Well we made it to Vietnam!! Crossed the border by foot on our way to Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon staying in a place called Chau Doc. When we got to the hotel we organised a motorcycle trip to the top of Sam Mountain to try and catch the sunset. Jumped on the back of an old bike with an even older guy driving it haha! Was really fun zooming between the traffic all moving in convoy taking pictures whenever I could. There was no messing about with the drive to the top either..so fast cutting corners, dodging people making it to the top first out of everyone to take in the view! Sadly there was clouds so we couldn't really see the sun set but the view was lovely anyway. Mountains in the far distance and paddy fields as far as the eye could see. A short walk to the very top of the mountain and there stood a little shop where there was a dozen or so hammocks..Relaxing, drink in hand looking out as darkness fell was pretty cool..not often do you just stop and appreciate whats around you.
The next day we made our push to Saigon, again a long drive as the traffic seemed to increase 100 fold as you approached the city! Unbelievably mental to see how many motorcycles there was! Caught a cyclo ride (where you sit in the front and a man cycles directly behind you) to take in the atmosphere and some of the sights..In the centre I have never seen so many bikes..the round about in the city centre was brilliantly busy, weaving and dodging eachother carrying everything from a family of five to a kitchen fridge! So funny!
The next day was a tour to the Cu Chi tunnels and the American War museum. The tunnels were used by the Vietnamese to hide from american soldiers and then pop out for a suprise attack! They dug underground up to 10 metres using different levels and sometimes traps to stop others entering..really intense stuff! I actually went into one of the tunnels of about 100metres and crawled on hands and knees to get out..pitch black and really clostrophobic, I have no idea how they spent several hours at a time in these places! Also paid about 10 dollars to fire an AK-47..I am the real Rambo haha! The war museum in the afternoon was just as intense..I find war history fascinating and this was no different..The experimental weapons used during this war were awful! Agent Orange! An absolute disgrace! Really really sad to see the end effect on innocent people.
Anyway..this was my last night with my group so it called for a big night out! Really good company in fun lively bars full of fellow travellers was a pretty good way to say goodbye! Plus getting back to the hotel for a swim in the pool was another fun way to end the night haha!
I stayed another day, exploring the markets and shops trying to catch last minute sights that I had missed..think I covered most of it with the help from a crazy motorcycle taxi ride haha! The cathedral, the opera house, Saigon river to name a few..
The next day and a couple of hours hanging around I caught a bus to Mui Ne. I read in the Rough guide that it is a good place to stop so I thought why not! I got there about half 9 in the evening after about a 6 hour journey..(kind of getting used to the distance now) made friends with a vietnamese guy called Bin who helped me out with accommodation for a few nights, he rang around and found a place for 200,000dong ($5 per night) it wasn't that bad either!
In the morning after being pestered to pay upfront and to give my passport (I refused...they settled for a photocopy) I went out to see what Mui Ne was all about. One long main road which hugs the coast filled with hotels, bars and surf shops I met a guy called Kasper and we decided to stick together for the day. Renting a motorcycle and going surfing was the idea! We drove to a beach which offered lessons (for me) and high waves about 20 minutes away. Not really the best conditions for a learner as it started to rain and the sea was alittle rough..always imagined learning in the sunshine where I have an excuse to chill and look cool on my board haha! Again these Vietnamese don't mess about, he took me straight out teaching me the basics..I discovered that paddling is a nightmare and was shattered trying to get past the crashing waves! After many a wipe out my lesson was over and I had yet to stand up!!..but I kept going and finally got in front of the wave..picked up loads of speed, stood up and came into shore! YEAH!! I didn't turn or anything but I was still chuffed! Decided to stop after that and finish on a high haha!
Met some more cool people later that night including two Canadians I had met in Saigon and three girls from England who had already been travelling for 8 months, nice to speak normally again not slow broken english! A few drinks in a bar with live music, then a club, then chilling on the beach until the early hours!
A good day!