Hidden Village

Hidden away on the shores of Lake Cootharaba on Noosa’a North Shore is a quaint little village called Boreen Point…

Having escaped from the shackles of work, if only for a day, I headed north to check out a little village on Lake Cootharaba, which forms part of the Noosa River System. As I had to pass close to Noosaville I decided to call in and pick up a coffee from my favourite coffee spot in Noosa, Old Salt Coffee.  Coffee here is always best standard and served by the very lovely, Rhian. Today was to be no different and I spent a few minutes chatting about how things were going.

Jetty 17 And Old Salt CoffeeOld Salt is tucked in at the end of Jetty 17 right on the river and you will find a brew every day until shortly after midday but never on a Wednesday.  That day is Rhian’s recovery day which she tells me is reserved for such serious things as sleeping in.

Boat HireBehind Old Salt is Jetty 17 Boat Hire where you can arrange to hire a pontoon boat or Kayak or even a Hydrobike.  New owners Matt and Bar are only too happy to help you enjoy your day on the river at Noosaville.  Easy to find just look for the Orange Shed with all the boats and kayaks outside.

You can check them out at https://www.facebook.com/Noosa-kayak-and-Boat-Hire-Jetty-17-106084929584613/…

Remember to treat yourself to a coffee from Rhian while you are there.

While I was there I grabbed a packet of Old Salt Blend beans for home use.

The river was busy today with the winter sun doing its best to pretend to be summer. It is a veritable playground both on the water and along the walkways on the edgeNoosa River Playground

Heading up through Tewantin, I was of a mind to call in at the Marina Markets but parking was impossible to find as these markets are very popular of a Sunday morning, so I decided to give them a miss today.

Just north of Tewantin the road turns off to Boreen Point. It carves a path through stands of native bush and runs alongside forestry plantations.  Here and there One catches a glimpse of a property hidden from the road by the bush.  One gets the impression that behind this facade of bushland is a thriving community and indeed there is much evidence of stables and horse fencing.

Beach Village StreetDriving into Boreen Point has the feeling of stepping back in time.  The road has no foot path and the houses are of an era more in keeping with holiday homes.  Down near the lake there are quite a few that have clearly been renovated and sport trendy corrugated iron cladding or large glass frontages.Beach House

The road takes you down to the beach front where it was club day for the local watch club.  By the number of craft pulled up on the beach or out on the lake, I would say that this is a strong club with an active membership.  I had to drive well passed the town centre to find a park but eventually managed a nice shaded spot. The road here was quite narrow and as there were no footpaths I shared it with passing cars as I headed back to the one store in town to get a feed.Boreen Pt Store

They were doing a great trade and I had to fill in fifteen minutes while I waited for my order.  I spent the time pleasantly watching the world go by, amazed at how busy it was. They had run out of bread and so I compromised my toasted sandwich with a toasted wrap. I believe I was all the better for it as the food was really good and I may just be asking for my Ham, Cheese and Tomato toasties to be made with flat bread in the future

Sail Boats On The ShoreWith time on my hand’s I wandered about the village and along the lake shore.  The lake itself is a really a bulge in the river about 10 kilometres long and five wide.  It is fairly shallow, with an average depth of only a couple of metres, if that.  Deep enough to sail boat and catch a fish.Pelican Jetty

This is a great little village to take a picnic lunch to and enjoy the drive in the country.  The old world charm of the village takes you back a pace and life seems very easy here.Boreen Pt Bay

As I returned down the coast I stopped in at the Coolum Beach Hotel to quench my thirst.  I had heard that Nadia Colbourn was entertaining and so I thought to catch her performance. She has a great voice and a relaxed style that is easy on the ears so I spent a while soaking up the atmosphere.  Feeling

Interlude programming
Setting up some sound for the interlude




Soon after I arrived, Nadia went to a break and I had a bit of a chat with her.  She is, as a person, just as she is as a singer, down to earth and easy to talk to.












IntrospectiveAfter the break she was joined by Justin who accompanied her on Guitar.  They have an easy way about them that helps one to relax and just enjoy the music. If you ever get the chance take some time to her Nadia at one of the many gigs she has around the coastBonny & Clyde

As always, time passes and soon enough it was time to head home to sort through the days photos and write the journal.  Noosa has some great little hide-a-ways that are worth exploring when you visit here.  There is a huge variety of entertainment, both day and night and of course there is alway the river systems to explore….. remember Jetty 17 when you are looking to play on the river


A week in Vietnam (Day One)

One of the best things about Asia is that it is so very close to… well… Asia.  On a recent trip to see family in the Philippines, I took the opportunity to fly to Vietnam , only a short two hour  hop from Manila.  This was a part visit with an old work colleague and an adventure for myself.

Although the streets are often crowded there are spaces in the city where one can find solitude

I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City in the middle of the night having left Manila at around 10:30 pm.  I had previously purchased a visa via the telephone while in Manila and now had to pick it up as I entered Vietnam at the airport.  There was a short queue by the time I arrived even though I had packed light and had no checked luggage. I settled in to wait my turn. Fortunately, it wasn’t too long a wait, but by the time I had cleared customs with my newly stamped and stickered passport, I was bone weary.

This proved to be a small disaster, as my friend Alex, had emailed me instructions on how to avoid being ripped off by the more scurrilous taxi drivers in the city.  I stumbled through to the waiting ranks and told a porter where I needed to be.  He didn’t understand too well so I gave up and got into the first decent looking cab I saw.

This is where it all started to unravel…  The price he gave me was about four times what Alex had told me was fair.  By the time this surfaced in my brain, we were well on the way to the city.  I decided to try and negotiate…..

My erstwhile fluent English speaking cabbie suddenly forgot every English sounding syllable he had ever learned and it was only when I pulled the international incident card that he relented and handed back the difference.

He dropped me at the end of an ally and I had to negotiate some rough looking diamonds who were loitering in the area.  After safely arriving at the hotel, a weary manager showed me to my room and I sank thankfully into my bed.

Bich Duyen
The first Hotel I stayed at in Saigon

The hotel was called the Bich Duyen and was comfortable and price friendly.  I realised that I would be needing a third night before I headed south to Vung Tau to visit Alex but was told they were fully booked.  They phoned a sister hotel and arranged a night for me there.  Same price, same conditions.

The first day I wandered the streets of Saigon’s District One looking at the touristy wonders and trying to avoid being ripped off by the many hawkers trying to make a living off the many tourists visiting the city.

I was looking for a shot of a world globe that sat atop a tower.  The sun was behind it and I was having difficulty in getting the settings to work.

Saigon's World
The sun appears to be rising in the north as it peaks from behind this mammoth globe in Saigon
Shoe Shiners
Always looking for a customer. The guy on the right became quite aggressive when I turned down his offer to shine my jandals

This guy (In the stripped shirt) was hanging about making me a bit nervous as to what were his intentions until he simply came up and began to shine the straps on my thongs.  “A” for persistence…  He simply would not take no for an answer.

Ben Thanh Markets
Goods are displayed from the floor to ceiling at the Ben Thanh Markets in the centre of District 1

Of course, one spends some time in the markets when on holiday, and one of the bigger ones in town was just down the street from the hotel. Ben Thanh Markets Cover an area the size of a large street block, and the walls were packed with goods of every shape and size.  Being a foreigner I was the target of every seller hoping to tempt me with their wares.

I did get a replica NorthFace backpack which became my go-to bag while I wandered the streets.  Cheap and perhaps nasty I didn’t have great expectations that it would last but it has served me well for quite some time and so became a pretty good investment

Ben Thanh Market 2
A quiet moment at the markets allowed this shot of one of the buildings that make u the maket complex

I visited the War Museum, locally known as the Museum of American Atrocities.  This was an interesting place but one where you need to keep an open mind and remember that it is only a shrine to history.  One could spend many hours here without seeing it all.

My Tour guide took this photo of me standing outside this cathedral. It's easy to see why he is a tour guide
My Tour guide took this photo of me standing outside this cathedral. It’s easy to see why he is a tour guide

I had been walking somewhat aimlessly for several hours and I began to tire.  I was approached by a guy on a motorcycle who offered to take me around the main tourist attractions.  This involved a trip through the middle of a very busy multi-laned roundabout.  The traffic ebbed and flowed around us and the ride was both exhilarating and frightening at the same time.

He took me to the cathedral called the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon where I reluctantly handed him my camera so that he could take a photo of me standing in front.  I was prepared tat any moment to have to run him down in case he made a dash away with my camera, but in the end, I had judged him too harshly as he cheerfully handed the camera back and pointed out some good photo spots near the old Central Post Office over the road.

The beautiful archetecture of Saigons Old Central Post Office is a popular attraction being right over the road from the cathedral
The beautiful architecture of Saigon’s Old Central Post Office is a popular attraction being right over the road from the cathedral
This guy took me across the main city highlights after my feet becam too weary to walk. I roda the central city roundabout on the back of this bike. A must do when in town
This guy took me across the main city highlights after my feet became too weary to walk. I rode the central city roundabout on the back of this bike. A must do when in town

He was obviously in the employ of a certain “massage” establishment as we seemed to drive past it on a fairly regular basis with him extolling the virtues of the ladies inside..

Eventually, darkness fell and he delivered me to my Hotel where he insisted on picking me up again next morning to take me to, even more, attractions across the city.

Take care when engaging street tour guides as there prices can be much in excess of Tour Operators such as this guy
Take care when engaging street tour guides as there prices can be much in excess of Tour Operators such as this guy

I took a leisurely shower before wandering back out on the street to check out the nightlife. Walking passed a shop selling tours, I asked about pricing.  I was to discover that I had paid way too much for my afternoon’s sightseeing and so resolved to be elsewhere in the morning when my companion was to meet me.  It seems that it is far better to buy tours from the streetside tour operators with shopfronts than those who cruise the streets

After a fast food meal in a place much like MacDonalds, I headed home for a night’s rest and plan my next day’s excursions.  Little was I to know that tomorrow would bring about events that would lead me to see Vietnam with totally different eyes (Cont…)