So, I'm back! And another apology to start - it seems there is some conflict between our iPod and the website as it will not allow me to update our video as said from previous blog, but I WILL find a way!
Mui Ne - Back to the beach, but this time our first real experience of it. Unfortunately it was too windy so we paid a posh hotel $10 to let us use their pool and sun loungers. It was GREAT!!! Other than Russians and a bad experience of a live seafood restaurant (bad food, bad service, unhappy Damo!) Mui Ne was good, but just relaxin.
Great, great, great! Elegant and rough together. Walked the boulevards lined with Chanel and Cartier, offered drugs for the first time, tho not the last, and not very discreetly. Don't worry folks, alcohol is all we do.
Toured the reunification Palace, had lunch with the Saigon yuppies, went to the War museum. Very one-sided account as you would expect, but harrowing all the same. Did the Cu Chi tunnels where most of the worst fighting took place. Went down the tunnels that, for us, weren't too cramped funnily enough! Heat was tough tho. Budget did not stretch to shooting an AK47, I wanted Helado instead. (Thats Ice Cream in my new-found fluency in the Spanish language since Maddy left!) Went to see Cao Tho temple and watched their ceremony. Some Catholics think mass on a Sunday is a chore - try one hour plus ceremony, at 6am, Noon, 6pm AND Midnight, EVERY DAY! AAANNDDD you have to squat with your legs folded the whole time!!! Nails.
Had KFC. Not nice.
A priority of Kim's. Sailed thru the river network visiting honey and rice making places as well as a floating market. Not as busy as we expected. Did a homestay which was excellent. We ate with a local family (see pic of our route there - down river under a motorway bridge!).
It was nice to get back to traveller mode and being in the swing of Asia we abandoned the tour to take a local bus to the coast. Our Veitnamese is not as strong as our Spanish (probably 'cause Maddy left) but after some pointing at the guidebook and a large helping of Southern Friendliness we were the only two white faces packed into the back row of a 16-seater. Tho our bags took two seats we werent charged!
There's us, white as the day we left. The kids stared an innocent 'What are you and where did you come from!?!' The adults were thinking exactly the same but were too polite to stare! Arriving at our destination, well, 7km out ain't bad! and we were swarmed by motorbike taxis plying their trade. More helpfulness from the locals and we got a proper taxi to a 'rustic' town. By the time we washed everything had closed, so bread rolls from the streat were all we could get -hot hot hot! Got caught up on the days' F1 (whats happenning to Ferrari!?! - Shut it Craig and Lesley!) and stayed up just long enough to get bored of Rory McIlroys implosion in the Masters.
Early rise for the boat to this amazing island (where the cover pic was taken from outside our beach bungalow!). Prestine beach, great fish (Kim is amazed at the new husband she is bringing home!), amazing sun sets and hammocks! The probelms came, as usual, from transit opportunities.
Firstly, I tried to do as the locals in Asia do - ride a motorbike/moped in the West. I got maybe 150m up the road, and thankfully round a bend where the oner could not see me attempting a turn. I ended up face-down on the road, pulled off a rather impressive roll on my back and a nice jump up to finish off. Kim seen enough to laugh first and be concerned second. With minor scratches on the bike and no harm to me, I decided having Kim as precious cargo was a risk too far, so I returned the bike and got my money back. The owner laughed at me. And rightly so. A sure sham of a Westerner just being too daft. (My bike riding gets better in later countries, tho the consequences get more severe).
Nexty prob was our boat home. They 'overbooked' the speed boat so we were relegated to the local slow boat. It did give Kim a last chance to complete a very important task - buy a magnet from Veitnam to complement her collection. To question if it was a Sunseeker is laughable, more apt would be was it sea worthy? Other than that it was slow, cramped, and very exciting! Well, at least for the first 30mins. Seeing how its really done is great, but also makes you glad of the fussy paperwork, health and safety and 'cleanliness' of home. Having feet stuck all round you while squeezed on a wooden bench gives a whole new meaning to 'cattle class', but it was actually grand in retrospect. At least we were in the shade after I got burnt on the beach.
Confusion with passports (the co insisted on taking them to border control for us???) and the travel woes were over, for Veitnam. We passed into Cambodia for a whole new chapter in the Saga!