Published: February 14th 2013February 14th 2013
Day 1, having pho for breakfast and met a new buddy - Bessie from Marlyland, an English teacher at a Korean university, come for some heat and having had a week on her own, desperate for company. I said that I was going to walk to the War Remnants Museum, and despite her misgivings that it would be depressing (tough, Bessie, that is not the point.....) she came with me. It was very moving - how could it not be - made me think of everyone killed in combat, whichever side. The photos were terrible but had to be seen - children lying in rows looking like they were sleeping, and much worse! Grateful that Mike is safe and remembering Dan.
Bessie and I then strolled back and met for lunch later - Indian on Bui Vien - much more expensive than the street food which is much better. I had booked another hotel down an alleyway which looked v v gloomy and I thought about cancelling, but then met a couple yesterday who said that the rave reviews on tripadvisor were all true - big rooms and nice staff, although rubbish breakfast with Scary Sausage, so I have left
it and will give it a go when we get back from Hoi An. My New Best Friend then followed me back to collect her passport from my hotel and saw me booking the Mekong Delta trip for the next day. Guess what!!! Hey ho - worse could happen!
In the evening, it was Beth's birthday and her colleagues at ILA had booked at the Chill Bar - wowee, is all I can say. 26 floors up, with an outside terrace and the most amazing views - breathtaking (literally, for those with vertigo - you feel like you are hanging off the side of the building), it's at the top of a bank building at the NE corner of the park behind Bui Vien. Happy hour. Most definitely was! all the little egg-cup-like tables had reserved signs on them with names, and none of those people ever showed up! Apparently this is always the case, but it does make it look v popular!
Next day, jetlagged, early start for all day trip to the Mekong Delta - booked through the hotel and the cost was d250,000, 40,000 more as it's tet. you can maybe jet cheaper but at
£7.70 inc lunch I CBA! Life is just too short to save 50p! There is Bessie, v v worried that her request for a veggie lunch may not get through. Believe me, there is always food here - not going to be a problem! Great trip, about 20 of us, all nationalities. The young Russian guy was HILARIOUS! Well-built, which proved a probelm on the boats - he had to be told which side to sit or there was a dangerous lean to the side. He was so good-natured, and took the python off me when it began to wrap round my neck and I had had enough of it! We did Big Boat, Small Boat and Medium Boat. honey farm, coconut candy factory, traditional music and a really crappy lunch. Ample retail opportunities everywhere, but nothing like as pushy as Bali or Phuket.
Today I ambled through Ben Than market and bought 2 dresses for stupid prices and will probably never wear them, but was easing myself into haggling, having not done it since Istanbul. Then for an ever-winning formula - go to a really nice high-end hotel (Renaissance Riverside) and pay £9 to use their pool on
the roof, have lunch, sauna etc for the day. Great views of the river from the 21st floor pool - again, don't look down. Tonight - cocktails at the Park Hyatt for Anti-Valentines night out!!
The people here are so so smiley and nice - everything has worked fine, the traffic is insane but I followed the crossing-the-road advice and am still alive. Just walk out, keep going at the same speed and whatever, don't stop, speed up or (cardinal and possibly fatal) sin - turn back! Cu Chi tunnels tomorrow.
Now how do I do the photo thing on here? If not, my friends and family at least can see them on facebook.
Lots of love to all, especially my bbgrls.
There are more photos below