Yet another eventful few days. Following my last very philosophical blog questions were raised as to my soberness at the time of writing (thanks Naomi). I would like to set the record straight that I was perfectly sober, it was written at about 1am whilst on yet another 12 hour 'sleeper' bus journey from Hoi An to Nha Trang. This bus was far worse than the first in terms of ride comfort and bed size however no ducks/chickens were bought/sold therefore my bag didn't come out the other end covered in bird crap, so it's all swings and roundabouts really. At least it was.... then we met the driver. There are better words to describe him but for theyounger audience I will stick to 'pleb'. He was clearly a failed/wannabe Nigel Mansell. He raced aroun the hills on the coast at speeds I haven't reached on the A55 (never over 70mph obviously mum), in addition to this he liked to use his horn. People here tend to use their horns instead of indicators, lights, when overtaking and often for no reason whatsoever but this guy was another level. I'm pretty sure he only stopped sounding the horn once for the entire 12 hour trip. The one time he stopped was when we arrived in Nha Trang.... I know what your thinking 'oh that must be because you arrived at the hotel/bus stop'. No he stopped because he smashed into the back of someone. The way they drive here he could easily be forgiven for hitting a motor bike, scooter, tuk tuk or bike but no this pleb had smashed into the back of a 4x4 causing our front window to smash and smashing their spare wheel into their boot crushing the back door and smashing the back window. They were taking ages to sort it out so we went and opened the sides got our bags and found our hotel. I've found out whilst travelling (I'm not sure if ive mentioned this) that I'm really really good at sleeping, which seems to annoy people as they often can't sleep on things like busses, floors, trains, vans, restaurants etc. So I hadn't been too bad on the night bus but was still pretty tired as the driver kept trying to throw us out of our beds on every corner. So we went and slept on the beach for most of the day before going back to the hotel getting changed and going to see what Nha Trang has to offer! We went for food in a really cool place where the table tops were made of 9 tiles, you ordered your food and they would come over and remove the centre tile and put a BBQ in the whole!! So we cooked our own food, well the meat at least. We had a huge plate of rice and 4 plates of meat to cook; chicken, king prawns, ostrich and crocodile. Ostrich and crocodile were basically beef and chicken but really nice. We planned not to have a big one as we'd arranged to meet kat, Amy and ceri in the morning as their tour was coming up and stopping in Nha Trang. Famous last words. Things went pear when we decided to have a drink and a game of pool in each bar along a strip we found, all was going well we were taking it easy then we started playing against a member of staff from one of the bars. He decided to give us free shots and drinks so we kept playing. We met a few Dutch people in this bar because one of them looked like Frankie Boyle so we thought it would be pretty stupid to not check if it was him. It wasn't. But they played pool with us then we went to a bar ironically called holland bar. Karaoke is massive over here so we decided it was about time we treated everyone to a hit or two. After polishing off 'father and son' (cat Stevens/boyzone) we realised it was about 3 and went to the hotel. We got up at 8 to go to meet the girls and their tour group at 9. We all went to the beach and chilled out for the day. Well almost everyone chilled out, as I mentioned I rarely get hangovers so I was ok but stace was in a right tangle, by lunch time the Asia Tour Sickness Scoreboard had reached stace 3 Ed 0. I think due to stakes condition and my tiredness/general forgetfulness we managed to lose the key to our room maybe at the beach or at the girls hotel, it's hard to say. We got back to ours and asked the angry woman that ran it if we could have a spare cos we'd left it on the room. They were so unorganised we knew they'd forget we had 2. That night we went out with the tour group went to a place the tour guide said was a locals favorite, it was ok but far too hot everyone was sweating buckets! The next day we went to the beach for a bit and then went to the mud baths. This was an interesting experience where we (6 of us) basically went from one huge bath to another one filled with hot mud then hot water then swimming pools with hot water and warm waterfalls. I enjoyed most if this it was pretty relaxing if slightly femanine, everyone else struggled though because they had all got sunburnt on the beach the day before sothe hot water was pretty painful, I guess I must be too strong for sunburn I think that's how it works, either way rather than looking like a lobster I look more like linford christie. That night we took the girls to the BBQ place we'd been to and then said goodbye as they left for Hoi An.
We had a yet another supposed 12 hour bus trip to Saigon (ho chi Minh) at7am. We got up in plenty of time packed and I went downstairs to check out whilst stace finished packing. Partially because I thought stace had them and partially because I completely forgot, but mainly because the angry woman that ran the hotel was unorganised and like a fish up a tree when we spoke English to her, we didn't get the passports back. We remembered about 6 hours into the journey to Saigon, not a lot we could do then so we went back to sleep. We soon stopped off for what originally was a 30minfood break that turned into a 2 hour 30 min break because the bus broke down. This gave us the opportunity to try to contact the woman who had our passports to see if shed sold them on yet, luckily she hadn't, unluckily she didn't have a clue what we were saying to her so I can't wait to see my phone bill. She put someone staying in the hotel on the phone and he passed the message over, she was going to arrange for them to be put on the next bus to Saigon we just had to pick them up! Winner! We got to Saigon saw the sights: the markets, reunification museum, French buildings and the war remnants museum. In the morning we collected our passports(which were in an envelope surrounded by other passport envelopes!) then sorted out a bus to phnom phen, Cambodia for later on that night! We had loads of time to spare so we wen for our first massage! It cost about £4for an hour. Stace got a monster of a woman who beat him black and blue, mine was slighter and not as violent!We had to take our flip-flops off on the way in as you do in most places. So as we were leaving they got our flip-flops out so we could leave. When we came to Asia we both had havianas but due to one thing or another we now had a mixture of cotton and wood (me) and some plastic wwf wrestling (stace) ones, neither of which were anywhere near as comfortable or even comparable to the havianas.HOWEVER, when the woman came back with our flip-flops she had a pair of wwf's and a pair of navy blue havianas, this provided me with somewhat of a dilemma which I considered for about 2 seconds before taking the havianas (never been one to look a gift horse in the mouth) and hot-footing it out of there only to be held up by the owner trying to get us to take her 2 18 year old nieces on a date! As nice as I'm sure they were there was no chance the community shield final (football) man utd vs man city was on and we weren't missing that! Man utd came back from 2-0down to win 3-2 they were class all the way through!
We have learnt that no bus journey is ever the length it should be: 12hours will take 16, 6 will take 9 etc the only one that was 12 hours when it was supposed to be was Hoi An to Nha Trang and thats because he though the was lewis hamilton. Because the journey from Nha Trang to Saigon was so deleted we were hungry they usually stop off at places so people can use the toilet or get food so when he did we got a baguette, the were 15,000each so 50p. We should have seen the signs they were so cheap and when we asked what the meat was they just said meat. As soon as we'd eaten half we were in trouble. The days in Saigon we were feeling what's fondly known as delhi-belly. Unusually it hit me worse than stace, probably karma for the flip-flop incident. But this was the first time on the trip so far so I'm pretty happy!
We have also been to Phnom Phen Cambodia. We checked in to a pretty good hotel and then got a little tuk tuk fella we'd met to take us to the killing fields and s21 (the torture prison) from when pol pot decided it would be a clever idea to do away the most of the population. It was pretty weird and depressing to say the least. Guns are a big thin here pretty much everyone we've met has asked us if we want to have a go of shooting machine guns, uzi's, ak47's etc it's $40 to fire any machine gun at a mountain but more interestingly it's $300 to fire a rocket launcher and an extra $150 if you want to fire a rocket launcher at a cow. Now if I had enough money and knew that it would come down as steak I'd seriously think about it but as it stands we've had to decline and move on.
We have now been in Siem Reap for 2 days. Yesterday we visited Angkor Wat and some of the old temples which they claim to be the 8th wonder of theworld but then Halong Bay in Vietnam also claimed this so someones lying. Anyway I'm pretty glad theres only 7 at the moment because although the temples and Halong Bay were good I preferred Chitchen Itza in Mexico. After the temples we went to visit a floating village of about 2,000people which was good until they guilt-tripped us into spending $10 on some books for the local children. After we had bought them (and refused to buy pencils at hugely inflated prices!!) we went over to the floating school and gave the books out. I suppose it was a good dead at the end of the day but it was an expensive day as the temples were $20 each to get into and the boat ride around the villages was $15 each. The children seemed pretty happy about the books (even though I'm pretty sure they get loads from tourists everyday, infact they probably have more than I did), and we felt like Lenny Henry doing the old africa run when comic relief comes knocking. We are getting a bus to bangkok tomorrow and then flying down to Surat Thani and finally over to the Thai Islands in time for the full moonparty. So far theres been a fair amount of lady-boys who decide its a good idea to join us for the walk home, on average 4 a night in Cambodia! Apparantly it's twice as bad in Thailand.... brilliant. Is it wrong to hit them away if they were and probably still are mainly male?!
The link to Stace's bloghttp://blogs.statravel.co.uk/staceyowl