12.01.2012 - 15.01.2012 32 °C
We thought the traffic in Hanoi was bad… well it’s tame compared to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)! The speed has stepped it up a notch, and there are more mopeds this time, it’s a bit mental to say the least. We stayed in a guesthouse which was a bit of a weird experience as it was pretty much just a local’s house, we had to walk through their lounge and kitchen to get to the stairs which led to our room!
We headed out to have a little look around and do a do a bit of shopping. We found a place that did haircuts for less than two quid, and seeing as my T&G haircut had left me with a mop still, I decided to go for it. I’m not sure if the guy had ever actually cut hair before as his cutting style was a bit different. Both sides are probably different lengths as he never did the whole hair pull thing to see if they match, but it’s shorter, so that’s the main thing! I’m going to look like a hillbilly by the time I get home so it doesn’t really matter anyway haha! Food here doesn’t seem to be the same standard as we’ve found up north, but it’s dirt cheap and you get a lot of it. We were looking forward to finally finding some heat, though 35 degrees in a humid city is a bit of a killer. Wandering around with backpacks on is not for the faint hearted that’s for sure, it puts previous gym workouts to shame!
The following day we were up bright and early for a two day trip along the Mekong Delta. After another couple of hours on a bus we got to the port and boarded a small boat. First stop was a brick making plant which was pretty cool. They showed us how they make the bricks from clay and then fire them. We then headed to a farmers house and tried some local tropical fruits and were entertained by the locals singing and playing musical instruments in traditional Vietnamese style – it was a bit different, but enjoyable We then got taken to see how they make coconut candy which is a traditional sweet here. For someone that’s not the biggest fan of coconut, it was actually pretty nice, not overpowering at all. We also got to try coconut wine which was pretty potent, at 29% alc a couple of regular glasses of that and you’d be on the floor! We were then met by our next ride which was tuk-tuk’s. These ones were in the form of bikes with trailers attached, and off we bounced down the road. We then boarded little rowing boats which brought back memories of the canoe in Chitwan… I was squealing as it was a bit rickety again, and people were laughing at me, for a change We got to our lunch stop and had a lovely lunch of spring rolls, rice paper rolls which were hand made in front of us, fish, chicken curry and soup which was cooked on our table. It was lovely! We then headed back to the boats to meet our bus and head to our overnight one star hotel, yep just one lonely little star… though I’m sure we’ve stayed in worse so far!
It turned out that the hotel was in fact fine, the only let down was the brekkie. I still can’t stomach egg fried rice, noodles or soup at that time in the morning… Lee seems to be doing just fine though, no shock there! He’d eat curry for breakfast every day given half the chance. We headed out to the river again, this time to see the floating fruit and veg market. Blimey, what a lot of boats, and people everywhere selling and exchanging their goods. Next stop was at a fruit orchard where we saw many different fruits being grown like mango, papaya, guava, pineapple, orange, lime, banana, coconut and jack fruit, and we then got to try the fresh produce which was lovely. We took a wander down the river and saw how simple and calm their daily life is, people washing their clothes and themselves (in the river) and people relaxing in hammocks, all very tranquil. We then headed back to the boat and took a ride back to the port for lunch, before returning to HCMC.
Overall the Mekong was without a doubt how we pictured the ‘real’ Vietnam and such a world away from the crazy hustle and bustle of the cities, such a breath of fresh air!
With one night remaining in beautiful Vietnam, we ended up spending most of it in our sweat box of hotel room trying to book accommodation in our next destination. Eventually we headed out for some dinner and then returned for a mammoth Skype session
Now time for our next two flights to get us to Laos… Oh how excited I am at the prospect of more scareoplanes…