Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Good Morning Vietnam!

Yes, everytime we take a tour or a bus the tour guide will shout out "Good Morning Vietnam". Since we have been in this country we have been to Saigon, Hoi An & Hue. We only spent one evening in Saigon. Just enough to nearly be killed by the motos, as they drive even more crazily here than in the other two countries we have visted. And to go to a market, try some new fruit & see if what the Vietnamese offer is a lot different than what the Cambodian & Thai people have in their markets. Only a few new things to see. We also took a cyclo - a bicycle rickshaw. So now we have done the tuk tuk, bus, train, ferry, long tailed boat, cylco, moto, sleeper bus, truck with a bench in the back, taxi & most recently a dragon boat (not the kind they race with, just a covered boat for tourists).

 

We left Saigon for Hoi An the following day. And that was a 22 hour bus ride on a sleeper bus. Which sounds fun, but it is more odd. There are chairs on the bottom & a level up higher. You are seated with your legs stretched out in front of you & you can lay back the chair to about a 30 degree angle...for sleeping. However, they smoke while driving, they play music or movies as loud as they want, they yell at one another & pump the a/c. And it's nearly the height of a double decker bus & the roads in Vietnam are horrendous...so it's a bumpy wobbly ride. And the bus creaks & makes all sorts of noises as well, in the end, I didn't sleep more than 20 minutes. Crystal had better luck though. At one stop (which were at random and bizarre intervals I was alternately praying that I wouldn't wet my pants & feeling like I might die of hunger) we had to change busses & we met 2 Canadian ladies from Halifax. Janice & Alison. We had dinner with them & shot the sh*t. Then we piled back onto the bus for the final leg of the jouney. We ended up arriving at 7am or so & then we all went to the same hotel & ended up sharing a room with 4 beds. Made it cheaper & there were new stories to be heard. We discovered that Hoi An is basically a town of tailors & everywhere you go each shop wants to make you a whole new wardrobe. Nice! So we spent a bit of money. There were also people making shoes, the most gorgeous fresh food & herb market that we have seen yet & lots of really friendly people. We wandered around a bit like zombies wondering when it would be bed time lol. We went to the hotel & met up with the girls. We went down to the restaurant for Happy Hour - 1 hour of free drinks. We weere sharing our stories & getting to know one another and "Corner Gas" was mentioned. So another Canadian gal wandered over, she is from the island, her name is Paige. We talked about where she had been because she was travelling the opposite direction from us, and she invited us to dinner. So we went with her & her friends. 2 English gals & an Irish fella. We went to this place that one of the girls had heard about & it was so amazing! They just started bringing food out & then rolling it all up & showing us how to prep it & eat it & what to dip it in. It was the best freaking experience & the staff was uber friendly & loved the night. After that, very full - but stoked about the experience we had just had, we went to a pub & spent a few more hours chatting. Ended up arriving back at the hotel at around 2am, crawled into bed & had a lazy morning. Unfortunately the sleeping in wasn't so doable because there was a mini farm next to our window & a couple of roosters wake up at 5am & never shut up, and there were pigs rooting & it was just the best. LOL Crystal & I got roused at about 9am, had breakfast & sent our laundry to get cleaned up. Got some goodies & went to mellow for the morning. In the late afternoon we went to pick up our orders, ate some dinner & booked our tour for MySon for the following morning. Then we read until bed.

 

Went to MySon & saw the former temples & all the craters & destruction from the American bombs, it was still very cool though - it's in the middle of a veritable rain forest & it seems the forest is intent on taking it back. There is moss & plants growing all over the temples & they are starting to look more like they grew there than were made by man. It was alternately rainy & sunny. Apparently this while Vietnam leg of the trip is going to be rainy. Kinda crappy because there's not really time for things to dry before we move on & we didn't bring much in the way of warm clothing! LOL So we're dirty traveling scrubs wearing our clothes for several days in a row. On the way back from MySon we stopped in a little village & watched some local artisans doing some wood carving & pearl inlay work. We got back & went for a wander & had some dinner. Then we met up with the girls for cocktail hour & then they went out to dinner with some new friends & we went online for a bit & then to pack up our stuff & read until we hit the sack.

 

Took the bus to Hue, only about 5 hours. Found a room & moved our stuff in. We watched a movie on HBO & then we headed out for some dinner & to get some more cash. We booked a tour for the next morning & then went to bed. We did the city tour of Hue. So much to see here, but the things we wanted to see were all on this one tour. The Citadel & forbidden city (from when Vietnam was a monarchy), and the tombs of former Emperors, a pagoda that is quite famous, some village shops where we saw them making incense, and a dragon boat ride along the river. It was raining all day, but it was still pretty great stuff. Long day, decided to be abslutely mellow. Watching movies all night long, until 1:30am. And then slept in really late yesterday morning & didn't leave the room until dinner! Went to this bar that had been giving out flyers, Brown Eyes bar. Had burgers & then cocktails & then played Jenga with one of the staff & then pool with several of the staff & then we had a few more drinks...and people started arriving & we danced & we met an English bloke named Eddie & an Aussie bloke (from Sydney) named Jeff. Danced with a bunch of the staff, went online a couple times, had some more drinks, it was a really great night we left the bar at 4am. The staff was great & we made a lot of friends, but the only name we can remember is Lucky, he is the manager & a pool shark & a great dancer & a man of many talents, cool guy, and because he told everyone to call him Lucky, his name was pretty easy to remember. Got up this morning at around 10 & slowly got ready. Went to ask about a bus to Ninh Binh & got out of our room by noon & went to get some breakfast/lunch & some cash. Ate brekky, ran into Jeff again at his hostel, grabbed some snacks for the bus ride & I found a new book to read. We came back to the hotel & paid our bill & now we're killing time waiting for the 5pm bus to arrive and take us to our next destination! And yes...yes it is raining again/still. lol

 

I think that catches you up!