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Friday, 4 May 2012

I Feel Like Chicken Tonight

Been another hectic couple of days as the tour draws to an end :-(

After flying from Denang to Ho Chi Minh city on Thursday we got a bus to our hotel which is just on the outskirts of district 1 of HCMC.

Before dinner we went to the War Remnants museum were we saw original army artillery such as guns and bullets as well as helicopters and fighting boats. Inside the museum were also a lot of photos taken during the Vietnam war when the Americans were here. As horrific as the photos were it certainly was an eye-opening experience to see things from the Vietnamese side. I must admit, I was very naive to the sheet scale of this war. Some of the facts I read had quite an impact.

We went out for dinner to a restaurant called " Temple Bar". Having been told this was a grill style restaurant I was getting pretty excited at the thought of having a full meal...little did I know the experience of this restaurant included grilling live shrimp at our table. It was a great restaurant and the atmosphere was fantastic as we were on the roof, but honestly- I didn't enjoy the grilling of live fish. I know it's the culture here, and I can accept that they don't have the same respect for animals that the west does, but nevertheless I couldn't watch the shrimp burn to death and then be eaten. But still, it was a great night with the whole group going out apart from Udo and Sue who wanted a well deserved quiet night in.

The next day, so this would be...Friday, we took a bus to the Mekong Delta area near the Cambodia border. On route however we stopped at some war tunnels used by the locals during the Vietnam War with the USA. Here we witnessed the harsh, cramped living conditions people faced underground when attacks were in full force. It was another eye-opening experience. After boarding a small boat in the Mekong Delta we went to a coconut island, then got a horse and cart to a bee farm and then got on some rowing boats and casually cruised along the Mekong Delta (see picture!). That was lush and so relaxing. We then went to our homestay where the rooms were very basic and miniature wildlife such as cockroaches and geckos were quite apparent. After sleeping the night I learned that both Stacey and Nicola had rats in their rooms! Glad I knew this AFTER I slept! However in the morning I was offered to hold a python, so of course to build up my manly points I did...see picture!!

So today is Saturday...our penultimate day and last night tonight. Currently we're driving back to HCMC where I plan to eat like a king at 1 of the 3 KFCs I have already seen for lunch! Then tonight we are all going out to party and drink and dance!!

The tour ends tomorrow and myself, Sarah, Nicola, Ellie and Maria are all leaving for the airport together around 3pm as our flights are all similar times in the evening.

The last week or do has been incredibly hectic, but my god have I enjoyed it. I do wish I could have written more detail in blogs and replied to everyone's messages a bit quicker but as I'm sure everyone understands- I'm living in the moment. And don't worry- I have about 1200 photos for you ALL to see!!

So I'm going to leave you now while I go get ready to get my drink on in HCMC!!

Will most likely blog tomorrow in an emotional rant about how I don't want to leave to come home etc etc so this isn't goodbye...yet!!

Ciao ciao!


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Hey big spender...

Arrived in Hoi An all fine and safe. The hotel isn’t as great as the previous but I still have my own room so I can’t complain. Air conditioning may actually be saving my life right now – the temperature is averaging 36*C and the humidity is very high…all in all; a lot of sweat (nice, I know)!

We have a couple of days of free time in Hoi An which is lush as there is a lot to do in the city. This is the place to get clothes tailored so of course my account is taking a battering as the theme tune "hey big spender" plays as I walk down the street. I’ve had 2 pairs of shorts made, a shirt (had to press the ‘R’ key quite hard there to make sure I spelt the correct word!) and 2 pairs of shoes. I’ve also been pampered (Happy Birthday to me) with a facial and a MANicure…yes, manly!

Highlight of today though is renting a motorbike and driving to the beach. I’ve never ridden a motorbike before so where better to learn than in Vietnam where health and safety consists of “just be very careful”…easy :-/ I started off a bit nervous but after a couple of minutes I got the hang of it…basically you never stop and you beep a lot. I also learned that on-coming traffic is a usual occurrence here so if I wasn’t dehydrated enough from the sweat, the several moments where I wet myself certainly didn’t help at all either! So like I said – I drove to the beach…I didn’t stop…I couldn’t stop…they didn’t tell me where the break was! So I can report that the beach looks beautiful as I cruised past it at 40kmh (this doesn’t sound fast, but when your helmet is made of fabric; it certainly feels fast!) but we do plan to go as a group tomorrow (Wednesday) and do some sunbathing.

We actually have a swimming pool at this hotel so I did do some sunbathing earlier by there and I may even go for a swim tomorrow as well.

Hoi An as a place is very tourist orientated – everyone wants to sell you something but everyone is very polite so you don’t feel overly hassled. There’s plenty of places to buy some nice bracelets and other forms of jewelry so I may also need to invest in a third bag for everything I’m bringing back with me!

Currently in reception typing up this blog as the WIFI doesn’t reach my room all the time. The photo-count currently stands at around 500 on my phone and another 300 on my camera – makes for a nice evening’s entertainment when I get back :-D

The rest of my group are doing a cooking lesson at the moment…funnily enough learning to cook authentic, exotic, local food didn’t appeal to me so I skipped the class and chilled in the evening heat…having changed my t-shirt for the fourth time today! However not to fear – happy hour is still in place when they get back as well as the free karaoke…so a good night lays ahead!

I hear it’s very wet in the UK? I hope everyone is safe and sound and dry? Just a quick thank you again for everyone sending me messages. It’s really nice to hear from everyone and catch up on how you’re all doing! Please keep them coming. Replying is becoming more difficult now that I’m in a group but nevertheless, please keep them coming.

Going to sign off now. Need to work out how to post this without a mouse as it seems to have stopped working all of a sudden?!

Ciao each and all.

Muchos Love.