Au Co Adapting

They say kids struggle with transitions.  And we’ve definitely seen evidence of that with our crew over the years.  But during the last almost 10 months they’ve become masters of adapting to new conditions.  One example: we move a lot.  Our average stay in any one place is about 4.5 nights.  And for all the fun of checking into and checking out a new homestay, hostel, hotel, villa, there’s all the hassle and stress of packing up all our stuff, once again. Packing was about my least favorite chore at home and it’s become no less pleasant for me on the road.  That only increases my admiration for how well and, for the most part, how cheerfully our kids tackle this task.

Leaving Hanoi….


Of course, some transitions are pretty easy to handle.  Like our recent move from the seat of our motorbikes….

As fun as it was, many hours on the road does its toll on your backside

… followed by a few nights in a homestay in the heart of Hanoi…

Where all 6 of us shared one pretty cramped (cozy?) room

…to a 3 day cruise on beautiful, and spacious, Halong Bay.

halong-bay-in-vietnam-island-wallpaper-3840x2160  For this, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, we chose to indulge in a splurge.  I didn’t know quite what to expect when I booked the cruise many months ago and to be honest I hadn’t given it a ton of thought.  I made the plan before B and I realized so deeply that experiences appealing to us would not necessarily translate to the younger set.  A week ago, as we boarded our ship, the Au Co, I quietly wondered if we had made a mistake.  This pretty luxe vessel was charming for sure, but it did not exactly have family friend written all over it.




Our crew brought the average age down a few decades.  I worried the kids would be completely (and justifiably) bored as they watched us sip cocktails with a bunch of friendly, but decidedly older Ozzies on the Lido Deck…


Or, alternately, that Brendan and I would spend all our time trying to keep the kids’ antics from impinging on the elegant comfort our shipmates had paid a pretty penny to enjoy.  In yet another display to our kids’ great adaptability, neither turned out to be the case.

They embraced the opportunities for adventure the trip offered.

We explored a 3-chambered limestone cave with remarkable stalactites and stalagmites.  Coco schooled the group on the difference between the 2.


We cycled on Cat Ba Island to a small village where we visited the farms and met some local schoolchildren.



The next day we woke up early to take bamboo boats to another part of Cat Ba to try to spot the highly endangered Cat Ba Langur–only 61 left in the world.  

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No luck seeing the Langur (except through Google searches), but no one complained much. We had a beautiful ride.


To the extent we did engage in typical cruise activities, the kids played the part beautifully.

Eagerly participating in the spring roll making contest and fruit carving lesson….



Charming the Ozzies as well as some great new friends we made from our home-home (DC) and our wannabe home (NZed)…


And showing off some killer table manners while sampling the ship’s fine cuisine….


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What fun we had!

Except maybe when doing schoolwork…

But especially when celebrating Holly’s 12th birthday…


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Rona and Courtney of Auckland and Tiffani and Matt of Alexandria helped us toast the birthday girl

And what beautiful photos the kids created to document this part of our adventure.  I’d say that the foregoing are the best shots in any of our posts so far and all (but a few amateur shots by me) the work of our younger set.  DSC_0361DSC_0249


As I sometimes remember to tell them (but not nearly often enough), they amaze us every day.




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