Coco Beach Camp in Lagi, Vietnam

Copy from my article on Couchsurfing.com

Hola, Me llama Sylvie, well it’s a French name, a long story to tell 🙂  but I can speak Vietnamese very well, jajaja. I joined couchsurfing a few years ago, used to host some friends from everywhere in the world. Now I am living alone in a small room so I guess I have to give up my hospitality for the others. As everybody here, I love travel, not traveler, haha, should be a backpacker or surfer :).

Anyway, I was in the bad mood with something happened recently, meet the “right one” but not the right time & right place, I couldn’t blame myself or him, just keep it as a great memory. And it’s not the first time I am in broken-heart situation. I always find the way to get over it by working & traveling. Last year I was in a wild island & history repeats again & here I am, lying down on the beach & relax. It’s a small village in the Central of Vietnam. It took me 3 hours from Saigon. I chose to stay in Coco Beach Camp in Lagi.

I was wondering where to stay, they have bungalows, trailers & tents. I wanted all of them, so greedy huh? Then I met a group here, they’re all from Saigon as I am and so lucky I even met a few of them in my favorite bar in Saigon. Finally, as their advice, I decided to take a bungalow, about 35$/day, not bad. It’s not like 4-5 star hotel, not really clean much but really nice. I can see the long beautiful beach in front of bungalow. And as expats or backpackers, you can order food or drink just 1$ & if you stay in a tent, just 9-10$, share with your friend,  the bill can be splited  a half. That’s amazing, right.

I am glad that I can make new friends & it’s so cool because we’re all living in the same city as well. They are so friendly, awesome & humorous. They helped me distract & forget someone else for a while. They were making a photo shoot & video with cool flycamp for their event on March, Vibe Nation . I was so excited to join them in a few scence as an amateur model, well short model ever in the world by accident.

I am not good at writing cos I am working in a software company. But I can tell my story by photos J. I am gonna come back there again to attend my friends’ event. If you want to relax on the beach, discover my country/culture, don’t hensitate pick your bag up & go. If you want to make friend with me or with my new awesome friends, enojoy music festival on the beach, come & join their event next month called Vibe Nation Beach Fest. Visit the website for more details: http://vibenationbeachfest.com.

I’ll write more about my adventure & share my experience in a wild island in next post.

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Tet Holiday

Tet nowadays is not like the traditional Festival before (Almost go travel 😂).
I remember my Dad used to prepare many materials: glutinous rice, mung beans, pork,… for making bánh trưng. We stayed awake all night long to wait those cakes boiled, sat by a cooking-fire to drill sweet potatoes and potatoes, tasted so great. The last days, followed my Dad to Spring Flower Market to buy a apricot blossom tree or peach blossom tree or citrus japonica tree or just some beautiful flowers (which tree depended on each year, coz my Dad was an artist 😀). And the most interested was being a part of decorated team with him (It’s better than having to clean or organize stuffs with my Mom). And every kid were so excited with new clothes & got many “lì xì” with lucky money ( To me, it wasn’t lucky money, because my mom always kept it and said it’s my saving money, she would pay back but actually that’s the way adults told the naive kids 😂).
One more thing is I didn’t have many friends who were girls coz almost were bullies, so most of best friends that time were boys. Tet was the opportunity for me and those boys set off firecrackers to thread the girls, it was very funny game 😂 Such a peaceful childhood!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO MY FRIENDS!
These advised tips below is for reference ( we kept it a long time ago, not much families still follow that now):
Do and Don’t during Tet holiday in Vietnam:
Tet is the biggest and the most important holiday in Vietnam. It is a great occasion for families to gather together and enjoy relaxing times off. The days from Dec 30 to Jan 3 Lunar Year are the main days of festival: There are many customs in Vietnam dictating what to do and what not to do during these days. Being a traveller, you may choose to observe these rules, especially if you invited to a Vietnamese family during Tet.
DOs:
1/ Pay all the debts before Tet
Before Tet, people should return all the things that they have borrowed from others and pay all the debts they owed. It is believed that people should never start a new year with debts and borrowed things; otherwise in that year people would be stuck with debts.
2/ Lucky money
On the first day of Tet, adults (those who have already got married and have income) are supposed to prepare some “lucky money” to give the children and kids when visiting other’s homes as a symbol of luck for the coming New Year. People are also supposed to say best wishes to others. These activities are done with the expectation that luck and good things are brought to everyone.
3/ Gift-exchanging
Gift-exchanging is another common custom during Tet holiday, which is used mostly in business. The process of giving and receiving gifts help to enhance the relationships between clients and firms. The popular presents are cookies, chocolates, fruit baskets, wine, soft drinks or other kinds of treats. Usually, people can buy a pack of gifts in the shops which includes many different kinds of food. If you have a Vietnamese business partner, take this opportunity to enhance the relationships.
4/ Buy and Wear New Clothes
Tet is a special occasion that people wear new and beautiful outfits. The streets during Tet is full with colorful dresses, ao dai and other costumes. It is thought that colorful bright colors like red, yellow or blue can bring good luck and prosperity to people for the upcoming year.
5/ Smile
Another essential element of Tet is smiles. A smile can make everything seem more relaxing and enhance relationship among people. A smile can bring joy and happiness to you as well as people around you for the whole year also. During this Tet, people refrain themselves from getting angry or depressed and put an instant smile on their faces, hoping for a happy new year.
DONTs:
1/ Argue, swear and say bad things
If people usually wish greetings during Tet holidays, it is forbidden to say bad things like death or swear in this occasion. People also should avoid having arguments and shout at each other during Tet because it can bring them an inharmonic year. When having any conflict, try to calm down and keep it as peaceful as possible.
2/ Commit Cruelty
People also should not do cruel things like killing or hurting animals. Instead, they are recommended to set animals free. The most common animals set free in Tet holidays is birds. That is the reason why birds are sold during Tet holidays in pagodas. This belief is originated from Buddhism’s causality which states that if people do good things, they will be blessed with good luck.
3/ Sweep house
Another thing people should avoid doing is sweeping the house or emptying the trash bin especially on the first day of the new year. People believe that if you sweep the floor, all the luck and money will flow out of your house. So you can keep this in mind. When visiting one’s house in Tet, you should not drop anything onto the floor and make it dirty. Moreover, when you want to do something, it is a good idea to ask the home owner first to avoid unwanted problems.
4/ Wear black/white clothes
People are supposed not to wear white or black clothes on the first day of Tet. Usually, white and black are colors of funeral in Vietnam. As a result, wearing them on the first days of the New Year may symbolize deaths and unlucky things. Colorful outfits are recommended.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Valentine 2K17I have 8 characters – 3 words – 1 meaning to say to all members of my family & my good/best friends: I LOVE YOU & in some languages I know:
Tôi yêu các bạn (to friends) or Anh yêu em (to gf) & Em yêu anh (to bf); Je t’aime; Te amo; Ti amo; Ich liebe dich; я люблю тебя; Wǒ ài nǐ; Saranghae (사랑해)!
In my opinion, Feb 14th is just a day as usual. Because if you love someone else, every single day should be valentine’s day & you should say love them before it’s too late (Not much in Vietnam, lol, coz almost ppl are shy to say it out loud – except couples/lovers; just show their love by actions, specially members of families).
I am alone but not lonely. Thank you all of you stand by me the whole time or even each stage of my life!
To the members of my family: I lost many of you, my funny & smart Daddy, my sweet aunts, my great Uncle, my Grandma and my best friends (one from secondary school, one from University Ruby Emmy). I never forget you & will keep your image in my heart. To my cancer Aunt & the others: Wish you all heath & happiness!
To Милая Дочка: 23 years friendship, it’s long enough to understand each other, sometimes no need to talk much, it’s pity we’re not living in a city. я люблю тебя!
To Yến Nguyễn Hải & Quỳnh Đỗ Thuý: Bạn thân từ hồi high school đến giờ, cũng chừng hơn 18 năm rôi á. Éo vô fb của nhau mấy, lâu lâu hỏi thăm được dăm câu, cơ mà có dịp gặp nhau là bỏ hết công việc với giai gái để tí tớn với nhau. 2 nàng không có tui mà chả bao giờ họp mặt là sao? Chúc Yến hạnh phúc, khi nào sinh báo bạn 1 câu nhé. Quỳnh sư thì vô Sài Gòn nhậu với bạn đê, bạn dẫn đi chơi.
To Hoai Tho: con này dek có fb, rủ đi ra ngoài chơi bao nhiêu lần, không đi, không hẹn hò gì, giết thời gian bằng công việc. Mệt wa, ko chúc nữa.
To Chau Le Cam Hong & Gấm Thị Vũ: You are the friends to me, the friends who I would never ever want to lose. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your little family!
To Duyen Tran: Chẳng biết chúc cái vẹo gì cả, chỉ hy vọng mọi chuyện sẽ tốt đẹp hơn. D biết là D có thể gọi P bất cứ khi nào, bạn tốt thì để làm gì, hehe.
To Jacques Levy: Happy Valentine’s Day Daddy. Thank you for everything you did to me!
To Trần Phương Mai: Boyfriends come and go, but friends are forever! 😀Happy Valentine’s day!
To Saigon Squat Brittany Petit Angeli Castillo Sebastian Abarzua PodlechRicky Jackson Carl Maybry: Everything comes with an expiry date. Thankfully something like friendship, still exists. I love all you guys. Happy Valentine’s day!
To someone else special: where are you? Been waiting for so long, still have the patience