Published: July 8th 2012July 8th 2012
Yesterday we spent our last morning wandering around Hoi An. Due to the severe heat, 43degrees, our actions were limited! Luckily we were off in the afternoon so it didn't feel like a wasted day. At 2pm we got a taxi to Danang airport for our 1hour flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Whilst waiting in departures with only 10 minutes until takeoff, we noticed there was still no plane at the gate! Needless to say we were delayed but what can you expect from a budget airline! Their uniform confirmed our suspicions and rivalled the pink and green First-Choice airline combination, you have to see it to believe it...http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?q=vietjet+uniforms&hl=en&biw=1024&bih=673&tbm=isch&tbnid=5AARH7hcnkjSCM:&imgrefurl=http://9mow.com/shop/tin-tuc/dong-phuc-hang-hang-khong-vietjet-air.html&docid=Lt-7Y4NsNzAg4M&imgurl=http://9mow.com/shop/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/viet-Jet-air-uniform.jpg&w=2560&h=2048&ei=C435T-agCsWjigel8f3wBg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=567&vpy=290&dur=121&hovh=201&hovw=251&tx=177&ty=81&sig=107408720715099593453&page=3&tbnh=140&tbnw=175&start=28&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:11,s:28,i:201
After a short yet turbulant flight we arrived! As we had bin bagged our backpacks prior to checkin, the first thing we did was remove them for ease of carrying. This was clearly the wrong action to take as here when you leave the airport, security check your luggage tags against your receipt...struggling with the language barrier we explained ours was in a bin. Their reaction was dubious and for a few moments we thought we'd have to rummage around the bins but they decided to let us off. our next task was getting a taxi to the hostel, easy enough?
Over much confusion in the taxi rank and our bags being taken off of us and put into a taxi we were trying to get away from one we decided it would be best to travel with them so we agreed on a price, it was unmetered...we've learnt our lesson. A 20 minute journey soon turned into over an hour as the driver despite being confident he knew the way at the airport, he apparently was lost. At this point however we were enjoying the tour of the city. Things escalated when the driver kept pulling over on random, busy streets trying to make us get out! Obviously we refused and so unexpectedly, the driver got out instead...about 5 minutes later he reappeared, (we presumed he needed a time out...his alleged inability to speak english definitely didn't help!) This happened several times before Liv was dragged out of the car and Rose naturally following was ordered back inside. [Liv's perspective] After being dragged by the arm, and across a rather busy road (without really waiting for the traffic to subside) he took me down a rather dingy looking alley way to search for the hostel!! Upon reaching the end of the dingy area however, I saw it opened up into a small side street lined with hostels. We then proceeded to walk along until we finally found it! As soon as I pionted it out, all his anger and frustration seemed to disappear as he started laughing and holding my arm again (why?!). He also insisted on starting a conversation on the walk back to the taxi (in Vietnamese) depite telling him several times I don't speak his language. This didn't deter him though and he carried on rambling all the way back... [Rose's perspective] The ordering back into the car was done in an angry, aggressive tone so I thought it best not to disobey! After seeing Liv and the driver disappear out of sight I realised I was alone in a taxi, with the key still in the ignition on a busy road full of night walkers, I realised I probably wasn't in the safest situation. Equally as Liv was still out of sight, I started to wonder how long to leave it before taking action!! After not too long they reappeared and got back into the taxi.
After this palava he insisted on driving us the longwinded way to the hostel, yet not even on the same road and demanded more money than we had agreed on. After arguing our case for nearly 10 minutes, (the fact it wasn' our fault he got lost) he employed a local man to translate for us. We continued to hold our ground until Rose's purse suddenly had an angry hand inside and all the money pulled out! Thankfully it was only petty cash so he wasn't interested. Eventually we realised that we wouldn't get away and for the sake of $2.50 we decided it was best to pay up and avoid an even more heated dispute and to retrieve our bags, (the driver was stood firmly guarding them!)
After this stressful experience we were thankful for a nice room. We also told the woman working at the hostel and she said it's a common scam and being young girls were ideal victims.
Today we had a lie in due to construction work next door through the early morning hours. We found a nice cafe and had brunch before heading off on an hours walk to the Reunification Palace. It was the central government building for South Vietnam during the Vietnam War and is still used today for some state occasions. We were lucky with our timings as we managed to latch onto an english tour which took us through the uses and history of some of the rooms and basements! Our next stop was the War Remnants Museum which took us about 2 and a half hours to go around as there was a lot to see and read about. This was extremely moving. Exhibitions were comprised off graffic images from the warcrimes and victims of the Vietnam War. The material would most likely not have been shown in England!
We wandered back and soon headed out for dinner for our last meal in Vietnam at apparently the 'best restaurant in the country'. Seemed like a perfect place for a pizza...
Tomorrow we are catching a bus at 8.45am to Cambodia which should take around 6 hours if the border crossing is faultless!