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Published: October 25th 2011
So I've finally got on to a PC where we can update this thing but it's 1.23am and I'm not sure we're going to be able to do the last week or so justice! Hopefully the photos will instead! This is our last night in Hoi An having been here for 4 nights but I'll get to that in a bit, we have some catching up to do... So we left Cat Ba Island on the morning of my birthday and spent the whole day travelling on various buses and boats. Made it to Haiphong and needed to wait 3 hours for the night bus to Dong Hoi - luckily on the drive to the bus station I had scoped out a KFC so we headed straight there to find it was 'Burger Tuesday' we're all the meals were 29,000 Dong (under a pound!). Since it was my birthday we nailed two of them before heading back to the bus station. Got on the bus and settled in for what was going to be an uncomfortable night for me anyways given how short the 'beds' are - Dan the short arse was fine of course! No sooner had
I got comfy when some random woman told me to get off. I asked why but apparently I wasn't due an explanation and was just shouted at to get off. She then proceeded down the entire bus ordering off all of the Westerners and it was then we realised it was because more Vietnamese people had turned up for the journey and they take precedence! Oh well apparently we would be leaving in an hour so I went to get beer.
When our new bus was ready I figured I'd take a comfort break before the 12 hours of confinement. As I entered the toilet this old woman started yelling at me but I carried on regardless. When I came out it became obvious that she wanted to charge me for the privilige of using her skanky toilet - 3 pence! Decided that since I had already been shown some Vietnamese hospitality that evening by being chucked off the bus and that I probably had caught something by going in the toilet anyway that I wouldn't be paying! She started screaming and pushing me in the chest. I'm normally a patient man and respect both my elders and women
but she pushed me too far and was all up in my grill so I unpolitely told her that I would not be paying and that she should get out of my face! That excitement over with we got on the bus and spent the next 12 hours being subjected to crazy driving, shitty Vietnamese music and constant horn usage from the driver! I'll let Dan take over from here.... Dan says:
Got to Dong Hoi at around 6 in the morning, weren't to bad for me. I'm around 5,6' so I could fit in the bus bed but Andy just weren't going to fit so a nice 12 hour bus ride for him! Got dropped at some crappy bus terminal and by that I mean a random spot on the side of the road and we waited for our taxi to pick us up! Almost an hour later we arrive at this farm place in the middle of nowhere. We check in - the woman who owns it - Bich - had a weird Vietnamese 'slash' Aussie accent - weird. Never thought I'd hear that combo!
Anyway we checked into our room and dropped our stuff
down. No way I was going to sleep now though, there was a pool table in the main area, (it was sort of like a living room, so everyone chilled there). It was still just before 7 in the morning so I thought why not a few games of pool - which turned into around 40 games everyday! Like I said this place was in the middle of nowhere, we had nowhere to go! We came here to see the biggest cave in the world so we booked ourselves on the tour the next day - we then found out that as the biggest cave in the world was only recently discovered they are still building to make it accessible to tourists, so we would visit a cave of similar size called Paradise Cave. Oh well its still a big cave, right? The rest of the day was just spent chilling and pretty much playing pool, went to sleep at around 9, due to the fact we were knackered and that we had to be up tomorrow at 8 for our tour!
When we got up we headed out and met up with some other people who were also
coming on the tour. I heard we would be in military jeeps for the tour but I didn't think much of it UNTIL two old school U.S military jeeps rocked up - AMAZING! I got to sit on the side looking out - I think its because they thought I was the most miliant looking and would make the best soldier should something go wrong! We drove around for a bit and stopped at various sites where the U.s had been bombing - it's funny according to these North Vietnamese folk the war was Vietnam against America - they fail to mention the big fuck up between North and South that initially started the war! The tour guides explained a bit about the sites but I as I'm pretty sure everyone else agrees didn't really understand a great deal. Not because I'm a dumb ass but because I havent quite got my head around decyphering Vienglish (thats english with a MAJOR Vietnamese accent!). Anywhoo the story goes that America are the bad guys and loads of Vietnamese people died as a result...there were memorial temples set up along the way with loads of stories - well you say stories I
say propaganda! We drove past a few more sites that I didn't really get then arrived at this cave! 550 steps later we reached the mouth of this cave - was about as tall and wide as me! What a let down I thought this cave was going to be HUGE! Walked in and guess what...had to walk DOWN stairs this time! This time however, after slipping down 6 wet stairs with my no grip walking boots I realised how big this hole was! This cave was beyond big - I mean look at the pictures! We walked about 4/5 km into this cave - FYI dont touch the walls - they stink! Towards the end this dude we were staying with dared the group to shout THIS CAVE IS FUCKING AMAZING, because due to the echo it would have been really loud! He said he would buy a drink for whoever did it - sure enough them be fighting words for Andy who stepped up and did it - was his easiest beer of the trip! Dude couldn't believe someone actually took him up on his offer! Cave was awesome and stepping back into sunlight was horrible - I
felt like I wanted to crawl back and live in the cave it was nice there! I'm sure a lick of paint and some cushions would make it more homely!
Right back in the jeeps - I resume army commander, general, major sergeant, leuitenant position on the side of the car (I'm guessing that's the highest rank soldier) and we drive on. We headed to some random fields to see some random tree but what interested us more was the fact there was 4 inches of mud on the floor and for once the jeep was doing it's job slipping and sliding all over the shop = AMAZING! Headed back to our random farm where I realised I was now covered in red muddy shit - oh well price you pay for being the best soldier there is I guess! Wow that was a busy and tiring day, guess pool is on the books for tonight, soon turned into a game of Killer Pool for money - sure enough I lost 3 times in a row as did Andy! Anyway before bed we organised our travel to Hue, we got a car with this cool Dutch couple and stopped
of to see the DMZ - demilitarised zone for you civilians - I understand soldier speak as we have already discussed! Nothing really amazing - I wanted dead bodies and bomb craters - but all there is is a river and a big Vietnam flag! Arrived at Hue at around 6pm and found a cool place to stay for 3 quid! Bargain - we ate, explored a bit then went back and let the Discovery Channel entertain us! Ready to move onto Hoi An the next day! BRING IT ON - SUIT TIME BABY!!! Andy says:
So I had a bit of a crazy moment in Hue when I decided to book a suite in a luxury resort in Hoi An. Oh well - I'll worry about that when I get home, this place has been amazing!! Got off the bus in some random dusty yard with no clue as to where we were so I asked some moto-taxis how much to take us to the hotel. They said 60,000 Dong for two of us but then I saw a cab and he said he would do it for 50,000 so jumped in. The moto drivers weren't
happy and there was almost a full on fist fight between them and the cab driver before he got in and drove us the 30 seconds to the hotel! We had been done again but to be honest we didn't care because the place looked so nice!
Opened the door to the room and we both nearly cried with happiness, it had everything. Double doors out to the pool, two of the comfiest beds we've had on the trip, on-demand tv with a massive movie selection and bathrobes to lord about in! We were both going to be happy here! We then went for a walk round town and got a bit of food and found it's a really cool place. Got a lot of old town charm but with enough stuff to do to entertain you. They've definitely set it up as a chilled out tourist town with pedestrianised roads, traditional lanterns everywhere and classical music piped on to every street!
The next day it was time to go and get measured for suits. We tried one place we had been recommended but it looked a bit shabby and they were a bit too pushy for my
liking. You can get a full suit here for around $60 but we were a bit dubious about the sort of quality they would be! We found a place our hotel recommended and as soon as we walked in it was obvious it would be the place as we were greeted with cold bottles of water, laptops to select styles on and sales staff that weren't in any way pushy. We probably ended up paying more than is average here but at least we knew they would be decent quality. The next day we rented a moped as we had withdrawal symptoms from being on a bike and headed out to the My Son ruins which are about 55km away. Road signs in Vietnam are shit so we pretty much had no clue where we were going but we didn't care too much since the weather was decent and the country roads were pretty deserted so we just caned the bike until by some miracle we found the ruins! There's not a lot left after bombing in the war and it was crazy hot so we had a wonder round, found a massive spider and took some photos before leaving
and heading to the beach! Never let be said that Dandy isn't cultural! The rest of the time in Hoi An has been spent getting more clothes made, eating good food, chilling by the pool and working our way through the Fast & Furious movies on the on-demand system - we even extended our stay because we hadn't seen Fast Five before we were due to leave! Tomorrow we're back on the sleeper bus - very tempted with just nicking a moped and doing it that way as it would be more comfortable!!!!
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