Round Boats, Teamwork & Fishsauce

The round boat is very unique in both its shape and manouverability. Isaac and I went for a paddle in a kayak and met this man laying out crab traps while chatting on his cell phone and paddling his boat. A team of about 6 people bring a fishing net to shore. It takes a few hours and is very labour intensive for the amount and size of fish they catch. The larger fish they catch are sold immediatly to locals on the beach and the smaller ones are taken to fish sauce factories. We visited one of about a hundred factories on the island of Phu Quoc. We were anticipating a real stench of fermenting fish but it wasn’t too bad. You can see thousands of litres of fish sauce waiting to be bottled. Yummy! – Baruch

















New Friends

We met a Swedish family the first day we came to Mai Spa resort. There were two kids in the family who we played with a lot. Their names were Kalle and Otto. We made sandcastles together, caught crabs, snorkeled, played pool, and watched Harry Potter (in Swedish) too. – Isaac 









Phu Quoc New Year’s Eve

Today I swam in the ocean for a couple of hours, while Alexandra did homework. I went for a walk down the beach to a place where they are going to have a big New Year’s party to see if Dad could do some magic. They said we could have food and drinks and kayaking for free if he did magic. When night started to come we walked over. After supper I played pool for quite some time until my mom wanted to dance with me because it was five minutes to midnight. Everybody was dancing their hearts out on the beach when 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1…HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012!!!!!!!!!!! – Isaac

Alexandra thought she would like to try her dad’s gin & tonic – mom and dad found her reaction quite hilarious.


Cuchi Tunnels

We visited the Cuchi tunnels today. I wouldn’t have wanted to be a soldier on any side. I find it horrifying how many awful ways us humans have invented to kill and torture each other. Today enforced my hatred of war, guns and murder. – Alexandra 
We went to the Cuchi tunnels and watched a video on the war. The tunnels were very deep, dark and dank. The traps I shouldn’t get into a description of. – Isaac  

Map of the hundreds of kilometres of underground tunnels. 


There were thousands of hidden trap doors. 

Many of the tunnel entrances were disguised as termite nests (of course, it was more hidden years ago). 

This is one of the original tunnels – it looks quite large, but in fact is only large enough for a medium size adult to crawl through (Baruch would not fit, nor would most American soldiers). 

A dozen examples of ground and tunnel traps made from bomb fragments and sharpened bamboo. 


A massive crater left by one the thousands of B-52 bombing runs. 


Shoes were made out of used tires and were worn backwards to deceive the Americans. 


Tapioca root was par-boiled and carried in their backpacks for food; it was a staple. 


Curio Shop Stop

On the way to the Cuchi Tunnels we stopped at a curio shop for a bathroom break. This rest stop was different though, as all of the art was made by physically handicapped people. It’s run by the government and people who would otherwise have difficulty getting a job. One woman invited Isaac to try his hand at some eggshell art. Once complete, it is beautiful and Isaac loved the interaction with the artist. – Baruch






An Expensive Cyclo Journey in Saigon

I slept in until 11:00 a.m when mom came back from the war museum. We were going to the Fine Arts museum in the afternoon. When we started walking Mom realized that we didn’t have the map and we didn’t know where we were going. A man with a Cyclo asked if we wanted a ride. Because we didn’t know where the museum was we said yes. But the museum was right across the street. He said the price was 15000 dong before we started, but instead of taking us across the road he took us around the block and tried to charge us 150 000 dong! – Isaac

The art museum was really a gallery. I didn’t like most of the art, but that’s just me. It turns out that mom had the map all along! – Alexandra 

Women Street Vendors

At the Women’s Museum in Hanoi we learned that many women leave their families in rural areas to come to the cities and work. They leave for weeks at a time only to return home with marginally more income than if they stayed home. The work is grueling; up at 3am or 4am to get their wares ready for the long day and returning to a communal residence late at night to begin again a few hours later the next day. We purchased some fruit from this woman and I asked to try and carry her baskets. I was surprised at how heavy they were – at least 120lbs (probably 30lbs more than she weighed)!! – Baruch