Archive for September 2011

Today was a good day to…….   Leave a comment

……………..GO DIVING!!!  Yay!!!  After carting out dive gear more than half way around the world (at least 17000 km, today we scuba dived for the first time on this little trip of ours.  Those of you who have never dived will think “Big deal”.  To Kerry and I it is mainly why we are in Asia.  In fact we are both considering it as a profession.  What’s not to like about going to work in a morning and teaching folks to dive, seeing fish, coral, rays, dolphins and sharks.  Also, from a personal point of view, what’s not to like about seeing bikini clad ladies every day, doh!

Today’s dive meant an early start for breakfast at the dive centre at 06.15.  A brief bus trip to the harbour followed by a 45 minute boat ride and we arrived at our first dive side since our Seychelles trip on 23 February 2011.  The site was called Madonna Rocks.  In we went to a maximum depth of 17 metres in a lovely water temperature of 28C.  Visibility was up to 10 metres.  There was loads to see down there including pipefish, coral, parrotfish, cuttlefish, lionfish, nudibrachs and sea cucumbers.  Great first dive.  Lunch followed at 10.30 followed by dive number two of the day.  Guess what we are doing tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn?

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Stefan Palmer

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Posted 30/09/2011 by Stefan Palmer in Scuba Diving, Vietnam

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Deep water soloing   1 comment

While in the Ha Long Bay/Cat Ha Island area I had a go at deep water soloing.  In a nutshell this involves climbing a cliff face with no ropes and then jumping into the water when you get to a maximum of 20/25 metres high or just fall off cos you slip or can’t find a route up the cliff.  A boat deposits you at the cliff face and picks you up for another go once you hit the water.  My first attempt was awful.  I managed a metre at best.  Once I’d got the hang of it and trusted my climbing shoes grip I was off like spiderman.  Now that’s all well and good but the higher you climb the bigger the drop.  The best I managed was 13 metres (apparently the best in our little group of 5).  It’s quite surprising how high 13 metres actually is.  It’s a bloody long way down.  I pushed off so hard, to avoid the rocks, that instead of hitting the water feet first I tumbled into some kind of chest flop which hurt a tad.  It felt like I’d cracked a rib, lost teeth and broken my nose.  Luckily a quick once over while treading water convinced me I was fully intact.  So off I went again.  The rest of my jumps were text book, thankfully.  Kerry and Kath captured a few shots of mine and the boys attempts.  See below.  The next day…god I hurt.  It was great fun though and worth the pain.  I think I’m turning into an adrenaline junkie.  I’ll be doing it again at the first opportunity!!!

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Stefan Palmer

Cycling and Kyacking in China   1 comment

This was a great, but exhausting two day.  Day 1.  A bike ride around the surrounding countryside of Yangshuo including a brief hike to the top of a very high hill overlooking our cycle route.  Day 2. We went kyacking down the Li river, just outside Yangshuo.  The river was pond calm with mirror image views of the surrounding mountains….at the start of the day.  It was a pity when the mist came down, followed by rain, but it cool us down.  We finished the kyack with a swim in the river and a soggy bus trip back to the hotel.   Much to the bus drivers annoyance.

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Stefan Palmer

Posted 29/09/2011 by Stefan Palmer in China

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OMG   Leave a comment

It’s stopped raining and the sun is out!  Six days of solid rain over, well for now.  When I ask the locals if that is it, no more rain, they just laugh and shake their heads.  At least the locals aren’t trying to flog us brollies and ponchos now.  Instead random people keep cycling up to us, trying to get us into their tailors shops.  Also girls trying to sell us bangles while we drink coffee.  Because I now know the script, before they continue, I also inform them I also do not want any tigerbalm or postcards.  They trudged away disappointed only for the next seller to appear as if by magic.

Today we are browsing the Vietnamese shopping mecca of Hoi an.  There are loads of little tailors shops that will make dresses and suits.  Because one of Kerry’s UK dresses was destroyed by a lethal dose of deet guess what we are shopping for…..

Personally, as much as I used to enjoy dressing up each day for 21 years in a suit, I never plan to wear one again.

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Stefan Palmer

Posted 27/09/2011 by Stefan Palmer in Vietnam

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Curry   Leave a comment

First curry last night since May.  My word it was good.  Warmed me up too.  I needed it to with all this monsoon rain.

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Stefan Palmer

Posted 26/09/2011 by Stefan Palmer in Vietnam

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Hue, rain and bargin trips   2 comments

We certainly appear to have entered Vietnam in the rainy season.  Since we arrived in Hue it’s done nothing but rain.  Down the road in Hoi An our China group friends are equally wet.  They are venturing out in board shorts, flip flops and watetproofs (tempting and it does save on drying)  in UK we don’t seem to get downpours anymore.   The Vietnamese have a sense of humor.  Whilst in a restaurant having tea the background music was “Listen to the rhythm of the pouring rain”

What with the rain we have booked am extra night in our hotel.  £6 per night each gets us a proper double room with wardrobe, en suite bathroom with bath and get this our very own desktop pc.  The hostel down the road was more expensive and that was for dorm accommadation…madness.

We have booked a tour of the sights for tomorrow including the Citadel and tombs.  We wanted the boat trip tour but due the height of the river (see below picture) it’s out of the question.  Instead £3.80 gets us an English speaking tour guide and transport to each site.  All we have to pay is the entrance fees.

We have also organised our passage out of Hue on Monday morning to Hoi An.  A 3 hour bus journey for £2 each.

This country is ridiculously cheap.

Weather update – more rain to come.  Yay!

Check out this video of the rain.

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Stefan Palmer

Posted 24/09/2011 by Stefan Palmer in Vietnam

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Your Mission should you choose to accept it.   2 comments

Out of the big cities we travelled to the village of Xi Tang (well in Chinese terms with a population of a mere 300,000).  This is an authentic whitewashed village with tiny alleyways with shops selling local food and handmade gifts and a river running through the centre.  We arrived late for a one night stay.  Just in time to get some daylight shots before dark and then some stunning night pictures.  One of our group (Andrew) plays a guitar so we persuaded a local bar owner to let him do a set.  Meantime Warren and I where out on the street greeting the locals and enticing them in to listen to the music with some success.  Kerry and I woke up the following morning regreting the last drink of the night, we had got back to the hostel at 01.00.

To get a good idea about the the village watch the last 20 minutes of Mission Impossible 3, which was filmed in Xi Tang.

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Stefan Palmer

Posted 24/09/2011 by Stefan Palmer in China

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