Well we arrived in Saigon safely as most of you know. It is monsoon season here in Vietnam so there is at least one downpour a day if not also thunder and lightening, but its good fun anyway, just makes the experience here feel alot like home really! The journey from the airport to our hostel was the scariest yet and we saw pleanty of bike accidents on the way, we both had our feet on the imaginery brakes but obviously that didnt seem to stop the car scraping along the side of another car or bike! Anyway despite all of that we love it here, we quickly found a bar, had a good steak and lots of beer, so there is definately no complaints! Our hostel is more like a hotel and is luxury compared to Hong Kong!
Our first proper day in Vietnam we visited a market as we had heard it was good for picking up a bargain or too and considering i (sam) have broken 2 out of the 3 paors of trousers i have taken with me i was in desperate need of some clothes! Well the market was jam packed and indoor without air con so very hot! If you dared to look at an item for longer than a second it was in a bag and they had your wallet, so needless to say it was an experience we didnt enjoy too much! The people here are touch and go, they are really nice and helpful but you really dont want to get on the wrong side of them! Anyway the day after that we took a trip to the Mekong Delta (its the 4th longest river in the world, apparently). Our tour guide was great and spoke English very well, although at times you did want to tell him to stop talking! We took and bus and then went by motor boat past the floating markets, which were great. You can tell what each boat sells as it has a bamboo post in the air with an example of what they sell, i.e sweet potatoes! It was a real local thing and fantastic to see the Vietnamese going about their normal life rather than in the more touristy parts. After the floating markets we took a short trip to where the locals worked making coconut candy and rice paper to earn a living. The process in which they use to make these things was amazing, they utilise each and every part of the rice fields and each part of the cocnut tree, what cant be used for eating is used for fuel. Having tried some examples of their produce we quickly snapped up soem toasted rice sheets and some chocolate coconut candy, and its really yummy. (we would post some to you all but they said it didnt last long as there were no additives in it, so we ate it all! lol!). After this we went for lunch and the tour guide had already tole us we were having elephant ear fish, so me and adam were a bit dubious, but it tasted really good, wrapped in rice paper with cucmber and mint leaves it was the best foreign food we have has since being here (although when you swallow a bone like i did it kinds puts you off lol!) for pudding we had some fruit ive never seen before and drank coconut milk out of actual coconuts! so cool!
Anyway moving on to the next day, we booked another tour but this time it was only half a day and it took you round the Cu Chi Tunnels, which were made during the Vietnam war by the Vietnamese. This day was really interesting because we didnt know that much about the vietnam war and this explained pretty much all of it for us. We got to see the artillary used and went in the tunnels the Vietnamese had dug, which were really small so no big bums dared go in! hehe! Me and adam fitted just fine though! Our tour guide for this was more than a little crazy, he is half Vietnamese and half American and during the war he fought for the Americans but is incredibly patriotic towards Vietnam (yes we were confused too). He gave a very biased view (as expected) of the war and at points refused to talk to us as he didnt want to bring up old emotions, however he gave us more than enough stories to listen too (they aren't half as good as Adam's Grandads stories) and he also told us that if we thought he was boring then we were arogant!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After seeing this we decided to take a visit to the war museum the next day, which was the most shocking display of images and artifacts i have ever seen. The museum portrayed a story book of images taken at the time mostly of those that were dying or already dead, as you moved on from building to building getting further on in the war the images and artifacts displayed got worse. The last building was dedicated to something called agent orange. Agent orange is a term for when the Americans put chemicals over the majority of Vietnam. This caused peoples skin to burn off, caused serious defects at birth and caused many diseases such as cancer. Agent orange went on for many years as it became genetic, the most graphic thing we viewed was a babies head in a jar no bigger than a milk bottle where the baby had no upper lip or nose, in the jar next to it were 2 babies that were siamese twins joined at the pelvis so neither has legs, just bodies, head and arms. Needless to say we stopped taking pictures at this point, i was unsure weather to cry or be sick. We realise the Vietnamese gave a solid biased view on the war but this was brutal and like nothing you would ever see in England.
Moving on to a happier note we left Saigon today and have booked ourselves an open bus ticket which takes up virtually up the coast and to the north of Vietnam, we can stop in each place as long as we like which is great! We arein Mui Ne at the moment and our hostel is a holiday bungalow which is 10 seconds from the beach, although as usual it is raining, but me being a water girl i went straight in the see, adam kept to sandier grounds! Tomorrow we are doing a jeep tour where the jeep will take us (and 2others we have met) to white sand dunes, the fairy stream, the red canyon and a fishing village. hopefully whilst at the sand dunes we should be able to do some sand sledging, so thats gona be great!
Anyway we have babled on for long enough now, we hope we have kept you as entertained as ever!
Love and miss you all
Adam and sam