Japan and Vietnam

In Yokohama we were met at a bus stop with a colourful Servas greeting sign by Momono and Kozu and taken in their car to the Sankeian Gardens for a cultural and typical Japanese tour of this very peaceful location and lots of time to chat.   Then to a Shintu shrine to learn about their faith.  On to a cafe set out on the Pacific ocean beach and drove back along a mountain road like Scenic Drive in Auckland with posh homes hidden in the many trees.  Very delighted with our day with them.
We had 4 weeks in Vietnam travelling with locals on public transport from north to south and flying out of Ho Chi Minh city. Stayed with Nga in Hanoi.  She was staying with us before and after the Conference at Matamata 2 years ago.  She sends warm regards to all the Kiwis she met in NZ.  Nga and family live in a typical French Vietnamise house .  Set in a tiny narrow alley just off a lane and that was off a main shopping street with bus route..  The house is 5 stories high but has a very narrow frontage,  Endless stairs to climb and a very warm welcoming home where her teenage daughter greeted us .  Nga works at the Australian embassy.  We had 2 days exploring the parks and museums of Hanoi and lots of time to chat with the family.
 When we returned to Hanoi 5 days later we stayed with Bish.  She works at Belgium Embassy and lives in a similar house with he teenage son and daughter.  We were taken out riding pillion on their motor scooters.  That was very scary but it is the main way of getting about the city along with 9 million other locals.  There were 3 adults on Keit’hs scooter..They attended a Cooking School for Children and by Children at a community centre,  When doing our grocery shopping you ride up a narrow lane near your home and shout your order to a stall keeper.  He puts the veges and meat in a plastic bag and hangs it on the handlebars and you pay and ride to the next shop.  so no need to find a parking space..  People in Vietnam are very friendly and it was a safe country to visit.
Transport, Hotels and food are very cheap. All these Servas Hosts would love more visitors.
 Trish and Keith Janes (Auckland)
2017