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Mark's World Tour 2007-08

Day 151: Back to the madness of Saigon

VIETNAM | Friday, 4 April 2008 | Views [905]

View from our room, Mui Ne

View from our room, Mui Ne

Friday 4th April

We were due to check out of the hotel at 11.30, and our bus back to HCMC was due to leave at 13.30, so we spent a few more hours on the beach, had a swim and tried to work on the all-important tan (I have to admit that I was as keen on lazing in the sun as Maria, despite the fact that she was the one going back to England with a 'winter tan'). It's a very nice spot and worth going back to if the opportunity arose. We had a quick lunch, got on the bus and set off at 14.00.

The journey was once again fine, but it seemed a lot longer than the five and a half hours it took us to get back to Saigon. One of the main problems with the 'open tour' buses seems to be the fact that they stop at designated areas for other people to make money out of, regardless of whether the passengers really need anything. After half an hour, we stopped for a thirty minute break. After moving on down the road for another bit, we were told at 16.00 that we were going to 'stop for lunch'! It really was unnecessary, and it meant that we ended up in the thick of the rush hour traffic in and around HCMC.

We eventually got off the bus on De Tham Street, the main tourist/traveller spot in Saigon. We were glad we had made a reservation at 'Miss Loi's Guesthouse' as it made it less hassle trying to look for somewhere to stay. It was nice to feel we had a room waiting for us in a comfortable place. However, once we entered the foyer of Miss Loi's, the receptionist we had dealt with before told us there had been 'a problem': nobody had checked out that day, so there were no rooms available, let alone the one we had reserved! I had read on the internet that this had happened to other people in the past. but I didn't expect them to go back on our agreement given that we had stayed there just a few nights before and made the reservation in person. They obviously understood the concept of making a reservation, and it lead us to believe that they were only interested on ensuring that their rooms were full. The bastards!

They tried to find us somewhere else nearby but they also falied to sort that out, so we decided to look on our own. We checked out a few places but a lot of them were full. For some reason, we were followed by a skinny old woman, who scampered along in front of us, trying to help us out (we didn't know why she was doing this but I thought it was funny). We finally found a room for $10, which was cheap but also clean enough for us to stay in.

Maria and I were now very tired and annoyed at our treatment at Miss Loi's. We had dinner and went back to the hotel for the night. We had booked ourselves onto a tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels (used by the Viet Cong during the war) and had to be up early in the morning. When we got back to the hotel, Maria discovered little ants crawling over the bed. Despite the efforts of the manager to help get rid of them, we couldn't find where they were coming from. This convinced Maria that she wanted to stay in a decent hotel for her last night, and we discussed the merits of this before getting some sleep. Maria was quite wary of the ants, so she pit on her tracksuit bottoms and a jumper to give her peace of mind for the night ahead.


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