It's been a while since we all last spoke and as we now have a special guest blogger (who by her own admission is a "McGrory waffler"") I'll be brief.
Please note that this blog does not contain football as I'm trying to pretend that it's not important and that Watford aren't quite as woeful as the results suggest.Sad times.
We left Nha Trang what seems like a long while ago now and got on a coach for Dalat, a pretty small town way up in the hills in South Central Vietnam.It has a year round climate of around 25 degrees so after having sweated uninterrupted for about six weeks we were looking forward to wearing jeans and a hoody.And we did. And it was good.Dalat was a nice enough town, we spent most of our time there um-ming and ah-ing (spelling?!) about an offer of accommodation in Melbourne so we limited our time to seeing the elephant waterfalls which were beautiful and visiting a silk production warehouse where you can see the production of silk clothes right from grub form into gorgeous silk clothes.Pa Mole got bought a pretty dashing and racy black silk dressing gown/kimono - probably my spending highlight so far.
We got an early bus the following morning - a pretty terrifying and eventful bus journey involving an erratic driver, sheer cliff drops, a portion of veg fried noodles complete with the chef's own hair and immodium tablets for dessert.Still, we got to Saigon safe and sound and found ourselves a great room managed by a sweet Vietnamese girl who immediately fell in love with Rois (or Roseen) for the following reasons:
a)Rois' beautiful voice
b)Her beautiful fingernails
c)The fact that Rois looks like a doll/baby
d)Her perfect skin
e)Her lovely hair
f)Rois' general aura of perfection
We had a quick look around the city (after surgically removing the Vietnamese girl's arms from around Rois) and then I got a bit ill and had to spend the next few days in bed, so that was a shame.In the end we spent a week in Saigon because of it which was fine as when we did get out and about to see the city it was great.It's quite developed and bustling but isn't too pushy or overcrowded and has some amazing history.Yet another place to add to the list of "we'll have to come back here one day" cities.We treated ourselves to a 'sundowner' in two of the cities poshest hotel bars overlooking the city and overall had a nice but ill time.
Because of the illness (which I've now decided was Dengue fever because it sounds tropical) we had to re-arrange our plans a bit and only had two days in Cambodia which wasn't enough to see Angkor Wat so we based ourselves in Phnom Penh the capital and had a look round the sites there instead.Two days was long enough.We visited the King's palace which was hot but ornate and pretty stunning and went on a trip to the killing fields which was a pretty harrowing place.Similarly we went to a museum the next day on the site of an old prison used by the Pol Pot regime to house 'traitors' before they were executed.Interesting but fairly grim stuff.We flew the next morning to Bangkok……
That wasn't really brief was it?! Over to you Claire…
I was feeling very privileged to be writing a blog on one of my favourite websites but then I realised how hard it is to spell all the place names in Thailand and so now I see the real reason why this honour was bestowed on me! It was so surreal to see Rois and James and yet within an hour or so it felt completely normal. There has been lots of catching up done! Rois and James are looking really well and have this travel business down to a tea - Rois looks after reading up on everywhere in the guidebook (takes that from our Mum!) while James looks after all bargaining with accommodation, taxis, tuk tuks etc. I delivered a few treats from home including Dairy Milk, Tayto crisps and a bottle of lucozade for JamesMole - they went down very well.
We really liked Bangkok. It is as crowded and busy as most cities but everywhere you go has a sense of calm due to Buddhism being the main religion. You can smell incense burning everywhere. They are such friendly people. The first night (and every night since really) was spent yapping and eating the first of many tasty meals. James is very skilful with the chopsticks! We have been finding out as much as possible about this new culture. The Thais love to eat, at least five times a day, and instead of saying 'How are you' their greeting translates as 'Have you eaten rice yet'. The furthest we have got with the language is Thank you - 'khawp khun Kai' ... exactly!
On Sunday we visited the Grand Palace, the former residence of the King, which houses the Emerald Buddha. The palace was huge and very ornate (photos to follow). Again it was so peaceful, despite the crowds. Every building here has a separate spirit house and each morning Thai people make offerings to Buddha. When you are in shops or in restaurants you see little shrines to Buddha with a cup of water or some food as an offering, hoping the business will be rewarded. We walked around the weekend market and sussed out a good bar for the football. Unfortunately the Watford match wasn't on but Brian kept us updated on that. They are football mad here, so many Man U shirts around. We watched a very tense Man Utd match surrounded by many nationalities all supporting Utd - a great way to celebrate! (Sorry James, could not do my part of the blog without mentioning Man U).
Yesterday we decided to have a mooch around as Bangkok is very good for Mooching. Rois and I had our nails done for a pound! They have thai massages in every other shop for around 1-2 pounds! We left for the bus station at around 5pm and picked up our VIP tickets for the overnight bus to Ko Samui. Whilst enjoying a little coffee in the bus station (which was more like a very posh shopping centre) we noticed everyone standing up for the National Anthem - it just came on over the tannoy and everything stopped! The bus was a great experience - huge reclining seats and complimentary drinks and snacks and some sort of Thai movie on the tv which our fellow passengers were loving! So we arrived at the island of Ko Samui this morning. We have found ourselves a beautiful beachfront bungalow with a balcony and pool and a restaurant on the beach! We've been for a few swims and enjoyed some lunch. The island looks like paradise. We are looking forward to our week here! Our plan is to visit Ko Pha-Ngan and Ko Tao (see what I mean about the names!) as they are both meant to have beautiful scenery and then on to visit the jungles and waterfalls in the Mu Ko Chang marine national park - such hard work!
Think we have well and truly waffled now!
Lots of love
The Thailand Three xxxx
P.S - We tried to put this up yesterday but there have been problems on the website - as some of the message posters have experienced (sorry Anne & Katy!) We have emailed the website to find out more