Louisa Claire

Read more posted in October, 2009

Islands are not for (small) children.

There are many things we are learning as we travel around Vietnam; one such lesson is that islands are not for small children.
No matter how hard you try, it’s virtually impossible to find yourself on a remote, idyllic, unpopulated island and not want to relax. Children, particularly our endlessly energetic ones likes ours, are not conducive to such an experience…
Particularly when travelling by boat (with other people)

I’m having some trouble uploading pics but hope you like this taste of our holiday so far!



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Monday morning 5.57am

The little one is still jet lagged. I’m in the hotel reception giving the HH some extra zzz’s as he had her in bed with him for the past couple of hours. Exactly how long, I’m not actually sure as we don’t have a clock in our room but seeing as we were all awake and up at 3.45am local time yesterday (thanks to the girl), I imagine it was something similar today.

Yesterday was brilliant, despite starting at 3.45am. LP twice slept in the backpack which we didn’t expect she’d do. We went to the Temple of Literature, the One Temple Pagoda, some more strolling around the Old Quater (it’s very different at the crack of dawn!) and then ran into a girl I haven’t seen since school days, 10+ years ago, who is traveling here with her husband!! What a small world! We grabbed a beer with them and it was a really great way to reconnect after all this time.

We went to the Night Market last night and barely bought anything. I think we have reached a new ‘stage’ in our Asia travel where the lure of bargaining and bright, pretty things is tempered by the reality that once bought, the dazzle is gone. It was great to stroll around though.

TRAVEL WITH A TODDLER. What I’ve learnt so far:

  • 2 t-shirts is NOT enough
  • A pram IS a useful thing in an airport
  • You WILL be the biggest tourist attraction around when you have one of the smallest minorities with you. Yes, a red headed toddler is a minority, esp in Asia! Since we arrived people have given us food, just randomly grab her for a cuddle, wanted to have endless photos with her and HH. I think I need a note written up that says “Her name is LP. She is 1 and a half. She is a girl.” :)


Oh Asia, I do love you!

We’re here and reminded of how much we love Asia! I’m as excited as a kid in a candy store…or an adult in a candy store who can eat whatever they want and not gain a single gram. Bliss!

The first time I came to Malaysia, in 2006, The Architect’s family took us straight from the plane at the crack of dawn to a local joint for brekkie. Curry, to be precise. I wasn’t really convinced but today when we arrived at KLIA the first thing I said to the The Architect was “Mmmm. Roti Cennai and Teh Tarek; that’d be good right now”. It was 6am (local time)!

Tonight we went for a big walk around the Old Quarter. Hanoi is a MAD city! It’s exactly the way we picture an Asian city – pedestrians, motorcyclists, scooter riders, cars and cyclists all share roads made only for 1.5lanes and somehow navigate one another like a well oiled machine…which is probably more than can be said for many of the vehicles!

When it comes to eating hawker food, The Architect is much braver than I. It takes me a couple of days to warm up to eating food that’s been cooked on the side of the road. The Architect took great delight in tormenting me on this front when we went to China. Today he just accepted it; he knows I’ll get there!

The little one traveled well. It’s definitely true that planes are not made for small children but despite this, she only screamed for about 20minutes once we got into our seats (a bit more in the terminal) but given the our flight left at 1.15AM and that we woke her up at 9.50pm, this was kind of OK. She was awake for a couple of hours in the flight, but very quiet so only the HH and I were disturbed by this but in the end she slept for about half the flight and then for 2.5hrs of the 3.5hr flight b/w KL and Hanoi.

I realise this post is all over the place but I hope you’ll expect this random selection of thoughts as my offering to you on my first night in Hanoi!

Hanoi, Vietnam


The wheels on the bus go round and round and round…and then fall off.

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After my post the other day about how well I was coping the wheels on the proverbial bus of my life, fell off.

I spent yesterday in a state of high agitation, exhaustion, frustration and subsequent crap-mum-dom after getting less than an hour’s sleep all of Wed night thanks to LP, who herself, was not in the best mood yesterday.

I swore a lot. Then felt guilty, and to be honest, kind of let down that all that swearing (and banging things) didn’t make me feel better.

I finally got out of the house to run some errands in the afternoon and happened to grab a Nicole Nordeman CD and pop it in and on came “Mercies New”…

So I would understand if You were out of patience
And I would understand if I was out of chances

Your mercies are new every morning
So let me wake with the dawn
When the music is through or so it seems to be
Let me sing a new song, old things gone
Every day it’s true, You make all Your mercies new

The whole song is amazing, but these words had me driving along with tears streaming down as I was reminded by how great and huge and encompassing God’s love is.

It didn’t magically “fix” the afternoon, I was still tired and frustrated but I was also greatly aware that I was loved.

I wanted to include a youtube video of the song but can’t find one. If you don’t know, it’s worth getting hold of!

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Surprised myself!

Tonight as I lay in bed with my girl reading her stories while she drank her milk I reflected on the last few weeks and the fact that I was cuddling my girl, happy and content not exhausted and fed up.

In the past 3+ weeks my husband has worked til the wee hours of the morning every. single. day. Weekends included we have had dinner together a grand total of 4 times. That’s also how many times he has been home before midnight. This also means that in the past 3+ weeks I’ve only had a total of 4 part-days away from looking after LP and all of those days have been either work or study related.

This is not a poor me post. It’s a “Hey, I’ve actually copied OK with this” post.

It definitely helped that Miss Awesome stayed with us for 4 days last week and was a great company, not to mention help!

It also helped that tonight I took LP out for pizza [yep, pizza. Go on, judge me :)]

It also helps that we are going to VIETNAM in 2 more sleeps!

BUT, the point is. I’m ok. We’re ok.

If it were Oct 2008, I don’t think that would be the case. I think I would be in the fetal position somewhere in a state of high anxiety, exhaustion and depression. I wouldn’t have been able to cope and this would have compounded an already difficult situation. BUT, in Oct 20009, things are good.

It was an exciting and encouraging revelation!

The end


Travelling with a Toddler

As I’ve mentioned, we are about to head on our first real holiday with LP…to Vietnam! We’re going for 3 weeks, flying into Hanoi and our of Ho Chi Minh City and visiting a variety of cities in between…fun, fun, fun!

As well as the usual, clothes, swimmers etc these are the other fun things we need to take..
– Baby life jacket for the boat trips
– Toy backpack (as in backpack with toys)
– Backpack Carrier (as in the backpack the HH will carry her around in each day)
– Travel Port a cot
– Baby Panadol etc.
– Nappies, wipes, barrier creams
– RID and lots of it!
– Some food
– About a hundred dummies!
– Laundry soap bar
…and goodness knows what else we’ll add to this!

Our “cheap” holiday to Vietnam has incurred the following incidentals
– Port a cot ($150 – ebay!)
– Backpack Carrier ($170 – half price sale!)
– Passport for LP and renewal for me ($300)
– Visas for all of us ($200)
– Hep A and Typhoid boosters for HH and me ($230)
– New swimmers for me (it’s been 7 years! $185)
– Sandals for me ($75)
– Travel bag/Suitcase ($150 – half price sale!)

TOTAL: $1460 OUCH!!! That’s almost as much as the flights cost!!

(I am sure there’s more…and I haven’t yet counted all the nappies etc I still have to get…I don’t really want to think about it!!)

I am glad we are going for 3 weeks now!