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THE world trip his journal is to let all those i know and care about (hello!) get a little bit more info about what im doing, and where. Also, its a gesture to calm my poor mums nerves whilst her first born child explores the big wide world. Hopefully it wont back fire

Goodbye Viet Nam. Its been a land of emotional extremes

VIETNAM | Saturday, 7 July 2007 | Views [897] | Comments [1]

Im beginning to think that all my entrys start in a very negetive way; despite appearences, i am having a brilliant time...........until disaster, in the form of the puesdo-communist state of vietnam struck......

It all started so well. We boarded a plane from Laos, which was actually very safe and hospitable, and it was novel to have a plane that was powered by propellers. Then we got to the airport, and the fun began. Who would have thought it would be so hard to change travellers cheques??( No i dont believe that all the machines in all of these 4 booths are broken- why are you so predudiced against the cheques????!!)Never mind, off we popped in a very nice taxi towards Ha Noi, the capital. I have never experienced roads like it here, and i havent gotten used to it in the time we have spent here. First, i saw a basket load of live dogs being transported on the back of a scooter. Then, a basket load of live pigs, being transported in much the same manner, then after a cacophony of beeping, just from our taxi driver ( thats the way the roads work here- no high way code, just beep if you want to get through), we were spat out into the high madness of the streets in the Old Quarter. After bolting for the nearest door, we found ourselves in a very opulent hotel; for the princely sum of 5 pounds a  night, we had a brilliant en suite room, breakfast, internet, and the best hotel staff ive ever come across. Quite the sanctuary from the craziness out side, and we had only been in the country 60 minutes!

The rest of our time here passed in much the same topsey turvey way; the hotel staff are always friendly and considerate, the people on the streets always hassle you and grab; the restaurants are super clean, and on the whole serve a brilliant variety of food, but the pavements outside are full of mopeds, so problems gaining access to the restaurant is the only thing that might make you go hungry; we went on a brilliant two day tour by boat of Ha Long bay, which is immense, but to get to our boat we had to risk life and limb by clambering over 5 other boats, which were all in dock too.

On the whole, its been an interesting expeience ( and i like to think, character building), and the first time ive experienced a ' Culture Shock'; the rode system is so bizarre, that whilst its dangerous to cross, its actually quite funny to see how no one ever does hit anything else. Hoi An is a fantastic city, that has been preserved in its 18th to 19th century state due to UNESCO protection, and you can also get a coat tailored there for about 16 pounds, but i could have given Hue, with its lack lustre streets a miss ( though seeing a genuine Vietnamese market in all its 'aromatic' glory, despite being at odds with what we do in the west, was worth it).

Some of the buses were great, and the conductors helped as best they could, whilst on others ( particulary those of an over night variety that enjoyed turning the lights on and off sporadically, whilst blasting the horn and driving down unsealed roads) getting man-handled was the best you could hope for.

The place of the biggest opposites was Nha Trang. There, we went for a day trip on a boat, which was captained by one of the best entertainers ever, Mr. "Funky Monkey". We had an absolutely brilliant day swimming, snorkelling off the reef and dancing along to the music made by his make shift band ( Drum kit that was made out of barrels- very cool!). It was just a masive shame that that night my friend Clare had to suffer getting mugged twice. We had been told that it was a bit of a rough place, so when Clare felt a little hand rummaging in her bag, she demanded her stuff back. She got it, but unfortunately as we were about to enter the hotel later on, she wasnt as lucky- a favourite trick about these parts is to drive past on a motorbike and grab your bag. Being aware of this, we both had our bags across our bodies. Unfortunally a bike still tried to take Clares- the bag didnt snap, and she was dragged along the ground until the bike let go. She is ok now, pretty grazed but nothing worse, but people heading into Viet Nam should be aware how oppurtunistic some of the people are here, and it really seems to be beneficial to either be a male, or to be around males.

However, all the above is just from personel experience, and i have met alot of people who have had no problems here at all, and have had the best time. It was just bad luck, it seems, for some of these things to have happened- like i said, Viet Nam is a country that seems to exist on consisting of extremes, and when it has been good here, it has been amazing. Perhaps its just time to head off into Cambodian, and take a deep calming breath, and get a new start!

Tags: Scams & Robberies



Hi Rebecca,
Not heard from you for a while i belive you ok saw Grandma on Monday and she appears to be better,
Are you ready for home soon.
Take care.
Love Aunty Carolyn.

  Aunty Carolyn Jul 31, 2007 8:36 PM

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