MISCHIEF ON THE MEKONG Part One...Preparing the Mind & the Body.
It was snowing as we crossed the tarmac to our plane in Shanghai...snow settling on my face as I wait for the stairs to clear...bet its not like this in Vietnam.
4 hours later touch down in Ho Chi Minh City...31C...somewhat overdressed I feel.
Big crowd to meet the arrivees...one man towering over the others...arms raised...biggest smile...has to be Cockle
...hugs us like a long lost brother...his wife Quynh
likewise...Welcome to Vietnam
10 minutes later a plane arrives from Malaysia...then minutes later a guy in khaki with a familiar hat...and a mountain of luggage...gotta be The Travel Camel
...his welcoming committee now doubled.
Was really exciting having arrived after all the planning.
Never met these guys before...fellow admiration society in the ether on Travelblog...now in the flesh...the Cockles (Nick & Quynh)
, the Camel (Shane)
& the Dancing Duo (David & Denise)
...together for the purpose of travelling together...for some Mischief on the Mekong.
Was difficult getting a word in...like lorikeets attacking an apple...the muggy air ripe with happiness...immediately knowing we all got on.
First stop Little Saigon Boutique Hotel
...city centre...down a tiny alley for access...couldn't be a better position.
Walking distance to markets, eateries, next to Baskins & Robins for
ice cream for Shane, a Jazz Bar for Nick, and then there was Catherine in reception...my first portrait in Vietnam.
Nice of Nick & Quynh to sleep on the floor while we had large beds...guess that's what good hosts do in Vietnam!
To Eat & Drink
Nick had often expressed over the ether that he owed me a beer, so not surprising he made it priority to be a man of his word.
Dinner that night at a classy eatery...with deceptively large tankards of Vietnamese beer.
So to be an appreciative guest we linked arms for our first slug of the amber fluid...funny night underway...couldn't keep up though...great feed...great conversation.
First of many meals together...no better hosts...TB'ers together...no better times.
I came to Vietnam to experience the culture, the cuisine and travel with these guys...I didn't come to listen to jazz.
But Nick had other ideas!
Couldn't wait to try to indoctrinate my musical tastes...into the Jazz Bar next to our digs...plying me with cocktails...spending all night taking photos of me...whispering in my ear how great it was...making me wonder if he'd
use the pics for no good...knowing full well I don't like jazz!
Well I've gotta say the patron of the place...Tran Manh Tuan
was a sax player of World Class...brilliant performer...cool Jazz Club...brilliant night.
Went back again towards the end of our trip...just Denise & I...got to know Tran and a visiting bluesman Johnny Guitar
...not the wanky Jazz I detest...cool club...great music...dare I say it...great jazz!
To be more beautiful...Male Grooming
Today Nick taking me for a beard trim in Bin Hoa
his home town, Quynh taking Den for a facial and Shane staying in his room to do some paperwork...no idea what we had in store.
Down an alley to a humble Barber shop...two chairs operating as we waited...really glad I had my camera.
One of the barbers started doing surgery on a guy's ears...sharp metal rods inserted & twisted...overseeing with a headlamp...mesmerising.
My eyes popping out...is he going to do that to me?
Me next...Nick with my camera...wouldn't believe it otherwise.
He not only gave me a beard trim...he shaved my face & forehead & gave me a facial!
Then surgical cleaning of my ears...extraordinary!
An hour in the chair...55,000 Dong or AUD$2.
Then Nick had his face & head shaved for 30,000 Dong.
Now we are ready for some Mischief on the Mekong.
The girls were ready about the same time so picked them up in a taxi and back to the hotel to collect Shane...but no Shane.
Guy in Reception saying he was at that wedding just there...couldn't see him...5 weddings at the hotel...checked each one...checked his room...he's at that wedding...Reception insisting.
So I went right in...guy offers me a beer as I passed a table...sculled it in one...suddenly new friends embracing me...but where is Shane?
Second room...this wedding is enormous...wedding photographer insisting I pose for photos with the bride & groom...come & join us...sorry...I'm only here to find Shane.
There he is...not wearing his hat...table at the far wall of the second room...our eyes meeting...he ducking..."Come on Shane, time to go"
Could have sworn he was pretending he had not heard the call...came about 10 minutes later...reluctant to leave...gotta say I was having a good time as well...he had been invited...could have sworn they said we'd both been invited. To blind massage...naked & supposedly not seen
Nick is paranoid of strange hands caressing his bod...mistakes ecstasy for pain & suffering...time to educate him with a bit of muscular manipulation.
At least he had an excuse to try to avoid a remedial massage.
Shane's excuse so pathetic...can't even remember it...yet his unbending...Nick's malleable.
Found a blind massage centre...my recommendation based on past experience...Nick leading us in...no turning back now!
Challenging as it turned out.
We were all required to strip down to our birthday suits...separate cubicles...Nick in No.1, me in 2, Den in 3, Quynh in 4...each with our own blind masseur.
Mine was going fine until I heard "click, click, click"
with associated giggles from Nick...hand with a camera above me from No. 1...better not publish the photos!!!
All agreed the massage was amazing...the blind masseurs discrete...think Nick's converted to the benefits...better not publish the photos.
Time for a bit of mischief.
I think we are ready!!!
Relax & Enjoy,
Tot: 2.415s; Tpl: 0.068s; cc: 60; qc: 227; dbt: 0.1765s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 2.1mb