Part 1 - Day 75-76 in the world of Sam and Dani: To get into Vietnam we had to get two buses, the first from Sihanoukaville to Phnom Penh and the second from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh. The first bus was excruciatingly hot, and was made even more uncomfortable by the material the pyjamas were made out of. Luckily, once we changed we had a nice bus and because it wasn't full we were able to have double seats, result! We arrived at the border around 7pm in the evening when it was raining and had to get off with all are luggage so that it could be security checked, brilliant =s Eventually we arrived in the city at 10.30pm, but then had to traipse around trying to find accommodation which ended up with us going to one of the first places that wasn't too nice. We got changed and went out for some tea (well more like supper) before heading back to the hotel ready to do the Cu Chi tunnels the following day.
The Cu Chi tunnels are just outside Ho Chi Minh and are a giant network of underground tunnels which were used during the war for living, hiding spots, hospitals, food and weapon storage. They have been preserved by the Vietnam government and visitors are able to crawl inside the tunnel system to see what it was like to live in those conditions. Although many areas have been expanded so people can fit it, many parts are just too small for people to access. As we were in the minibus on the way out it started to rain which meant that the conditions for looking in the tunnels weren't good, so we're going to try them again on the way back down.
Driving back from the tunnels there was still torrential rain and we drove through areas that were being flooded. The minibus driver had to get out and put some sort of pipe on the engine because the puddles we were driving through were so deep! As we drove we saw houses that had water pouring into them and locals just sat around helpless. This was only after a couple of hours of rain so we cant imagine what it was like a few days before when the typhoon hit and people had to be evacuated.
In the morning before we went to the tunnels, we all met up for breakfast to decide on the plan for Vietnam (yes we are poets). Because of being held up in Cambodia the other seven we were travelling with had very little time left before they flew out so would have to work their way upwards very quickly. The main thing they wanted to do was Halong Bay so we decided that because we had more time that we would travel up with them, then after they fly out we will work our way back down doing the things we've missed. So that evening we got on the first of three overnight buses that we would be doing in five days..hmmm!
Unlike the overnight bus we got in Laos which had booths with double beds, these buses had single beds on two levels. At first everyone was really excited, especially Shaun and Critch who were relieved they didn't have to share, unfortunately this excitement was short lived. The lights went off after about 30 minutes and the bumpy ride began! After asking, we were allowed our individual reading lights on but the driver kept changing his mind every hour or so turning them off again until we asked. The roads were unbelievably bumpy causing us to hang on for life and we soon realised the beds we were so excited about at the beginning we far too narrow and short, the poor boys could hardly fit! It stopped off during the night at 'service stations' and each time it did all the lights went on making it impossible for anyone to sleep through.
Part 2- Day 103-105 in the world of Sam and Dani: Thank God that was our last overnight bus, well for Asia atleast! We arrived in Ho Chi Minh at 5.30am and began our search for somewhere to stay. Most places were closed so we had to ring bells and bang on doors to get people up. After looking for awhile we eventually found somewhere but our rooms wouldnt be ready until 8am, great! Anyways as we sat waiting we were trying to work out what to do in our limited time, we were flying to Kuala Lumpur in a couple of days and the boys were off to Cambodia, so we decided as we were already up we'd do the Cu Chi Tunnels.
We left on the 8.30am trip which meant very quick showers (we are getting very good at getting ready quickly!) then off on a bus full of tourists. When we arrived we watched the extremely bad film again then went to see the tunnels. Our tour guide had been in the war and in prison so was able to tell us really interesting stories, although we couldnt help but think he was a little crazy. Did you know that the reason the Vietnamese can sit really low to the ground on their feet comfortably and we cant? Because we have lazy toilets and not squatters. Also, the Vietnamese have squinty eyes because of all the rice they eat, they find it difficult to go to the toilet, see crazy! We all climbed into the hatch that was used as an entrance to the tunnels during the war, and then walked underground in the tiny tunnels they used. Now, the tunnels have been widend for tourists and we only walked 120m, but we have no idea how they managed! They were sooo hot and extremely claustrophobic.
When we got back into the city we went for a little look around before heading back to our guesthouse for a rest, ready for a night out. Not the usual night out clubbing, instead we sat in bars by the main road, bit strange but good. We were in one bar where we were paying 70p for a drink, love it! When we went back to the guesthouse we had to ring the bell to wake them up because they'd locked us out, the lady didnt look too impressed.
The next day we went to War History Museum where we learnt some more about the war. The museum explained the methods used to kill in the war and some graphic pictures of those being killed and those affected. Afterwards we went to find the Reunification Palace but it was closed so we took a picture and left. That night as it was our last with the boys we decided to go to the Rex Hotel for a drink on the roof top as it is one of the 100 things to do before you die. This hotel was amazing and Dani decided that before she dies (which will hopefully not be for a very very long time) she will stay there.
The next morning was the farewells.. oh dear! More people we have to say bye to, its not fun. We've been with Rob and Pete since the trip to Cat Ba 3 weeks ago and have had an ace time with them. We'd made a deal that we'll all meet up for a visit to the Isle of Man when we're back so atleast we knew its not a proper bye. I think deep dowm we were more worried about how they're going to cope without us =)