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Die Hard Travellers

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


We knew we'd arrived in Saigon at the wrong time when the bus pulled up outside a bar still seething with sex tourists. Arriving in a new foreign city at 4:30am is not advisable- all normal hotels were closed so we found ourselves inhabiting a disgusting sweat box of a room. Being such hard core travellers we lasted one night in this squallor before transferring to a luxurious hotel around the corner. At a mere snippet of $4 a head, it included such amenities as air conditioning, satellite tv, fresh towels daily and a fridge to cool our beverages in. First day in Saigon was spent on official business collecting Erin Charlotte Gillham's new passport from the Embassy complete with particularly special photo. This was followed by a visit to the extremely up-market offices of Price Waterhouse Coopers where replacement phones for Tay and Erin had been Fedexed. We temporarily brightened up reception in our inappropriately scruffy beach wear- thanks JT. The official business continued as we toured the city desperately in search of a new black bra. For those who have never been to Asia, you will not appreciate how South-East Asian women are not particularly well endowed in the chest area. Many frantic cupped-hand gestures and requests for "one very big black bra!" were met with shocked bewilderment and little success.

A more cultural day followed and included some of the more conventional sights of Saigon. Visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels was an eye-opener on two accounts:

1) Anti- American feeling is still being encouraged. This was confirmed by viewing a propoganda film that referred to Americans as 'the brutal devil'.

2) We Westerners are absolutely massive. The Viet Cong fought in tunnels that were 60cm high- these have been doubled in height for the tourists and believe us it is still a tight squeeze.

There was almost another 999 moment when two members of our group failed to emerge from the original tunnels and the Guide firmly believed they were headed to Cambodia. Murph and Colly enjoyed impersonating Bond girls when they shot AK47's- pity their aim left a lot to be desired.

A Nha Trang Reunion was had when we met up with a couple of Swedish girls and took them to our favourite restaurant. The reason we loved this restaurant is simply because they added copious amounts of cheese to every dish-a chef after our own hearts. Following dinner we returned to our luxurious suite to sample some Vietnamese vodka we had chilled in our fridge. Now we fancy ourselves as connoisseurs of cheap nasty vodka (Tesco Value anyone?) from hairspray to paint stripper we've had them all. However nothing could prepare us for the aftertaste of this shocker. It had a bizarre biscuity/ nutty/ foody/ indescribable flavour which offended even our hardened palates. This was continued the next morning when Erin rose to take a morning swig of refreshing water only to discover she had gulped a mouthful of vodka- she then proceeded to spend the next 30 minutes wretching into the toilet.
So far on the trip we have discovered a particularly astute talent at selecting the worst weather days for outdoor activities. So yet again, ignoring the clouds we traipsed to the waterpark where we found a slide that is rivalled by no other. Mounting a dingy in pairs we were plunged into complete darkness. Taken by surprise there were girly screams all round- only amplified by the unexpected finale of a free-fall drop into a plunge pool. Of course following its discovery we then proceeded to repeat the experience approximately 59 times. After excited Baywatch style runs into the wave pool, we discovered it was more of a gentle swell but it made for a great stage to watch the impressive thunderstorm that ensued in the afternoon.



To satisfy our love for the Mekong River and family orientated organised day trips, we took a two day tour to the Delta. This included observing quintessential Vietnamese floating markets and of course stopping along the way to learn the fine art of making obscure Asian delicacies. The Coconut candy was a surprising treat pity the snake wine (used as Viagra) didn't go down quite so well (no pun intended). No matter how spectacular the views of the banks of the Mekong, they were nothing compared to the events that transpired on our journey home. After three hours on a sweaty bus we were feeling fairly fatigued and subdued- this would not last long. Our guide who had been fairly uncharismatic and cranky throughout our trip suddenly came to life in what can only be described as an impromptu concert. He stood at the head of the bus microphone in hand and announced he would sing for us a traditional Chinese folk song. Our ears immediately pricked up- this was unusual but we had seen nothing yet. After a pretty ropey rendition of the Chinese folk song (to which the bus sat- a group of silent and confused spectators). The guide then began to belt out a variety of songs (mostly unrecognisable). Our personal favourite was undoubtedly the audience participation number 'We Will Rock You' to which he became most animated and urged the bus to clap and sing along with him. He showed Gary Barlow-esque song-writing ability when he spelt the word c-o-c-o-n-u-t to the classic tune of 'Freres Jacques'- a moving performance.

After a tearful farewell to our hotel and Vietnam we boarded a bus to the Kingdom of Cambodia.




permalink written by  Murph, Tay, Colly and Erin on May 19, 2006 from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
from the travel blog: The Smug Adventures of Murph, Tay, Colly & Erin
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first and foremost i must apologise to my beautiful sister helsy for not commenting sooner. the blog has served as something to look forward to for me during this boring month of summer school. but because of lack of internet access i have not commented until now..(or until i get a threatening email from the weaselette trying to make me feel guilty).

the blog is great and you all sound like youre having a wonderfuol time and living the good life. i Hope u have a great time in camboda and continue to make us jealous of your adventres!!

i am returnign to the parents and my cat next sunday and will go visit joey for england game so ltos to look forward to altho wil be weird not having the swordfish nosed sister around!!

continue to enjoy yourselves....missing you lots helsy!!! keep the blog going and be safe!

from your handsome brother (obviously the weasel)

permalink written by  The one and only WEASEL!!! on May 20, 2006


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permalink written by  avnergarbi54 on February 9, 2015

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