Sunday, April 6, 2008

Getting out of Vietnam

The train pulled in from Sapa at five in the morning and after a little mix up with directions we made it back to the hostel. As I was not able to get a bed until 12pm, I decided that I should do some more cultural stuff and visit uncle Ho.

Having the beginnings of a cold I wasn't in the happiest frame of mind, so when I ended up taking another wrong turn, which resulted in an additional half hour walk, and some admonishment by Vietnamese soldiers for walking on the wrong path I wasn't in greatest of moods. My mood was further challenged by the confusing cueing system required to enter the mausoleum. Then to top it all off, my cueing experenience was further frustrated by having to listen to an obnoxious man from Wales and his polish wife, deride vietnamese culture and make antisemetic comments.

Fortunately, I really enjoyed seeing Ho Chi Minh, while it is true that he does look a little waxy, just seeing the set up and the reverance with which he is held is something unique to an Australia (unless you count John Howard and his obsession with the don).

After visiting the Uncle Ho, I decided it was time for a little R&R, so turning to my lonely planet for guidance, I went to one of the recommended hotels for a massage. The massage was very pleasant, however, I was a little surprised half way through, when I received the offer of a souvenir of my visit to Hanoi. While flattered by the offer as well as the many compliments regarding my handsome appearance, I politely declined.

I returned to hostel feeling pretty relaxed, but ready to check in to my room and have a little nap. This was followed by a visit to the water puppets. I managed to con one of the girls from the hostel to join me, as I always think that it is better to do these things in twos. The show was pretty cool, although after the long day, I did struggle a bit to stay awake towards the end.

After another power nap, it was time to paint the town red with "team swag" - my roommates from the hostel. It was a pretty big night, but the hightlight was seeing one of the most unappealing pieces of dancing I have ever seen. A random irish girl (not from our hostel) appeared to be what I can only discribe as "presenting" on the dance floor i.e. she put her hands on the floor infront of her and then swayed her bits at some unfortunate guy. To top the act off she started offering to fight other girls on the dance floor. Anyway all in all it was an adventure packed day full of fun.

Then next couple of days in hanoi were relatively uneventfull, did a few more cultural things. Hung out a bit with an irish guy named Fin - who is completely besotted with melbourne - and a German girl named Christina, who is also keen to return to work in Oz. I also got to catch up again with a few of the english people I have met while spending time in Vietnam. It will be great to catch up with them all again in a few months.

The only down side is that I ended up leaving vietnam with a bit of cold and no voice.

Final aside - I really enjoyed my time in Vietnam and would recommend it anyone wanting a fun holiday. There is plenty to do and overall the people are interesting and friendly. Personally, Sapa aside, I preferred the south of vietnam to the north. Ho Chi Mihn is such an exciting and vibrant city, and there isn't the same desire to deep fry all the food, as they do in the north. I look forward to returning to Vietnam some time soon.

No comments: