Thursday, 8 July 2010

Good Morning Vietnam!


Well, the bus journey to Vietnam from Cambodia ended up taking 16 hours (it was dire) but once we arrived in this AMAZING country I knew it was instantly worth it- I love it here!

We first stayed in Ho Chi Minh city; formerly known as Saigon, and once we'd mastered the art of crossing a road heaving with motorbikes (it's all about keeping a steady pace!) we settled right in. I even tried my first traditional shrimp and pork spring roll, which was nice and fresh but I unfortunately prefer the much less healthy deep-fried versions to the rice paper ones favoured here.

On our first full day we visited the Cu Chi tunnels used by the ingenious Viet Cong guerrillas in the Vietnamese war. We learned about their lives, clothing and weapons (including cleverly making their bombs from their enemies bomb materials and designing brutal booby traps), tried their food (some potatoey substance dipped in nuts with weak tea) and crawled through their infamous undergound tunnels.

That night we ate shrimp noodles ($1) on the market and had a night out in the city, which was fabulous until we were getting fried rice at 3am and my friend's bag was swiped by a passing motorbike thief!

The next day we visited the War Remnants Museum, where the graphic images and shocking information about the Vietnam war really affected me and my friends. Photographs of American soldiers holding up the heads of the Vietnamese dead, burned victims of Napalm bombs and disfigured children of civilians gassed by Agent Orange were among the most affecting, and alongside the propaganda posters, torture stories, prison cell replicas, the place had a strange feeling of sadness that clashed with the contemporary setting.

That night we experienced our first sleeper bus; rows of double-decker reclining leather seats that as it turns out were not so great for getting a good nights sleep! Arriving in Nha Trang at 7am we dumped our bags and headed straight for the gorgeous beach until the midday sun and our drooping eyelids meant we had to go and nap until 5pm, then we got up and hit the town for another fab meal and a few cocktail buckets!

Today we went to Vinpearl; a great waterpark/aquarium/themepark island reached by cable cars, with white sandy beaches, animal shows, water fountain displays and more fast food restaurants than you could shake a chopstick at. Personal highlights include being mesmerised by the huge stingrays, eating too many cornettos and screaming all the way down the waterslides like I used to as a wee nipper.

Tomorrow we are hitting the beach (I'm finally moving on from SPF 50 to 30) before getting another sleeper bus to Hoi An where we will hopefully get some lovely clothes made for cheapy-cheap! Off to do some internet reearching now, net-a-porter here I come!

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