A Visit to Vietnam

For most Americans the word Vietnam evokes painful memories, a cherished person gone too soon, and a hateful war we’d rather forget.

Our welcome committee in Nha Trang, Vietnam

I probably would have never visited Vietnam if our cruise ship hadn’t put it on its Far-East itinerary that included five days in China, Beijing and Shanghai, a stop in Okinawa (Japan), a visit to Taiwan, two days in Hong Kong, and two days in Vietnam, before we reached Singapore to fly home.

NHA TRANG is one of Vietnam’s most popular seaside destinations. It offers white-sand beaches, azure and turquoise waters, coconuts palms swaying in the breeze, and gaily painted fishing boats in the harbors of small villages. We took a guided tour to visit the Long Son pagoda, the Reclining Buddha, the Cham Tower complex and a couple of factories.

Long Son pagoda, or White Buddhist Pagoda as called by the locals, is a beautiful Buddhist temple built in the 19th century, on top of Trai Thuy hill. A pair of dragon mosaics stands firmly at the entrance, while lush topiary lines the main grounds.
On the way to the top of Trai Thuy hill, we admired the reclining Buddha statue made of marble. People say that The Reclining Buddha represents the potential that all beings have to release themselves from suffering. The serene and smiling expression of the reclining Buddha statue portrays the compassion and calmness that come with the enlightenment. 
Po Nagar Cham temple complex was built between 8th and 11th centuries by the Cham people who once ruled the central plain of Vietnam. They are renowned for their skills in sculpture and architecture, and left behind a legacy of artifacts and temple settlements not only in Vietnam, but also Cambodia and Thailand.

 

The towers of Po Nagar Cham are square red brick structure with protruding support frames and tapering roofs. Their towers are shrines to different deities. The tallest building, the Po Nagar Kalan, is the most impressive. 
Cri Cambhu, goddess of fertility.
Vietnamese women practicing the art of picture embroidery, at a local workshop for embroidery..

 

A lacquer factory where I bought a gorgeous jewelry box

Our second day in Vietnam was spent in the capital, Ho Chi Minh–or Saigon– a bustling metropolis where bicycles, motorbikes and cars fly down at dizzying speed. We took a walking tour around the downtown.

Ho Chi Minh City Hall
Independence Palace
Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon
Pedicab is a special type of transportation for Vietnam. 

Unfortunately I haven’t cruised for two years. Now I spend my time writing. My latest book is released today. I hope you will celebrate with me and enjoy RESCUE PLANS, book 3 of Love Plans Series.

RESCUE PLANS

To forget the drama that shook his life years ago, Captain Rafael Lopez dedicates himself to his career as a helicopter pilot, transporting patients in need of urgent care. His new flight nurse holds his attention with her gorgeous face, sassy mind, and indomitable spirit.

With determination and a lot of guts, Arianna Garcia survives life in the slums, learns to conquer her fears, and fights for herself. Rafael gives her the courage to break from her past. And Arianna is delighted to be Rafael’s flight nurse by day and passionate companion by night. After meeting a few jerks, she doesn’t believe in crazy promises and sex-driven hypocrisy.

Will Rafael discover the skeletons in her closet, gain her trust, and restore her faith in love?

Rescue Plans is book 3 of the Love Plans Series

Fear of Cockroaches by @AngelaStevens13

I have a pathological fear of cockroaches. The sight of one turns me into a gibbering wreck. My heart rate goes a million miles an hour, and I forget how to breathe. A fear of cockroaches is all consuming; when catching sight of their long, streamlined bodies tiptoeing across the wall, ceiling, couch… YIKES! …my reptilian brain takes over and the normal rational one shuts down. I make for higher ground and hyperventilate from the top of the kitchen table while my husband almost wets himself laughing.

But a fear of cockroaches is no laughing matter. For the entire time those mini-nightmares are on the loose, I’m paralyzed. All I can do is watch in horror as their scurrying, disgusting bodies run.

The running terrifies me the most. They are fast; faster than anything should be. And they don’t just run.

Brace yourself… they fly, too.

Fear of Coackroaches

Why, oh, why does the cockroach fly?

I mean, seriously, what was our maker thinking when he made them?  Hmm, let’s do armor, because the humans will have to whack ‘em multiple times before they squish ‘em. Oh, and feelers that wiggle, that’d be cool and disgusting. Let’s do an instantly recognizable silhouette that will look menacing blown up against a wall lit by a single lamp. They need to be super silent, like Ninjas—no, better than Ninjas… better than stealth bombers. They should have a built-in cloaking device they deploy until they are right in front of a human. Ohhh, think I’m gonna also make them immediately bolt when a human spots them. So yeah, I hereby bequeath thee, the land speed record and… hmm, what else would be terrifying…? Flight! Yup, flight it is

Did The Architect not understand the roll of a good supervillain? They need to have a flaw, damn-it!

Cockroaches have no flaw!

My fear of cockroaches has led me to study them. It’s Catch 22, the more I do, the more petrified of them I become. But in my extensive research, the only thing I have found that they are supposed to be terrified of is…

–DRUM ROLL PLEASE–

… citrus.

Citrus Fruit
Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, are a cockroach’s kryptonite, but does it makes them turn into quivering wrecks and runaway? Or, do they instantly combust when they come into contact with a bit of orange peel? Nope, they just don’t like the smell, and they walk around it. Seriously, that is not a flaw OR a weakness. That is a cop out!

Especially when roaches have ALL of these strengths:

  • They leave tracks of bacteria
  • can live a week WITHOUT a head
  • are nocturnal and run away from light
  • can live 3 months with no food and a month with no water
  • leave chemical trails in their feces that other cockroaches follow so they can find each other and create a swarm
  • There are 5,000 species
  • like to feed on human and pet food
  • play dead. Seriously. For up to forty minutes, they hold their breath and play dead, then flip off their backs and scurry away when the coast is clear.
  • can withstand radiation and could survive humans in a nuclear blast!
  • can survive underwater. THEY DON’T DROWN, PEOPLE!
  • Female American roaches live up to 700 days and every time they lay an egg case, they have 14-36 eggs in them, and on average they lay 18 egg cases in their life time.

So, where the hell is the cockroach’s weakness or flaw?  There should be one. Superman has his Kryptonite, Achilles his heel. God, you made your villain too powerful, this is not how it was meant to be. Jeepers, is it any wonder why I am scared out of my wits by these abhorrent creatures? I’m British I have a stiff upper lip—except where cockroaches are concerned.

I’m not easily scared

I don’t make a habit of having irrational fears. I can deal with spiders. It doesn’t matter how big they are, I’m able to stay in the same room as them and am even happy to watch them stroll across the ceiling or capture them in a glass and release them outside. Other stuff, too. For instance, snakes. Zero problem. I have three cats that think it’s fun to bring me a snake every few days and leave it to slither across the living room. No problem, I can quickly catch them and set them free.

Most critters in fact: lizards, squirrels, chipmunks, mice, birds. The cats have tested me out numerous times, bringing me live ones as presents, and each time I have no issues putting them back outside. But cockroaches… Ugh! Even as I type the word, my palms are growing sweaty, and I feel physically sick. This is a bit of problem when writing a blog that requires me to mention the damn word as often as possible in order to satisfy the SEO.

So, why am I confessing my Achilles heel? Because I am on the edge of a mental breakdown. This week, I have had three of these beasties turn up in my house, and I am going batsh*t crazy. I just can’t even fathom why this is happening. Firstly, my home is spotless. I am over-the-top tidy, and I clean as a hobby. Secondly, I am meticulous about putting foods in sealed containers and you can use my cooktop as a mirror. Thirdly, the trash is emptied daily, and I don’t have any clutter. Fourthly, I’m a minimalist, and everything has its place.  So why in heaven’s name have they chosen to move in!!!

Fear of Cockroaches
Actual footage of me from yesterday after I spotted no. 3.

For all the years that I have lived in America, I think I only saw a cockroach once—that was up until two years ago. But when I moved to North Carolina, I have seen seven. SEVEN IN TWO YEARS! In MY HOUSE! And three, of those seven, sightings have happened this week.

Katsaridaphobia is real, people!

My hubby thinks I am losing my mind. He might be right. I know it is irrational but I can’t control the fear, and I am literally one scurrying mahogany body away from moving out permanently. I may have to go and live in the Sahara, or the North Pole, or anywhere that can guarantee me no freaking cockroaches.

Tomorrow, the exterminators are coming, and I am praying they can seal up my house because I really need a good night’s sleep, and so long as there is a chance that there may be even one roach somewhere in my home, I am not going to get any sleep.

So, if any of you have any words of wisdom, or tried and tested ways of preventing these terrifying monsters entering your home, please, please, please pass them on, because my Katsaridaphobia is holding me hostage.

If you guys would like something to take your mind off my article, I have over thirty cockroach-free books to choose from, including some excellent author’s billboard box sets at just 99c. You can find them by clicking here.