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Bun and Boots

Chuc Mung Nam Moi, Happy New Year!

VIETNAM | Sunday, 21 February 2010 | Views [655]

Good Morning Vietnam! 

Sorry it has been WAY too long since our last post, but we have many good excuses for not writing sooner... primarily that we have been having too much fun to sit ourselves down at a computer and reflect.  Here is a quick taste from Vietnam:

Since we last left you, we traveled from Vientiane, Laos into Hanoi, Vietnam in the north.  We immediately experienced culture shock with more motorbikes than the eye can handle and even more interesting things on the back of these motorbikes: such as 5 people, 4 chickens, 2 pigs, a small farm, and a partridge in a pear tree (for reals, people actually carry trees).  Laos had 6 million people in the whole country and Vietnam has 86 million, so we were beyond overwhelmed with Hanoi when we first arrived.  We immediately booked a 3 day trip out to the marvelous Halong Bay for more tranquility.

Bright and early the following day, we boarded a minibus and met our 2 new best friends, a lovely couple named Lee and Renee, from Australia.  It was love at almost first sight with them and we chatted the whole ride out there until Megan and Sara got car sick and had to relocate to the front of the bus--WE ARE SO COOL!  We boarded our Junk (large boat) and set sail into the bay amidst the jutting limestone islands (2,000 of them) of Halong Bay.  This is a world UNESCO site and quite magnificant, but extremely touristy as well.  We toured "Surprise Cave" which was huge and thankfully no crawling was needed unlike our cave experience in Laos.  Our tour guide, Lucky, was very good at showing us rock formations that resembled animals and even more that resembled the male genital area.  Interesting.  In fact, there were so many suggestive formations in the rocks that we wanted to take Lucky's laser pointer away from him (come on, there were children around).  After that, we kayaked around the bay.  There was a Russian guy with our tour group who though he was an Olympic kayaker and was trying to race us to every single island.  He also wore a speedo and truly should not have.  America defeated Russia in the end by out-karaoking him that night on our Junk. Bunny sang "Ice Ice Baby", while Boots channeled Alanis.  Lee and Renee also had some amazing talent on the mic and it was good clean fun had by all.  There were many other characters with us on the Junk as well, but we will have to explain them in more detail later for sake of eye strain. ;)

The following day was the most physically challenging day we have had so far.  HANDS DOWN.  It did not help that we had 4 hours of sleep and a few beverages the night before.  We got off our Junk at Cat Ba Island and sadly said goodbye to Lee and Renee and made our way to the highest peak on the island.  Little did we know that tennis shoes and being a stunt double were requirements because this was no ordinary hike.  We soon realized we were in over our heads half way up and it was too late to turn back.  We ditched our flip flops and scaled the mountain and rocks on our hands and feet through mud, rocks, rusty ladders, and plenty of blood, sweat and tears.  Fortunately we made several male friends who were stunt doubles and guided us safely off the mountain one sloppy step at a time.  By the time we reached the bottom again, there was not a spot of flesh on either of our bodies without mud on it.  Sara spent the remainder of the day clinging to Bunny saying over and over "I can't believe we are alive right now."  After this hike, 1 pulled groin (Boots) and 2 showers, we visited Monkey Island and saw some VERY cheeky monkeys, but skipped out on the hike on that island. 

We went back to Hanoi the following day and saw a Water Puppet show which is a huge part of Northern Vietnam's culture.  We are very glad we saw it, but a one time showing is enough. 

We then traveled down to central Vietnam to the LOVELY city of Hoi An (our fave!).  The city's Old Quarter dates back to the 15th or 16th century and it is was so charming we spent way more time than we expected there.  This is the city with over 200 custom tailor shops where you can walk in and have anything you want made or recreated.  We did some major damage in this city and our newly purchased suitcase is proof.  We met up with our Aussie soulmates Lee and Renee again and enjoyed late night bike rides all over town and all-day lounging at the beach.  We also met two lovely Kiwis at the beach, Clare and Nat, who have been living in Saigon for the past 3 months and they were nice enough to travel with us to Saigon and show us the ropes around the city for a few days. 

We arrived in Saigon (aka Ho Chi Minh City) for NYE and watched a spectacular fireworks show over the river with thousands of excited and cheerful Vietnamese.

The following day was extremely powerful for both of us.  First we accompanied Clare to the orphanage she has been working at for 3 months with over 600 mentally and physically challenged orphans.  We felt very fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet so many of these orphans and both of us made special connections with several of them--human touch is something they rarely have the opportunity to experience, so we tried our best to feed, play with, and make human contact with as many of them as possible while we were there.  THANK YOU, CLARE!!!

We then made a bee-line for the War Remnants Museum before it closed which was equally as emotionally exhausting and extremely powerful... beyond words, really.  The following morning we got up and visited the Cu Chi tunnels, which is an underground town built by Vietnamese Guerrila fighters during the War.  We crawled through the underground tunnels for as long as we could before we couldn't take how small and dark they were anymore and went up to ground level for air.  FEAR FACTOR 2010!!!

Saigon was an extremely powerful place for us in many ways and we will never forget what we saw and experienced here.   

Next up... off to Cambodia: the land of Angkor Wat, the sensational location for the movie Tomb Raider, and birth place of Angelina's first child--MADDOX, HERE WE COME!

Dat Biet for now...

Bunny & Boots



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