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Vietnam

Hanoi

Rainnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

rain 14 °C
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We had heard that there was some rain expected for Hanoi when we left Hue, but what we turned up in was more like standing under a waterfall. We met a nice couple on our bus, Theresa and Terence, and we all decided to look for some accommodation together. Having got off the bus and managed to stay fairly dry, we had no choice but to get a taxi. This would be ok if the taxi hadn't been small than a mini!!! So with 2 guys, 2 girls and 4 bags and a driver we squeezed into the taxi and headed for the 'Old quarter' of Hanoi. Hanoi wasn't a good time for me. I spent most of it in bed ill with Anna having to try put up with me moaning and finding her own way round Hanoi (She is not good at directions at the best of times and with it being a big new city i don't blame her.) I did however manage to get out of bed to witness the must see attraction in Hanoi, The water puppet show. It was basically large puppets dancing around in water. It was quite good but hard to understand as it was all in Vietnamese. Luckily we had a guide book to follow. We also managed to meet up with Renate and some of her friends for dinner in a nice little cheap restaurant. Then it was back to bed for a few more days for me. Poor Anna. Also with all the rain the drains started to clog up and the smell in our room was vile, and being stuck in there didn't help me much. On our last day there i felt a little better so we decided to do something and we headed to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum on a cyclo (a 2 seated bike taxi, where we sat at the front and the guy peddled behind. Quite scary with Hanoi traffic). The cyclo driver was friendly enough, however he decided he fancied a free tour of the museum and pretended to be our tour guide. Cheeky git. We did get some funny pictures, but we don't have them anymore as you will find out later. We didn't really enjoy our time in Hanoi, mainly because of the rain and me being ill which was a shame, but we have enjoyed Vietnam and definitely recommend it to everyone (just don't go in the rainy season!!!!). Our next stop was Thailand and a return (of many) to Bangkok.

Posted by palmer830 00:29 Archived in Vietnam Tagged health_and_medicine Comments (0)

Hue

rain 17 °C
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We arrived in Hue with limited expectations, fully aware that a lot of people skip this town altogether. Unfortunately as soon as we turned up it started raining so this put a definate dampener on things (boom boom). The first day we just chilled out and went for lunch in a local cafe. The women in Vietnam seem to find Adam hilarious and the waitresses in the cafe only fuelled his growing ego! They were after his phone number but made do with two of his friends numbers instead (shall remain nameless but apologies if you receive a phonecall from some Vietnamese women late at night). In the evening we met up with Renate and a few other people that Renate had met along the way. The next day we thought we'd better get back into sightseeing mode so headed to Citadel which contained the palace where the King lived when Hue was the ancient capital of Vietnam. Unfortunately the majority of this place was bombed during the war so not a lot of it remained. However they are slowly rebuilding it and it was good to see the first thing they'd got to work on was the tennis courts...
The next day I wanted to do something a bit off the beaten track so insisted that we should check out some place called Ho Quyen which was an ancient tiger fighting arena. Sounds pretty impressive, Adam wasn't too sure but went along with it. Things didn't go to a great start when the taxi driver who was taking us there had no idea where it was. When we eventually managed to get there we discovered that it was closed for refurbishment. My chance at finding the next big thing in Hue was lost! We did however manage to peep through and see two stray chickens doing a poor imitation of a cockfight, that was about as close as we were gonna get to seeing some live action! On the upside, the taxi driver got a nice little tour himself which seems to be a recurring theme of our travels round Vietnam.
Wish we could show you the pictures of the land that once held the ancient capital or the outside of a tiger fighting arena but unfortunately our camera got stolen (more on this later) so we've lost all evidence. Next stop Hanoi!

Posted by palmer830 06:24 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Hoi An

Shopper's paradise

semi-overcast 17 °C
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We arrived in Hoi An after another horrendous bus journey on our whistlestop tour of Vietnam. It's a really pretty little town with a French feel to it. P1010659.jpg Unfortunately Hoi An has become world renowned for its sheer volume of tailors. They were literally everywhere you looked, Adam was in paradise! We didn't really know which one to go for and thought it best to bide our time and suss out which one was the best. However before we knew it we'd signed up to get a whole new wardrobe! Well a few extra additions at least! Adam got a 3 piece suit and a tweed jacket and I treated myself to a new jacket. P1010689.jpgWhile we waiting for our clothes to be made we met up with Victoria and Jeremy and Renate who we'd met in Don Det. We found a great little place to eat on the river where everything was cheap so you could just order a load of food and pick all night long. In Vietnam they give you two little bowls to share your food out into, very cute!
The next couple of days we waited for our clothes to be made and I desperately tried to keep Adam away from the shops...to no avail. Before I knew it he'd bought 2 kimono dressing gowns (matching I might add - not my idea) for a mere $20. When our clothes were ready we sent the whole lot back home along with a few other purchases we couldn't help buying. Not much else to say on Hoi An, wish I could tell you about its cultural attractions but unfortunately we got way too sidetracked by shopping to do any of that stuff! After breaking the bank here we headed to Hue where we weren't expecting too much and weren't disappointed....

Posted by palmer830 05:16 Archived in Vietnam Tagged shopping Comments (0)

Nha Trang

....and the broken camera

sunny 28 °C
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We decided to go to Nha Trang as opposed to Mui Ne cos we'd heard it was cheaper...and that was pretty much our only reason. We met up with Jenny and Steve in the evening who we'd travelled around Laos with, it was really good to see them again and felt like we were meeting up with old friends! The first day we spent deciding exactly what to do with ourselves and, in the true indecisive style we'd picked up since travelling we spent so long deciding what to do we ended up doing not much! Well we checked out the beach but that was pretty much it. The beach was ok but nothing in comparison to Cambodia and Thai beaches. The waves however were absolutely lethal, as soon as you stood up you were literally swept off your feet.
The next day we decided to go over to an island called 'VinPearl', sold as a poor mans Disney. It had vinpearl spelt out on the hill, Hollywood style, the ultimate in tack. P1010523.jpgI loved it. We went to the waterpark which was brilliant. First stop was a bit of toboggan racing for the 6 of us.P1010530.jpg Turned out the boys were ridiculously competitive and there was a fair bit of cheating going on (I'm only sure of this because I came last every time).The park also had a ride called 'Tsunami' (still a bit too recent I thought), where you slid up and down a huge wave. P1010527.jpgWe spent pretty much all day at the waterpark then decided to check out the rest of vinpearl. We found an amazing arcade with two floors of games that were all free! P1010579.jpgI found a great game under the 'erotic' section where you had to 'spot the difference' between two hunks (This is Anna writing). After a pretty exhausting day we went back to the mainland and chilled out in 'why not?' eating cheeseburgers :-)
We spent the next couple of days chilling out on the beach and preparing for Adam's birthday. I spent an hour getting lost around Nha Trang looking for a few presents for Adam to open on his birthday, managed to find a birthday card and some wrapping paper too, was a bit of a mission! On his actual birthday we went to a local mud bath and hot springs centre. Jenny and Steve had told us it was a leisurely 20minute bike ride but we got lost and by the time we got there we were exhausted! We slipped into a mud bath and thought we had it to ourselves until two guys 'Matty and Steve' turned up and joined us. I made things instantly awkward by saying 'I hope none of us have a skin disorder'. We baked in the sun for a bit to dry out the mud then went into a lovely hot bath to soak...where Matty and Steve swiftly joined us. Afterwards we went to check out the swimming pool which was a sizzling 38 degrees.P1010621.jpg In the evening we went to a restaurant we'd been to a couple of times before which a lovely guy owned who gave us free wine for Adam's birthday.P1010629.jpg We ended the evening going for a waffle and ice cream which is where the evening took a turn for the worse. Some German bastard whose name I didn't catch so I'll call him Arsehole offered to take our photo. As I went to hand the camera over to him I almost dropped the ice cream out of my hand so in a quick but fatal move i decided to rescue the ice cream...dropping our beloved camera in the meantime. The look on Adams face was as if I'd dropped a newborn baby, he was literally speechless. Unfortunately the screen is pretty much screwed but luckily its covered on our insurance so once we get to Hanoi we're getting it fixed pronto, in the meantime apologies for our shitty photos. Next stop Hoi An! On a side note we had to make sure we left Nha Trang with 4 passports due to Jeremy and Victoria deciding that they didn't need them anymore. So we agreed, for a price of course, that we would meet them in Hoi An for the exchange.

Posted by palmer830 10:22 Archived in Vietnam Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Dalat

'Gay Day'

overcast 20 °C
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Wow so glad i got to write about Dalat...mainly because it will be a short piece, but also because it included the GAYEST day of my life, but more about that later. Our first day there we decided to explore the many delights of Dalat and stumbled across a Hotel which is based, im guessing, on Alice in Wonderland. 'Crazy House' as its called has 10 rooms all themed on Animals with some pretty crazy architecture.P1010416.jpg It was quite interesting, but we passed on the opportunity to stay there for a night, agreeing that $20 was a bit steep for a room with a Lion whos eyes glowed red in the dark. Anna would not have enjoyed waking up and seeing that. We had also heard that the Architecture's friend had decided to follow suite and build a cafe on a similar style. So we headed into town to find Cafe 100 (i think it was because it had 100 ceilings). We had some very nice ice cream, which its also famous for, and then headed back to our room. Now our room in Dalat was probably one of the highlights. It was massive and had 2 King size beds and a very powerful hot shower. It was a nice bit of luxury, especially because Dalat gets very cold in the evenings. Anna actually bought herself a Hat/Scarf combination thing. She wanted to match the locals who spent all day in thick jackets and hats. During the day we didn't think it was that cold, we walked around in shorts and t-shirts, so must have looked as funny to them as they did to us.
The following day was GAY day. Now Dalat is basically where Vietnamese couples go for their Honeymoon, and has a massive lake at the bottom of town. Anna had decided that we should head down and have a go on the Pedalos. Now these weren't ordinary Pedalos, nope, they were Swan Pedalos that cheesy couples go on whilst celebrating their honeymoon.P1010477.jpg So yep we decided to have a go, and got bored after about 10 minutes of our 30 minutes we paid for so headed to shore. There we came across Tandem bikes, in Pink (must be a theme for our travels).P1010484.jpg We hired one and headed off around the lake, both hoping we didn't run into anyone we knew. We almost made it to the end, when who should happen to arrive and spot us. Yep Jeremy and Victoria. All very funny.

After the excitement of the day, we decided to head on to the warmer weather of Nha Trang, but on our sleeper bus and not with the annoyingly persistant 'Easy Riders' who said we should throw away our bus ticket and pay them $70 a day, each, to ride on the back of a bike. Er no thanks for the 20th time.

Posted by palmer830 10:15 Archived in Vietnam Tagged gay_travel Comments (0)

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