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Sliding Through… Vietnam

Sliding Through… Vietnam Ásdís Rósa and Kristján Gíslason in Vietnam, January and February 2014

Sliding Through… Vietnam On January 8, 2014, my wife Ásdís Rósa and I flew from Iceland to London England, then on to Bangkok, Thailand and finally on to Luang Prabang, Laos. We spent five weeks exploring the beautiful Indochina countries of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. This book is the third in my “Sliding Through” series, which I created after returning from our trip. The others are, “Sliding Through...Laos!” and “Sliding Through...Cambodia.” France ruled Vietnam for nearly 100 years until 1964, when the country gained its independence. The Vietnam War between the communists in the north and western allied capitalists in the south raged for nearly 20 years from 1954-1975. When I asked our guide in Hanoi about the modern relationship with Americans he responded that it was actually very good. He said that they had been drawn into wars or attacked so many times over their long history that they have to be able to forgive and put things behind them. Today’s population is 90 million people. Throughout the book you will see numbers in brackets - these correspond to QR Codes which are located in the back of the book. Scanning a QR Code will take you to a short video. In the online version of this book, viewers can click the small stars that appear on select pages and watch the videos directly in their web browser.


After a four hour boat trip, we arrived in Vietnam, where we met this sailor on the Mekong River at sunset.

The Mekong Delta


( 10 & 15 ) Biking is a great way to get in touch with the people and the environment. Visiting the floating market was interesting; farmers offer their products each morning to managers of shops, hotels and markets, who sail between the boats (right).


On our bike trip, we were oered all kinds of fruit that we had never tasted before.

A beautiful girl in a traditional dress and an ugly, but very tasty fish (to right).


( 20 ) The Cu Chi Tunnels that the North Vietnamese constructed in South Vietnam had a lasting impact on the development of the Vietnam War. Terrifying death traps and homemade explosives kept enemies away from the area.



Three-dimensional postcards offered to the tourists in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon).

Looking through glass.


An old woman selling “lucky tickets’ (lottery tickets) at a busy crossroads in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) (left). Smartly dressed but taking all precautions, the motorcyclists looks a bit like an alien (upper left). 13


Halldór Þórðarson, Kristján, Ásdís Rósa and Guðrún Gísladóttir celebrate Halldórs 70th birthday at a skyscraper restaurant in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon).



Praying at a temple in Ho Chi Minh.

The streets are crowded with people selling “lucky tickets� (lottery tickets). People seem to firmly believe in luck.


Hoi An is one of the most charming cities we visited and the city is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A handicap man oers an English newspaper to tourists (left), while a motorist delivers a refrigerator to a new home (above left).



The period around the New Year is a time when people clean and repair things around their home, as well as go to the temples and pray. Visiting friends and family is also a big part of the New Year tradition. Then a pot for cooking is needed.

The yellow flower delivery man - these beautiful flowers are widely used to welcome the New Year (above right). The charming old town of Hoi An (above left). 21


A three generation cloth store in Hoi An.

A proud mother is holding her child. The red hose is ready for washing the dishes.



( 25 )

Different services are offered at the barber, including ear cleaning (above left). Cleaning brushes and brooms are sold from a bike (above right). People don’t often use tables when having lunch or dinner (above right). A boat service (right).

The Hoi An beach is magnificent.


Impressive contemporary architecture (above). At a marble art factory on our way from Hoi An to Hanoi (left).



A temple near Huwe

American bunker near Huwe (above left).



The New Year varies from year to year because it is linked to the Chinese calendar which calculates time from the position of the moon. This year, the New Year was celebrated on January 30th.


( 30 )

During the New Year it is a common sight to see the temples packed with people praying (above left). In Hanoi, both civilians and soldiers go to the Ho Chi Minh monument to honor the memory of their great leader (above right).


( 35 )

The journey from Hanoi to Sapa took nine hours on an overnight train (above). Sapa is the northeast region of Vietnam and shares a border with China.

( 40 ) The Sapa region is a beautiful countryside where the people subsist mainly on farming and tourism. The women with their hand crafted items who follow tourists for long distances attempting to sell them something. The woman walking behind テ《dテュs followed us for more than 4 kilometers (almost 2 ツス miles) and disappeared as soon as we bought something. 39

Waiting for lunch in a local Sapa restaurant (left). The sales woman gave the photographer a nice smile hoping he would buy something (above left). Reformed mountain hills to grow rice (above right).



( 45 )

We stayed at a farm in Sapa. The farmer’s widow in her kitchen preparing dinner for the travelers.

A young man hunting fish in a nearby river (above left).


( 50 )

The guides and our host (left). A young mother with her child; she told us that she has decided to have only two children (above).


( 55 )

Our guide, Sang is 21 years old; he said that he had never been more than 120 kilometers (about 74 ツス miles) from his home (above left). テ《dテュs waits for the lunch being served (above right).

A farmer rests on the wall and wonders what this “white man� is doing.



This elderly woman was running a small general store from her home. The inventory only held ten or so items.

( 60 )

A water pipe was available at this restaurant in case customers wanted to smoke.


The farmer’s daughter cooked dinner while her mother took care of her child (above). Two other men stayed at the farm as well, one from Switzerland and the other from Greece (right). 50


A typical house in a village (left). A local tour guide in customary dress in Sapa (above).



The women stick together while knitting (above). The water bualoes enjoying a small pool (right).


A farmhouse, located high in the mountains.


This young boy smiled after he became more comfortable with the visitors (left). Women carrying goods (above).


A primitive kitchen, living and bedroom at one of the farms we stayed at. After cooking, dinner was served (next page).



The farmer’s wife and daughter relaxing.

A family of six traveling on their scooter; the father respects the newly implemented helmet laws.



People are reminded of their great leader, Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969).

Our tour guide for four days, Sang, waving goodbye to us. He jumped into a taxi, which had 10-14 people in it, back to Sapa.



( 65 )

This fisherman’s daughter made an impact on us and invited us back to take a look at her home. She was a charming girl and it gave us a new perspective of what life is like on Halong Bay.



( 70 )

Halong Bay in North Vietnam is one of the world’s wonders. The formation of the mountains on nearly 3,000 dierent islands made us feel as if we were floating through the movie Avatar.


In some of the Halong Bay islands people use the fresh water to grow rice.


Our friends from Switzerland and Argentina, who we met on the Halong Bay cruise (above).

( 75 & 80 & 85 )

Haircut in Hanoi (left). Repairing the electricity cables in Hanoi and listening to the official announcements from the loudspeakers (above).



Waiting for customers on that beach at Phu Qouc Island (above).

( 90 )

Just 2 kilometers (1 Âź miles) from the white sand beaches of Phu Quoc, the mechanics repaired the boats engines. The sea level was quite low because of the tide.



( 95 )

A relaxing moment at the beach restaurant.



( 100 )

The scooter trip took us to wonderful white beaches.




Sliding Through... Vietnam  

We spent five weeks exploring the beautiful and facinating Indochina countries of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. After our trip, I made three s...

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