We’ve had a brief but very enjoyable visit to Vietnam. We got a bus to take us to Ha Tien, which is the closest town to the border with Cambodia. After a painful, long and hot exchange at the border, (no fault of ours, some other wombats had failed to get a Visa, so we all had to wait while they sorted it out), we then lost a pen, while filling in our forms and having our temperature taken, to a border agency guy, who was desperate to get hold of our Bangkok Oriental Residence pen! Mitch said it wasn’t worth the fight, I was quite upset! Anyway, we got on a boat that took us over to Phou Quoc, a Vietnamese island off the coast of Cambodia, but only accesible via Vietnam. The boat was horrendous, TV screens blasted out what can only be described as the Vietnamese X-Factor, the problem was the video wouldn’t play and kept skipping…..I think we had the same song on repeat, full blast, for most of the hour and a half journey, thank god that’s all it was!
We were kicking ourselves as we neared the island, we had booked ourselves into a remote AirBnB cottage and had no address, no Vietnamese money and no way of letting the host know we were arriving late (and at which Port)! When we got off the boat to the usual chaos, we were so relieved to be picked out from the hordes by our lovely host, Ly. She guessed the right Port and the time and luckily there is never anyone also traveling around with a 3 year old, so we are quite noticeable. However, things got a little complicated when we were told that the road to our cottage was un-passable to vehicles, so we could go only so far before having to walk the rest. This would also mean we couldn’t really leave the place for a week. Deciding that this would be no bad thing, Freda needed some rest and this would prevent us from trying to see any more of the island, what then followed was not a pleasant journey to the house, but when we made it covered in mud, hot and hungry, we were all very happy with what we found.
We spent the rest of the week here, making sand castles, collecting shells and doing very little……
with only a few minor events;
a) the first full day when the toilet blocked and sewage started coming up through the bathroom floor tiles! Not the best, but after a lot of attempts by Ly, her brother and other random men, it seemed little could be done. We worked out that flushing only when absolutely necessary sorted out the issue! Unfortunately, all 3 of us had bad tummies in the first few days, but that’s maybe a little too much info!
b) the vast array of wildlife that chose to occupy our cottage with us……..our favourite was the largest gecko I’ve shared a house with,
least favourite was the mouse who jumped out of the kitchen cupboard over my shoulder, he jumped meters…..it was quite impressive, or maybe the small gecko that decided to wake us all up about 5am with its screeching. After this week though, we feel we have become quite accustomed to living with nature. On the last night Mitch and I swept up a massive invasion of thousands of marching ants tracking right through the middle of the house. They had come in completely unnoticed while we watched the first three episodes of Designated Survivor with Kiefer Sutherland, very good by the way if you’ve not watched it yet, one of Netflix’s!
c) we decided to get a taxi to another beach, which is meant to be the best on the island, hoping the road had improved! It had not, it took a long time to get out of that one!
We did get there in the end, the beach was very nice,
but unfortunately for some reason I spent the majority of the day being sick, maybe too many mice and cockroaches had been crawling on me in the cottage!
We took the rough with the smooth and this place was worth it, the island is beautiful and our host Ly was so unbelievably kind, a little too much, it made both Mitch and I feel very uncomfortable in our typically British way, not being able to let anybody do anything for us. It was really great though for all of us just to hang out for a week spending our days walking down the beach, just us and the fishermen. Ly, our host was friends with the owners of a small resort with a pool so we trekked down there most days,
sometimes the tide was a little too high so it wasn’t so much of a beach walk but a sea walk. Mitch had just nearly stepped on a very large snake, so he was a little grumpy.
Few firsts for Freda here, she found a passion for coconut tree climbing…so we had to stop at most of them.
…and I know it will be frowned upon, but don’t worry it was only a little way and was due to the fact no cars could get all the way to our house, Freda’s first ride on a moped, she loved it!
We were all sad to leave, although I’m not going to miss that pesky mouse. We even devised many home made traps but couldn’t get the bloody thing!
Next stop Ho Chi Minh City, a quick and rather unpleasant plane ride, mainly because the plane was just painted white and looked a little grubby! I know you might say, “what’s the probelm hey?” but it kind of seemed like they thought the plane was so old and crappy, that they couldn’t even be bothered to brand it! Anyway, we made it and we’ve had two days here and I have to say I really like HCMC! Mitch reks its his favourite major SE Asia city, and I might agree. Although not beautiful at all, it is very pleasant to spend time in. We had a great view of the sprawling city from the roof of our apartment building.
We had a walk around Saigon, taking in the sights from the massive Ben Thanh Market to the amazing Reunification Palace, where the American/Vietnam war came to end on the 30th April 1975. An amazingly preserved building, as if times stood still in the 70s, the history is so recent you can almost feel it in the walls, it’s very eerie.
Afterwards, every parents dream(!), we stumbled upon 3 Playgrounds in a row, all while having a nice stroll through some of the parks. So, that was most of the afternoon done, thanks Freda! I would like to have stayed longer, I love the food here and the city has a lot to offer.
But it was not to be as we had to head off to Japan, very excited and a tad nervous. We have started to feel quite at home here in South East Asia, and I have no idea what we have in store for us in Japan?
Bye bye Indo-China, we’re going to miss you!