Back home in warm sunny England!!! Wow, what a shock that was! - Will explain all in a bit.
So what happened in the remainder of Vietnam then? Last blog was in Hoi An just leaving for the night bus to Nha Trang in the hope of fixing the tan lines! The night bus was another lovely experience with the usual collecton of tourists in the beds and the locals on mats on the floor!
Nha Trang was quite prety but not really alot to show for itself other than a beach and a buddah on a hill. Jonathan spent 2 days getting his diving qualification sorted and was rather pleased with himself for that. Me and Aine went for a walk up to the edge of the town to see the pagoda and a big buddah on a hill. both were rather prety, the buddah was at the top of rather alot of steps and was very big but i think we have both seen enough buddahs, pagodas and temples to last for a long time!
The beach was quite prety from a distance but once you were close enought to see it properly ther was rubish in the sand, ciggarette buts and plastic etc, and the sea was littered with plastic bottles, plastic bags, polysterinine food boxes, even a chair!?! We spent a day on the beach in a vague hope to ignore the rubbish but all the men kept staring at us which was rather offputting to say the least. then, just as i was considdering a quick dip in the sea, we spotted a man pissing in the sea. Not in the sea, Just standing at the waters edge, aiming at the waves and simply pissing in the sea! Not very nice and kinda put us both off so we spent alot of time on the hotel roof top terrace having a cheap stare free sunbathing session. Jonathan had a spot of food poisoning after a rather tasty but highly suspect piece of chicken! So, all-in-all Nha trang was verry verry chilled out to the point where we achieved very little except to top up our tans! Was very nice and relaxing tho!
After Nha Trang we got another night sleeper bus to Saigon ( Ho Chi Minh City) . we were able to check straight into our very nice (and slightly more expensive) hotel, had a quick round of showers and then off out to the town to go on our tour of the Cu Chi tunnels. This is where all the VC (Vietnam army) based themselves in Saigon and in an attempt to out do the Americans they dug a masive system of tunnels and the majority of the camp was below ground level. The place was prety impresive and we got to climb through some of the tunnels. they were a little scary and rather chlostrophobic. I was crawling round on my hands and knees and it was pitch black. the tunnels are so tiny and scary I was glad it was supposd to be entertaining and that I wasn't running for my life in a war. The tunnels have been widened and made safe for the tourists but they used to be even smaller and more of a maze. Jonathan got to play with an AK47 and fire a magazine round of rather loud and noisy bullets. I can honestly say I think this was the best bit of the holiday for him and that it will take an awfull lot to beat the experience. He bounced around like a giant toddler with the biggest grin I have ever seen and such a wonderfull childish glint in his eyes! The giggles and shouts of 'Oi, Pikey" followed by a reign of bullets, could be heard all eve as he watched the video of himself over and over again!
The next day we were all up early for an adventure experience to the Mekong Delta. We had decided not to get a group tour and to create our own tour that didn't involve hours sitting on a tour bus full of tourists. We got a taxi to the bus station where we then had to learn vietnamese rather quickly and figure out which bus we needed. we got a bus to the other bus station and then got a mini bus to Ben Tre. the mini bus was the same size that would normally take 6 people but they make all the sats smaller for the Asian people so they seat almost 20 people! We all found it a bit of a squash but a much more fun experience to be with all the locals. Ben Tre was so quiet it was a bit of a shock after the chaos of Saigon. Not another tourist in sight we had a wander about, hired some bikes and set off to the vietnamese countryside. The adventure was cut short slightly within 10 feet of the bike hire place when the pedals fell off my bike and I had to push it back and get another one! We all had a good giggle and all the locals pointed and laughed! So with another bike, slightly less broken, we tried again. we got down the road and half way over the bridge before Aine had a slight mishap on the bridge and ended up another giggling mess on the floor wrapped up in her bike. She did get a nasty cut on her hand and then the rain decided to get much worse! We sheltered under a shop brolly and patched Aine up while we waited for the rain to stop. As the rain eased we all felt a bit beter about the idea and slowly and carefully we peddled our uncomfortable broken bikes with no working brakes along the side of the river and calmly watched the world go by. we passed all the coconut and banana trees and small workshops where they collect all the coconuts. We waved at all the locals and took a few photos. then we stopped at a small shop for a drink and although we spoke no Vietnaese, except to say hello, and chicken ( not especially usefull!) and the only english anyone else could say was hello and thankyou But we had the most lovely afternoon drinking green tea and eating sugar with the locals. we had a reallly fun conversation about something to do with Jonathan, the fact he didn't like the tea, something about us falling off our bikes and our bad pronunciation of their language! Not really sure what we were all talking about but we all had a really fun afternoon not having a clue!!! we then left the lovely people to get on with their lives in peace and pottered off back along the river waving at all the children and shouting hello at everyone! It was like being a celebrity, all the children would shout and wave and run after the bikes.
the next day we decided to move to Vinh Long so after another early morning we took back the bikes and got another random bus off to the next part of the adventure. It was all a little easier than I expected, we turned up at the station, they spotted the 3 white tourists from half a mile and waved at us, they seemed to know exactly where we wanted to go and so without too much hastle, they took us straight there. We had to all get 3 moped taxi's to the own centre and we kinda had a bit of a race betweenthe 3 of us. We arrived slightly windswept but all in one piece and checked into the biggest and best room of the hotel, sitll much cheaper than we were used to. the room was amazing and kept Jonathan happy with the porn star poster on the wall! We booked ourselves a fun tour for the next day and then we spent the rest of the day wandering about, buying random cakes and checking out the local markets, all really good fun and well worth the effort. We set off out for dinner at about 7.30, Big mistake! as thare are no tourists the whole place shuts down at about 8pm. Everywhere was closed except one place which spoke very little english so we woke them all up, had someone go out to get some shopping and surprisingly enough after a few dodgy impressions of animals and a bit of guess work, the most amazing banquet for 3 was ceated! we all stuffed ourselves silly and were totally amazed at the quality of the food. a fantastic result.
The last day in the Mekong was also a real result. for the grand total of $10 each we got a boat and a guide all to our selves. we went to the floating market, it was wholesale stock so was just lots of big boats a and a little less impressive than we had expected but still quite cool to see. then we went to the coconut candy and popcorn workshops which were great. we got free tasters of everything and jasmine tea then the chance to buy lots of overpriced sweets and nick-nacks! We went to an aincient house and a bonsai garden, then had a row boat take us to the restraunt for lunch (which was lovely) and meandered back throught the canals and winding rivers back to Vinh Long to get a bus which took us all the way to Saigon. Perfect timing as it prety much stared to bucket it down just as we got onto the bus. we all dozed for the 3hr journeyand were glad to get back to the hotel.
The last eve was spent having a mass sort out of all the bags and presents we found in an attempt to get everything onto the olane with out too much hastle. we did some throwing out, some squashing and a air amount of sharing nd finally everything that needed to go home was packed and ready to go.
We didn't sleep especially well, Aine had sore feet again after all the new bug bites and Ihad a rather anoying tummy ache that kept me awake. The morning was a lazy one where we found another market, spent the last of the money we had and basically just waited for Jonahan to return from a museum before we could head for the airport.
The flight to Singapore was rather uneventfull and everything went according to plan. The 5 hrs in Singapore went surprisingly quicker than expected. after a spot of duty free spending and a look at allt he things we can't aford we bought a book each, found a quiet spot, and read most of them. The flight home was 11hrs of boredom and films! Kung fu Panda is great, spiderwick cronicles is amusing at 3am, Iron man is well worth seeing, and the other 4 films were great too just don't ask me what they were! We didn't really sleep at all, we had a good wander about the plane, watched the thundr and lightening out the window at 4am and were glad to be able to tell the tale when we got out the other side! Eventually we arrived on time at heathrow and fnally got to see our parents again! Ther were all waiting for us at the gate and we walked through with our Vietnam conical woven hats on and everyone lughed instead oc crying so the whole thing was emotional but happy! We were all glad to be home safe and the parents were just extatic that everything had all gone well for the 5 months and we were still in one piece.
Aine arived home safe and has been dosed up with antibiotics and things to fix her and she is feeling (and looking) much better.
Jonathan was delivered to the doorstep in one piece and had his mum and sister round for dinner.
I arrived to mine to find my nana, my cousin and my auntie hiding in the kitchen to surprise me and a bit of an early morning party to celebrate! just a shame it was 8am and everyone was all shattered!
All in all we have had a fantastic adventure and are glad to be home even though the weather is not quite up to standards, but then we can't expect miracles! Think our parents are even happier that we are home relatively in one piece and that everything went prety much according to plan.
Lots of love to all of you, hope to see you all soon. You will have to watch this space for the next adventure and hope that it is even more fun than this one!