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Rosi & Jen's 11 Thousand Beach Odyssey Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do, then the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream...."

Trains, Boats and Automobiles

VIETNAM | Wednesday, 19 March 2008 | Views [1031]

Va the 70 year old h'mong woman we bought some jewellery off outside the Baguette & Chocolat in SaPa on our last day.  She was so beautiful we couldn't resist.  She loved getting her photo taken and laughed her head off when I showed her the image.

Va the 70 year old h'mong woman we bought some jewellery off outside the Baguette & Chocolat in SaPa on our last day. She was so beautiful we couldn't resist. She loved getting her photo taken and laughed her head off when I showed her the image.

After seeing the daggy photo’s of me that Rosi has been putting on this site I thought it was about time that I

1.   Started writing some observations and

2.   Check what photo’s of my rough head Rosi is putting the gallery

Travelling in Asia is all about having a sense of awe plus a very good sense of humour, throw in a large dose of patience and understanding, then you may just be able to do it with minimum stress. 

They are an incredible race of people, they are survivors.  Always friendly, even when they are getting emotional when haggling over a price.  Once you laugh and say, “do I really look that stupid?” they laugh and the game starts again.  Yes they can be in your face at times, but if you put it all in perspective, you can see that they are just trying to earn a living.

Oh My God, I’m Going to DIE!!!!!!

As Rosi has mentioned we went to Halong Bay recently, it was beautiful.  The drive there was safe because Mr Ho was driving, apparently he used to drive tanks, impressive hey!  I will set the scene for the return journey that Mr Ho was not available for.

A beautiful boat cruise to Halong Bay, featuring amazing cliffs and rock formations that are truly awe inspiring.  Then one night on a boat gently cruising through the Bay, one night on an island staying in a bamboo beach hut, needless to say it was so relaxing.  Once we were off the boat and into the mini bus to head back to Hanoi, that all changed.  The bus on the way back was driven at high speed and into ongoing traffic.  There was no real right or wrong side of the road, there was a line down the middle of it but, the mood of the driver determined which side to drive.  The horn was used frequently to move the ongoing traffic out of the way, but I’m sure I saw sparks as trucks narrowly missed us.  I witnessed the aftermath of two accidents, one involved a car, truck and a motorbike.  The car was in two pieces and the bike had only a wheel left and a flattened frame, it was not pretty.  This is the exact point that our guide Tien informed us that 36 people a day die on roads in Vietnam…can’t say that I’m surprised, but that was not the time to tell me….Oh my god we are going to die!!!!

Thankfully we arrived safely in Hanoi, if not a little shaken, I thought to myself  “at least the train will be safe and comfy as we booked the ‘king deluxe cabin sleeper cabin’.  How wrong I was. Once we arrived at the station we realized that the person handing out the tickets determine what is meant by ‘king deluxe cabin’ and may I add that sleeper is a loosely used term to describe the purpose of the cabin.  Stephan, (the German traveler that we befriended and his girlfriend Annabelle, two beautiful people) tried to point out to the guard the difference between our sleeper and the picture, it didn’t work.  We were stuck in a little box with wafer thin mattresses on bunk beds.  For no extra cost we received four bottles of water, four extra strong refresher tissues and a stick of food, well I think that’s what it was.  But wait that’s not all, as Annabelle found out, we also received left over hair and sweat marks from the previous occupant, nice!  So the term sleeper was an oxymoron, so no sleep for us.  We arrived at 5am, very tired, confused and cranky.  Managed to find a bus at the station that took us to the hotel and we passed out for about 12 hours.  I think back on this and laugh, and we were laughing the whole time we were experiencing it.  Almost everyone that was on that train looked as tired and over it as we did.

Things that make me smile

·         The term “hello you buy from me?” if you buy from them it can possibly cause a rugby scrum of about 20 people that also want “you buy from me?”  The other side of this is that sometimes you can have a very interesting chat with one of the locals about life in general.

·         You can sit in a bar and admire a xmas tree with lights flashing on and off in a festive manner

·         Electricity wiring, it can be extremely creative. It can also spark or make explosion sounds randomly.

·         Internet cafes that have a flickering screen which could possibly cause an epileptic fit, but once it warms up its ok.  There is the added bonus of the cutest little baby wandering around.  There is something wonderful about sitting at a computer concentrating only to be distracted by a tiny toddler resting their hand on you and smiling, while munching on a bread roll they are waving around in the other hand.

·         Hot showers that are both hot and cold at separate times, if only they would mix!

·         Power points with no on or off switch, assume that these are on at all times.

·         Shower curtains are a luxury item.

·         All the children are loved

·         Everyone makes space even when there isn’t any

·         When you are haggling for a motorbike taxi and they give you a highly inflated price, once you say I’m not that stupid, everybody laughs and the games start again.

·         Anything can be carried on a bike, I’m sure they could dismantle a car and carry it.




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