Well, Im not actually in Saigon any more, but for some reason my blog provider wont let me put in my location. Im in a place called Mui Ne which is on the southern coast before Nha Trang. Its supposed to be the holiday resort of choice for Saigonese people and is famed for its beautiful beaches. Well, I dont know if its just having a bad day but I am rather inclined to call it a dump.The beach I laid on today was black sand, but it wasnt actually, it was oil, and lots of ants. So, not really massively impressed there. It is famous for its red and white sanddunes and a fairy stream which is just a stream running through the rocks, and its not running at the moment cos it seems to have dried up. So, thats really exciting.
My journey didnt start off well because I was due to leave Saigon yesterday morning at 7.45 am but I missed my bus (by 10 minutes, I might add). The next bus was not leaving til 8.30 pm last night so I had to spend the day just sitting around Saigon waiting for the bus to go, constantly guarding my luggage too, which gets old very quickly. Anyway, that was a really dull way to spend the day, and only improved when I ran into the people I had been hanging out with all week and grabbed dinner with them before I left. Well, I tried to grab dinner, but the service is so "laidback" (ie non existant), that I had to leave before my course arrived. So that sucked.
Get to the bus station and bearing in mind that a) I had gone with THE renowned Vietnam travel agency so was expecting a decent vehicle b) it was supposed to be a nightbus, and C) i had paid a considerable amount for the ticket (by Vietnam standards anyway!) I was not expecting a crapped out mini bus with non reclining seats and zero legroom. But hey ho thats what I got. It was a bloody miserable experience, the bus was absolutely packed, there was no space, and the bus lurched from side to side and the driver kept his hand pressed on the horn the whole time. I was so tired and hungry and had a raging sore throat cos I have come down with a massive cold so it was an absolute nightmare. Couple that with the fact that I was sitting next to a complete freak who spent the whole journey blatantly staring at my boobs. Bearing in mind that he was next to me, so he had to actually angle himself so he could stare better! I zipped up my hoodie, crossed my arms over my chest but nothing would deter him, he was gazing. Such a weirdo. I felt really carsick at one point and contemplated throwing up over him, perhaps he would have averted his stare.
Anyhow, I got to Mui Ne at about 1.30 am and the place is deserted, theres just me and a bunch of travellers cruising the streets in search of accomodation. So I take the first room I can find and for the princely sum of $20, (Im really wishing Tet would hurry up and finish so prices will drop again) I got the crappiest room.
A few of its highlights:
clouds of mosquitos, no hot water, a filthy pillow that reeked of smoke and had someones black hair on it, the grimiest bathroom ever seen, cockroaches, a rattling window, a fan that didnt work, AC that didnt work, walls as thin as an anorexic and a neighbour who was Coldplays biggest fan. The Piece de resistance? Well, it was a tough choice but it has to be the hole in the ceiling looking out into the clear night sky.
So it was definitely a sleeping pill kind of night and I woke up unrefreshed at 7am woken by the incessant hnking of the traffic a few metres from my head. I consulted my lonely planet that keeps leading me astray, and booked a room elsewhere. I wanted the f*** out of that hole so I packed and dispatched a cockroach trying to hitch a ride in my clothes, and went to check out. The lady behind the counter was completely astounded that I would leave so soon, so I told her why. She smiled happily and told me that I should definitely recommend it to my friends. Yeah, so for all you reading, check out this hotel. Because you will laugh when you see it. As i left I caught sight of the advert for the hotel proclaiming that it had "airy" rooms. Yes, caused by a bloody great hole in the roof.
Well now I am staying at a bungalow on the beachfront thats half the price and twice as nice. I have learned 2 things. One, is never take a bus that gets you in late without pre booking some sort of decent hotel, and two, a sleeping bag liner is the best invention ever.
I dont think the charms of Mui Ne can hold me for another day, so I am heading up to Nha Trang tomorrow (another coastal town, but a lot bigger). Slightly concerned about the level of theft that seems to occur there, my kiwi friends got liberated of $300 and their camera when they were there, but I am looking forward to being on the move again, hopefully on a nicer bus because this is a six hour journey.
Well, I read what I just wrote and I sound like a miserable b******, but im taking it in my stride. One thing I have learned about travelling is a large dose of patience is the key to sanity, and other peoples perceptions of things are greatly going to differ from your own. I LOVED Saigon and had a blast, yet Ive met people who would rather slit their wrists than hang out there again. Oh well, one mans treasure and all that........