Checking in with Out's correspondents as they criss-cross the world...
Who: Josh Wood, NYC-based event producer (www.joshwoodproductions.com), November 2011
Where I Went: Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Sapa, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in Vietnam.
What I Did: Rode Motorcycles through Ho Chi Minh City. Hiked to hill tribal villages through the rice paddies of Sapa. Took Cooking Classes in Hoi An with Miss Vy at The Morning Glory Cooking School. Enjoyed a hot herbal bath in a barrel on top off a mountain. Cruised on a Chinese Junk through 2000 limestone islands of Ha Long Bay.
What I Recommend:
Have courage and eat food off the street and explore the markets in the mornings. Don’t be afraid to go what the Vietnamese call “Easy Rider” and ride on the back of a motorcycle for a few pennies rather than sit in grid lock in the back of a taxi. Walk the streets of the Old Quarter of Hanoi at night and get lost. Rent a private cabin and have a romantic night on the overnight train from Hanoi to Lo Cai. Absolutely do not miss trekking through the mountains and rice terraces of Sapa.
Where I Stayed: 6 on Sixteen Hotel (www.sixonsixteen.com) in Hanoi where they train impoverished youth to work in the service industry, Glory Cruises in Ha Long Bay, the overnight “Pumpkin” train (www.et-pumpkin.com) to Sapa and in a thatched hut at the H’Mong Mountain Retreat (www.hmongmountainretreat.com).
What I Supported: Victims of Agent Orange at the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City. The Black H’Mong and Red Zhao tribes of Northern Vietnam.
What I Wore: A.P.C. knock-off jeans that I had made in Hoi An. My banged up Cartier tank watch. Lucio Castro dress shirt. 100 years old silver wedding bracelets bought in Sapa. Y-3 lace ups.
What I Ate: Mango Salad with Grilled Chicken. Spring Rolls, spring rolls and more spring rolls. Hoi An pancakes. Pho Bo for breakfast. Coconut stewed pork with duck eggs. “White Rose” dumplings. Bahn Mi sandwiches.
What I Skipped: Eating “Thit Cho”, otherwise known as dog (yes, there are dog restaurants).
What I Loved: Vietnamese Iced Coffee with lots of condensed milk and a $15 hot stone body massage at Nam Spa for Men (www.namspa.net) in Saigon. Waking up at 5am and seeing old ladies doing Tai Chi around Ho Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi.
Ho Chi Minh City at Night
H'mong Mountain Retreat