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Asia and Oceania

Asia embodies the ancient spirit, alluring one to explore and experience a land of rich and diverse cultures. The Islands of the South Pacific conjure up tropical fascinations. These are the adventures to share.



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Asia and OceaniaA Family Motorbike Adventure Across Vietnam

HCWT 07.04.2013 16:28 0 0


A Family Motorbike Adventure Across Vietnam

The Vietnamese appreciate any attempts to speak the language. As I sat and enjoyed the shade and the attempted conversation, boys were busy putting Jake’s motorbike back together and giving it a good wash. A young woman placed her baby daughter on my lap and lifted my arms so the baby could rub her face through the hair on my arms. Having body hair is an advantage in Vietnam and makes me good luck, just like my potbelly that every passing stranger rubs.

We especially enjoyed the cultural tribal dances.

A new and exciting world opened up for the boys. At the White Thai village of Ban Loc they joined in the local dancing and even sipped local wine through a straw with the ladies. They explored the rice paddies and watched the people harvest crops. Women fished the rivers and kids swam in local streams. We motor biked down back roads (most roads in Vietnam are back roads) and discovered a town engaged in the making of chopsticks. We drove into the forest and followed the bamboo being chopped from the hillsides as the logs floated down a river. Young men hauled the bamboo logs into the town where they were measured, cut and chopped, into chopsticks. The boys had never thought about where chopsticks came from or the people who made them or, especially, the work involved.

Read more about Motorbiking across Vietnam.

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Asia and OceaniaSwim with whales in Tonga

HCWT 01.27.2012 17:10 0 0


Swimming with the Humpback Whales of Tonga

DAY TWO – Our first sighting was a humpback whale calf frolicking in the water. The Makaira slowly approached to the safe 100 meter distance, but the mother surfaced and swam away. We then spotted another Humpback whale and her calf floating on the surface of the water. Geared up in snorkel and fins, I sat on the dive platform and waited for myAs a new born calf, Solomon reveled in his new found swimming ability. His antics provided endless amusement for our group of whale watchers. turn to enter the water. It was hard to contain my excitement as I slid into Vava’u’s warm tropical waters.

As a new born calf, Solomon reveled in his new found swimming ability. His antics provided endless amusement for our group of whale watchers.
    I searched the deep-blue waters for the mother whale. Suddenly, she appeared floating motionlessly just 20 feet in front of me. She was enormous – at least 50 feet long and as broad as a barn. A wave of uneasiness raced through me. Common sense told me to hold my distance, but I felt compelled to swim closer to her. Cautiously, I swam closer and I sensed that she was studying me.
    My eyes were drawn to her eye
, small yet penetrating, and instantly, any fear I had vanished. I felt engulfed in an overwhelming calmness. I knew I was safe and secure within the mother Humpback’s all-embracing, nurturing presence. I floated about 8 feet from her and we gazed into each other’s eyes. “The whale not only looks at you, she sees you,” remarked Darren. The mother Humpback not only saw into my soul, she touched my soul. I was completely consumed in the moment. Time stood still.

Read more of this amazing adventure at Humpback Whales of Tonga.

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