Published: November 28th 2006November 28th 2006
Sunsmart Belle and me
These conical hats are not only amusing but are awesome for keeping the sun off your head and shoulders. Might have to keep it for Big Day Out this year...
Well we are 2 days away from finishing clinic and starting our trip down south. Can't believe how quick our placement has gone, helps that we sleep fpr 3 hours in the middle of the day so time goes quickly! Been an uneventful kind of week, everyone except angela has been sick in one form or another, with Belle unfortunately copping it the worse. She hasn't eaten anything more than bread or banana since last Tuesday, and has had two trips to the 24 hours international clinic so far. One of them was on saturday night with a very drunk alison and semi-drunk ange. I was pre-occupied with my own inebriated state after several 20cent beers and a few mohitos thrown in for good measure. No state to go to a hospital in!
We went on a day trip to Ninh Binh province on Saturday. Sometimes I think a tour guide is a bit more of a hindrance than a help, especially when they speak very quickly in a mixture of Vietnamese, Mandarin and Engrish. This chick spoke for 40mins straight on the bus (have no idea what about) then for another 30mins out the front of a temple (again
Floating rip-off market
This lady ruined my trip back down the river. I was so mad at being forced to buy someone food, only to have them sell it back to her! Got in trouble when I refused to tip at the end of the trip
no idea what about) then decided to round out the day with more random story telling for 30mins on the way home. Very annoying.
She did clear up one thing though. We had walked past a shop selling all types of coffee, one of them with a picture of a weasel on the front. This is very expensive coffee and only comes in 100g bags. The guide explained that it was a bit of a delicacy, as the process of obtaining the coffee is quite difficult. You see, they let a whole stack of weasles into the coffee plantation, then walk around picking up the weasel coffee-poo that is left behind. I am deadly serious about this, people actually drink weasel poo here. Ange bought a couple of bags to try on her dad when she gets home; mum/Tim you enjoy a nice strong coffee in the mornings dont you?
Out in Ninh Binh we went on a 2 hour canoe cruise (propelled by locals) down a river through some awesome limestone caves and past rice paddie farms (?) It was all going well until we got to the halfway point where you pull up at what can
Ride on cowboy!
you could have a photo riding the buffalo yourself, but it smelt a bit too intresting to me!
be best described as a canoe drive-through, where a lady in a canoe full of soft drinks, chips, lollies and fruit are waiting to flog off stuff to you. Even if you don't feel like a drink they make you buy for the people paddling your canoe, otherwise they stop paddling! I didnt hold out for more than a few minutes, but Ali managed to wait 45 minutes in the middle of the river before she caved in. Worse part is, you are completely ripped off price wise, and when you turn your head, the bastard paddlers sell the stuff back to the floating lady! How dodgy is that! And then the whole way back down the river they try to sell you crappy tablecloths and ugly t-shirts. Never felt so trapped in my life!
Clinic has been really good this week, the techniques and treatment progression are making a lot more sense now, and the physios are really enjoying having us around. They are putting each of us on the back of their motorbikes tomorrow to shout us lunch on some floating restaurant, then taking us on a motorbike tour of the city. Hope they can stay awake
The roof of the caves was so low in some places that we had to lie flat on our backs
for it, they normally have a long nap all lunch!
Matt arrives on Friday morning, I think everyone is pretty excited about having someone new to play with and show around Hanoi. We are quite comfortable in the city now, but definetely ready to start travelling. We head off to Halong Bay on Sunday for 3 days on a Junk Boat and some trekking through Cat Ba Island (apparently the monkeys bite there) then we hop on a train and go down to Hoi An for a few days.
Better be off, lots of shopping left to do before sending it all home!
Love Claire xoxo
There are more photos below