off-season”. Even when I was very young and we lived in Texas, we’d go to Galveston or Corpus Christi for off-season rates, cheap seafood, and no crowds. It’s a good thing – fresh seafood and low-stress time together beats the pressure and rituals of Thanksgiving. Or at least it did for us!

Finally, some pictures from valued commenter Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes.

More of my January trip to Southeast Asia

Descending into the Cu Chi tunnels

Taken on 2018-01-11

Cu Chi, Vietnam

These were located northwest of Saigon, and represented a colossal effort by farmers, fisherman and the VC to provide shelter and the ability to move troops and equipment

South Vietnam Presidential Palace

Taken on 2018-01-12

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

This was truly ostentatious compared to Ho Chi Minh’s quarters. It was amazingly airy for there being no AC

CIA Building

Taken on 2018-01-12

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

This was the building that was the backdrop the iconic helo photo during the final evacuation

Kids on a Field Trip

Taken on 2018-01-12

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Our guide said these were the equivalent of Young Pioneers

Uncle Ho

Taken on 2018-01-13

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

This is right next to the Rex Hotel (great cocktails, nice entertainment

Wat on Palace Grounds

Taken on 2018-01-14

Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia

Cambodia is mostly a benign dictatorship in the form of a constitutional monarchy with some democratic-appearing structures. The monarch is well-liked and gay, the head of government a former member of the Khmer Rouge who has held power for decades. We were both ill, so we took very few photos in Phnom Penh

Where we took our break

Taken on 2018-01-14

Raffles, Phnom Penh

The pool where we ditched our group for a day, plus just sat to room service for a break


Thank you so much Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


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45 replies
  1. 1
    Elizabelle says:

    Gorgeous. I have to see Viet Nam, and Cambodia, and Thailand. Maybe 2019, maybe sooner. Thanks, comte.

    @ Alain: fresh fish and no crowds. That is a strategy to be thankful for.

    And the beach photos are wonderful. Hope donnah saw some dolphins passing, from that height.

  2. 2
    Quinerly says:


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    raven says:

    These were located northwest of Saigon, and represented a colossal effort by farmers, fisherman and the VC to provide shelter and the ability to move troops and equipment

    That sounds like the “official” version of what the tunnels were used for.

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  6. 6
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:


    LOL – My hosts were really nice. I hate to deviate from what we were told…

  7. 7
    Schlemazel says:

    It just occurred to me that ‘Tet’ was 50 years ago this week. Time flies

  8. 8
    Just one more canuck says:

    @Quinerly: how’s the future leader of the free world and his chauffeur?

  9. 9
    raven says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: I’m sure they were, I have a buddy who moved to Hội An and he loves the place and the people and he’s a rwnj Nam vet.

  10. 10
    raven says:

    @Schlemazel: Yea, I posted last week about the 50th of the Blue House Raid and Pueblo in Korea 50 years ago. We were walkin on a thin line.

  11. 11
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:


    Hoi An was amazing – got some gorgeous photos from the river villages south of it that I think I uploaded (and will if I didn’t). They were saying that the young people are leaving for the city, and aren’t interested in the traditional living.

  12. 12
    Quinerly says:

    @Just one more canuck: Having a great time in the Albuquerque area. Daytrip to hang out in Moriarty, NM with a friend on Tuesday (wonderful broasted,fried chicken and fried okra at a fabulous joint called “Shorty’s). Poco did some campaigning and met some cops in the parking lot. He loves his long walks every morning by the Rio Grande on beautiful Santa Ana Pueblo lands…..we pretty much have wrapped up that pueblo’s vote (Baud who?😈) He saw a coyote Mon! Today is either a museum day in Albuquerque for me or a poking around Corrales, NM for us both. I’m trying to stay off the interstate as much as possible to learn the streets and back roads around Albuquerque better. A lot of different stretches of RT 66 (pre and post 1937) and Camino Real. Windows down, good sniffing for Poco2020!🐾 He’s working it! Thanks for asking. Have a great day everyone!

  13. 13
    raven says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: I only flew through Da Nang on my way to Pleiku so didn’t get there but I did spend a couple of wild nights in Nha Trang.

  14. 14
    raven says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: Any shots of the Marble Mountains?

  15. 15
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:


    Da Nang is all glitz and glitter nowadays.

  16. 16
    raven says:

    @Quinerly: When I was a kid we made the Chicago to LA trip a number of times and, when we went west, the old man would stop at The Western Skies Motel in Albuquerque and we’d swim and hunker down until we got up in the middle of the night to make it across the desert at night. Those were the days of having a canvas bag of water hung on the front of the car.

  17. 17
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:


    No, not unless I got them from a distance by accident. There was a bunch of marble statuary for sale everywhere – everything from traditional dragons, cherubs and modern art all the way to graphic sex.

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    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:


    I’d have remembered something like that – when we flew into Da Nang, it was dark and I was dozing a bit on the bus to Hoi An. Dozed a bit again on the way back to the airport for the flight to Hoi An as I was battling the cough that the entire group was passing around.

  21. 21
    Betty Cracker says:

    OMG, Popeye’s chicken in Vietnam! :)

  22. 22
    Quinerly says:

    @raven: Want to check out your links but I’m getting error messages. Love the old RT 66 motels out here and have actually stayed in some on previous trips…Tucumcari, Gallup, and Holbrook, AZ (The Wig Wam!….individual concrete tepeis). We stayed in a cool Motel 6 (yes, I know) on this trip in Hobbs, NM. Built in the 1950’s and had attached shared carports that we ended up sharing with NM Fish and Game trucks. Good sniffing for Poco, but I digress.😈

  23. 23
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Popeyes, KFC and Starbucks…

    Dunno why the Starbucks, though – the local coffee is amazing.

    And a large number of the businesses fly the Hammer and Sickle out front, particularly in Hanoi.

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    Baud says:

    Very nice.

  25. 25
    rikyrah says:

    Enjoyed today’s pictures. 😄
    Thank you

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    Quinerly says:

    @raven: Thanks! I thought it could be my smarty pants phone.

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    donnah says:

    Thanks, Alain, for posting my beach photos. With two moms in their eighties, my husband and I know that special times are fragile and quick. Walking on the beach was something my husband’s mom really wanted to do before she would be unable to walk anymore. We were happy to see her dip her toes in the Atlantic.

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    raven says:

    @Quinerly: Reading the history of the Western Skies shows it was torn down in 1988. JFK and Elvis stayed there!

  30. 30
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: This juxtaposition in Hanoi struck me. Chevy SUV right under a banner commemorating “Reunification Day.”

  31. 31
    Another Scott says:

    Thanks very much for the pictures. Sorry you and the Princess were sick. It looks like an amazing trip – one to put on The List.


  32. 32
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @Gin & Tonic:


    I just realized – I mislabeled the Raffles photo – the Phnom Penh Raffles pool was secluded. The Siem Reap one is the pool depicted.

  33. 33
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @donnah: I’m glad to have run them today. They reminded me of many childhood trips and how much I wish I’d had another year to help her enjoy such things. Ah well, she’s been to all oceans and seas, so she’s definitely gotten her feet wet! Have a great day!

  34. 34
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @Another Scott:

    Literally everyone was battling The Cough from Hell. Saigon put some extra strain on because it was super smoggy, and you could smell it, but we soldiered through and had an amazing time in spite of it.

    I did learn you could get prescription drugs (within reason) via the concierge, so the prednisone helped.

  35. 35
    laura says:

    @donnah: your pictures of the ocean are soothing and the memories you’ve made of your mom’s are treasures -to share now and comfort later. Thank you for sharing them.

  36. 36
    laura says:

    @Quinerly: where’s the photos of that dog gone dog?!?
    Come the heck on, why make me beg?

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    opiejeanne says:

    @raven: Dad drove from the LA area to KC every other summer and was thoroughly disgusted with me when I decided to take all of my history classes in summer school because we couldn’t leave until August. My sister and I coveted those window AC units you saw sometimes.
    I remember seeing those water bags on a lot of cars but we didn’t have one.

    There was one year we made the trip at Christmas and I’m pretty sure we were on I-10 for a long way but we hit snow despite trying to dodge it. I remember staying in Miami, AZ, and the motel pool had barrels floating in it to try to prevent it from freezing over and there was a thin coat of snow over the desert. Interesting trip from the back seat of a ’57 Ford.

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    Mnemosyne says:

    I laughed at the teenager smirking as he gave the American tourist a peace sign. 😂

  39. 39
    opiejeanne says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: My youngest went to Vietnam for her (delayed) honeymoon and said similar things about how nice everyone was, although they did get a bit of a lecture at a war museum about Americans torturing peasants.

    My husband had an employee who got out on one of the last flights, with his wife, kids, and mother. He worked for the Americans and they wanted to protect him from possible punishment but he refused to leave without the family. Someone finally handed him a slip of paper and told them to be on a certain corner at a certain time. He’s been back a couple of times to visit relatives who remained and had a very good time.

  40. 40
    opiejeanne says:

    @raven: Western Skies looks too fancy for us to have stayed at or even looked at. Mom had her AAA guide book and would check the prices as well as the rating and go in and bargain them down from $10 or $12 a night to $8, since it was a weekday and they were empty. She wouldn’t even try if the price in the book was $15. I remember her being very annoyed with one manager who wouldn’t budge off of his $10 rate so we went down the street and got a better deal. That was in the middle of nowhere Kansas.
    We always started looking for a place to stay around 3:30pm. The motel had to have a swimming pool or Dad wasn’t interested. He wanted us kids to go swimming and cool off and be ready to sleep because we were going to leave at 4am to try to beat some of the heat.

  41. 41
    Waratah says:

    @donnah: Lovely photos thank you for sharing.

  42. 42
    Waratah says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: I love the photos you and your wife take while traveling you find interesting and unique, like the photos of the CIA building and the tunnels, as well as the beauty.

  43. 43
    J R in WV says:

    Great photos. We too go to the beach off season, Key West in September last time, way too hot. Not like that when it was my duty station back in the early 1970s! We never even needed A/C back then at home. The ship had it and needed it, metal box painted dark gray!!

    Loved the SE Asia pics and links. The map of Vietnam coastal provinces only reinforces my knowledge of how difficult it is to learn about a place in any reasonable time frame. Two weeks won’t touch even a small country or local place in terms of learning about it in depth. Two years is barely a start!

  44. 44
    cain says:

    With Dunken Donuts and Popeyes, it seems like we have won in the end.

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    MomSense says:


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