Published: October 25th 2008October 25th 2008
After finally prising Gemma's hands from the Duty Free Prada shop we managed to persaude her to get on the flight to Vietnam.
Aren't we glad we did...
First port of call, Hanoi (Vietnam's Capital)
To compare the roads to that of the cartoon 'Wacky Races' would be an understatement to say the least. On the white knuckled ride from the airport to the hotel we witnessed countless driving faux pas including a family of five on one moped - no safety gear, a guy with 2 28" TV's strapped to his back and an old lady with a door frame over her shoulder. Their no rules approach and sheer volume of road users makes road crossing only for the brave and quick footed. Lucy crossed fearlessly, Lauren following suit and Gemma with her eyes closed.
The nightlife in Hanoi
Small (nursery type) plastic chairs, beers sold from the tender's front room and entertainment provided by a shady looking character playing a tune from his nose plugged recorder - too bizzarre to comprehend but very very real.
It is not suprising that it was only the second night when the first of the Tres Amigos
(Gemma) knocked a road user off his moped with the door of a car. Not all was lost though, when the money she whipped out soon got him off the floor, back on his bike licking his wounds, off with a smile and a fuller wallet. After this near miss Gemma confessed to following the words a wise man once told her... 'if you throw enough money at the situation it will soon disappear!'
Here we escaped the hustle and bustle of Hanoi, got to stay on an overnight boat, swim and kayak in a beautiful lagoon and watch the sunset on top deck with a bottle of Vietnam's finest beer... TOTAL BLISS.
An overnight train (like something from Harry Potter but with less magic and more creatures) led us to Hue where 2 bottles of Vodka and 4 cans of coke was no more than a fiver - HAPPY DAYS. A motorbike tour allowed us to see the 'real Vietnam' we had been so excited about and a few villages that Gemma had aptly named 'Snakesville'. Much to our delight we had our own personal drivers, locals with excellent english and not so excellent
road skills, however, it is safe to say that Lucy pulled the short staw after ending up with a Ray Ban wearing Vietnamese casanova aka the Maverick.
We had our fortune told by a 4ft vietnamese witch with a yankee accent and pencilled in eyebrows who told us a few 'home truths' - funny enough we are all destined to a life of misery looking after kids and men!
The nightlife got somewhat better in Hue, Gem was playing DJ - as they didn't have enough Beyonce for her liking, Luc was raffle caller who 'coincidently' won first prize (a JD T-shirt much to her dissappointment!) and Lauren ended the night playing Jenga with the locals in the discotheque.
Gemma has found her calling in Cyclo riding after a quick masterclass which led to her riding the cyclo and it's driver to the club.
Beautiful. Quaint. Nothing like Hanoi. Tailor filled streets and a picturesque beach made Hoi An one of our favourite places in Vietnam, not to mention the three custom made dresses we each had made.
These came in handy when the pool table turned into the dancefloor of the local nightclub.
Ho Chi Minh City (Siagon)
Another bustling city; mad roads, more plastic chairs, a beautiful Cathedral and a touching War Museum. Also home to the Mekong Delta which we visited as well as the most delicious Mexican restaurant which catered to our needs and cravings of a good hearty meal (there is only so much rice and noodles one can take especially with the albiet strange eating habits of both Gemma and Lucy).
Our last day in Vietnam called for a trip to the water park. Great fun but lots of dodgy looks from the locals when we were ushered to the 'foreigners' sunbathing area. The only three westerners in the mid day sun without being covered up from head to toe.
Vietnam was more than a pleasant suprise. A poor country with a thriving culture and welcoming locals made our trip one to remember. After only two weeks into our trip we have already met some fantastic characters and hopefully made some lasting impressions. Being in a group full of aussies we have already been offered food and lodge on our arrival in the big country - they will regret handing out those business cards! :-)
Gemma and Lucy got to sample a true Vietnamese massage, Lauren sensibly opted out - a wise move after the girls were walked all over in more ways than one. It was near to torture and then they wanted tipping!
The deeper into South East Asia we got the more fierce the mozies became. Lauren has earned the title as head of mozie control after being bitten too many times to count. Lucy and Lauren continue to bathe in their Mosquito repellant, Gemma refuses and is yet to be bitten - there is just no justice sometimes.
The night markets keep getting better and better, our bags keep getting fuller and fuller and our purses thinner and thinner. Oh well on to Cambodia!
Over and Out - Tres Amigos
Hope you have as much fun reading this as we did doing it!
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