Our first fleecing

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Asia » Vietnam
February 20th 2009
Published: March 1st 2009
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So I lasted two days on my plain boiled rice and dry bread diet before deciding that the doctor couldn't possibly be right in prohibiting some foods, spicy acidic and uncooked i could understand, but milk? I fell off the wagon with a soft landing into some pizza, which i can even rationalize. I'm allowed bread, the tomatoes were cooked and she never mentioned cheese. I have to say that nothing has ever tasted so nice (except of course grandmas fruit cake) After no ill effects, i carried on eating real food, steering clear of anything i thought would be a bad idea to eat.

Arriving at Ho Chi Mihn we had a hotel booked and just needed to get to it. As usual there were scores of taxis waiting outside the bus. The first taxi driver looked at the address, said 'Oh' and walked off. That should have been a clue but it wasn't. The next one said he knew where it was. WE went on a 20min drive around the city, including a 'helpful' stop at an ATM then he dropped us at the beginning of an alley where our hotel supposedly was. That cost us $25. Our
Roseanna's snazzy suit...Roseanna's snazzy suit...Roseanna's snazzy suit...

Although they wouldnt make it more fitted at the sides so i have a random sticky out bit. I couldn't be bothered arguing and we needed to send them home, so we were in a rush.
hotel was up that alley, but at the other end of it as also the street where the bus dropped us off in the first place. So we paid $25 to get to a hotel that was literally 30seconds from where we were. Bugger. 4 months in and this is the first proper rip off we've had, so we cant be doing that badly. And at least it was only $25 and not a lot more.

The hotel was nice enough, and with the one day we had we went to see the War Remnants museum. I think I'll rename it to 'lets blame America for everything museum'. (Joe, you'd like it) My understanding is that the war was between North and South Vietnam and the America pitched in after it had started, but i don't know. The museum was all about how America had committed genocide on the Vietnamese people and so on and so forth. I know that most of the stuff America is blamed for in the museum it deserves, like the Agent Orange fiasco, but there is nothing else. No history about how the war started in the first place, nothing about the Vietnamese role at all, just Americas and how it destroyed the country.

We got an overnight train to Hoi An. I like it here. Apart from the fact that you can buy cheap clothes tailor made its just a nice place generally. A little town. Yay! I've had a dress, a top, a suit and a shirt made. I'll be all snazzy when i get home. And mum, no you can't steal the dress, or anything else really. At home, being tanned is deemed fashionable, but out here its the opposite. Moisturizers advertise skin whitening on them. While getting some of the stuff made, we kept getting stroked and told how nice our pale skin was. Weird. Aside from getting stuff made, we didn't really do anything in Hoi An. We wandered around old town, which is beautiful, rustic; the type of place you would hope to discover while traveling the world. We have eaten a dish called Cao Lau, a kind of flat noodles thing that can only be got here in Hoi An.

Then we had another overnight train to Hanoi. First impressions of our guesthouse there were not good. They said they would pick us up from
The coastThe coastThe coast

this is what we saw on the train as we whizzed past it.
the train station something we were grateful for seeing as we wouldnt be getting in until 4:30am, but they weren't there. So we got a taxi. It was up a dark alley and the room, when we got in it, had beds unmade and generally looked dirty. On the morning we were due to leave on a tour, something had chewed through a bag and had a nibble on some of the fruit. Quite a big chunk was missing and I'm really glad that i didn't see what did it. The beds were ok, though when you lay on them, you squashed all the squish so they weren't squishy anymore.

The tour we went on was to Halong Bay. After a long 4hrs on a bus that couldn't have possible fit any more people and their bags in, we finally made it to the jetty. The Junk (that's a boat, not a floating pile of rubbish) we were on was nice enough. We had lunch on board before going to a cave. I don't know what it was called because he didn't tell us. It wasn't very good. I mean, it was artificial, not the cave, that was real, but they have a nice crazy paved path for tourists to walk through on, and its lit up with different coloured spotlights. Then we went kayaking around some of the islands. It was a self tour type thing, we just had to be back by a certain time. That didn't go too well either, come to think of it. We were just clear of the boats and one of the paddle things at the end of the oar just fell off in the water on me! And one of Annies was all but snapped in half. hmmm.... We managed, it was interesting. Halong bay itself is pretty. It's relaxing just cruising around. We spent the night on the boat and the room was nice but a little small, though on a boat i wasn't expecting anything big. All in all, we weren't too impressed with that tour, though it might have had something to do with the weather.

For our last day in Hanoi, we booked yet another tour, this time to the Perfume pagoda. What they failed to mention when we booked was that it was a festival. The word packed doesn't really cover it. The queue =
And zoomed in...And zoomed in...And zoomed in...

this is the same as the last pic
shuffle forward, wait a bit, shuffle forward, wait a bit. I got hit in the face with a carpet a few times. It was so busy, by the time we actually got to the pagoda it was time to head back again, not that there was much to see in the mist anyway. The boat ride to and from the pagoda was really nice though. I'm trying not to make it sound bad, because it wasn't really, but I'm failing dismally. On the whole, I've liked Vietnam and the best is yet to come, China.

Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16


Street foodStreet food
Street food

a noodle soup thing. It had lumps of something we assume was meat, but we dont know what part of what animal it was...we didn't eat them.
Sunset on the trainSunset on the train
Sunset on the train

trough a dirty window
Annie on the boatAnnie on the boat
Annie on the boat

This is the only picture i have with either of us in it
Halong BayHalong Bay
Halong Bay

View from the entrance of the cave
Lots and lots of peopleLots and lots of people
Lots and lots of people

we've just been queuing for an hour
The boatThe boat
The boat

dont we look warm

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