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Home Sweet Home.

So my little cherry pickers.

Just when you thought it was all over it isnt, well technically it is but i still have a couple of photos left from my last night, last day and trip home via Doha.

I was sitting in the hotel on Saturday and there was about 2 hours left before the taxi was picking me up to go to the airport when i thought to myself as one does,,, lets go down to Ben Than Market one last time.

It sounded like a good idea at the time but then just as i gets there the heavens let it rip and it thundered down for about an hour. I mean thundered down.

Thats when i caught sight of  this kid.

If you cant beat the rain have a shower in it.

Get away, its my shower.

Pass the soap mate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aw well, shame to let a good downpour go to waste.

Oh the night before, i was supposed to be going to a karaoke bar and it turned into drinks by the side of a road and being harrased by the night street sellers… One of them, a little kid was great, about 10 years old, singing and dancing and high fiving everyone as he sold tons after tons of useless junk.. he was good entertainment..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wanna buy a DVD?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next morning was spent nursing the hangover of hangovers with lots of these

Ahhh Latte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And plenty of these.

75000 dong for a bottle of water? you cheeky bugger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, it was all good.

So, haircut. After the downpour i went for a haircut, thats a trip on its own. You walk in the door and about 12 young ladies greet you and sit you down, give you something to drink and while one of them massages your neck and shoulders the others are planning with you what would look best for your head…

The hairdresser then comes over and asks what we have decided and he does the work. After he is finished comes the washing of the hair and a really nice and relaxing head massage,,,,, price? 150000 dong. £5 or $7.5. Like how cool is that, you go to a hairdressers here in Sweden and its in out and dont come back till your married…. and that will cost you £50 or $75. Unfortunately i didnt get a picture of this so you will just have to take my word for it.

Taxi to the airport,, woo hoo,, you know the nodding dog your father always had in the back window of the car…..

Anyway this one was a horse and it was on the dash board and it was massive.

Sugarfoot

Hard to see the horse nodding on a picture but beleive me, every time the driver hit a pothole the horse looked like he was at the headbangers ball.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me sitting in the cab looking pretty cool sporting a new haircut.

£5 for a haircut and the silly grin comes for free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So the next step was a 8 hour flight to Doha, Doha for those still not in the know is usually 40c in the shade and is situated in the United Arab Emirates. The plane landed at midnight local time and it was so hot you couldnt breath. We were all shuffled into the terminal out of the heat, the air conditioning was on. For the first 5 seconds i thought thank God for air conditioning, for the rest of the night i was like ffs its bloody freezing in here and i have to stay here for 15 hours? So the next day i got myself a visa and took my sorry shape into the town centre of Doha to a really nice shopping mall…….

The route was nice and the beach front looked fantastic, construction everywhere and the place looks really fresh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me looking a little tired and very cold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me looking a bit tired and a bit cold.

 

I like Qatar Airlines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that my friends puts a full stop on this one but before i post this.

One thing i can say is, i really was looking forward to this trip and you know when you really look forward to something so much and when it doesnt meet your expectations you just get so disappointed, well i can honestly say that Vietnam reached & surpassed every expectation i had. The people, the friendliness, the hospitality, the beauty of the countryside, the untouched nature  still waiting to be explored or as the holiday operators want, exploited. If you want an adventure, go there now before its too late. I already saw in some places big hotel chains building resorts. Thats a sign of whats to come, good for the locals in one sense as it creates jobs but in the long run they will never be able to go back to this nice and somewhat naive way of life they have now which is not cluttered by material matters like who has the nicest scooter. They have what they have now and they make do with it and pretty much most of them are happy with their lot in life. Could it be better for them? Sure but it wont come over night and once the bucks start flowing in will they trully be more happy? I hope so for their sake.

I met a lot of nice people and made a lot of friends on this trip. I learned a bit about myself and a little about a part of the world i had only read about or saw on tv or in films. Does this trip make me an expert on Vietnam? Definately not.

I didnt do Vietnam, I visited such a small part of the country and something tells me that this country has even more to offer than what i have blogged about.

To put it into laymans terms, I bought a scratch card and have only just scratched one of the nine fields and that my dear possums is why i will be going back, i need to see whats under the rest of the scratch card.

Till then, toodle pip and take care.

Vietnamese Flag.

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Possums.

I have just woke up and belive me, i have a headache the size of Wyoming. The karaoke wasnt really karaoke, it was more, sit at a bar and watch the world go by.

So i leave for home today and its a long flight with a very long lay over in Doha.

This has been a great vacation and it is one I will remember for a long time.

I really do recommend that if anyone would like to try something new, visit Vietnam.

The people, food, scenery, hospitality, all fantastic.

The hotels were really nice, cheap too.

Its also very easy to get around here and get around i did.

I think in these two weeks, I have ridden on a Cyklo, Taxi, Motor Boat, Rowing Boat, Horse (Remember Sugarfoot?) Bicycle,  Train, Scooter (Wooo Hooo)

I have seen and been able to share some amazing sights and experiences,, Balcony,, lol. Ha Long Bay, Hoi An,,, lots of great memories to chew over.

I think My fave place has to be,,,, Hoi Anh just because of how hospitable and friendly the people are. The most magnificent has to be Ha Long bay.

The most intersting was possibly my first night in Ho Chi Minh and the shortest stay is by far the 30 minutes i stayed in Hanoi.

I have the better part of today to wander around and if anything happens lke a massive pile up with the 8,000,000 scooters I will grab a picture and post it. same goes for Doha and the rest of the trip home.

But for now, i will post this and we will see what happens.

You lot be good and take care.

Oh. What about the little man in the boat?

Well, i kinda failed my mission and thats ok. It just means I will need to try harder to find him the next time i come here and there will be a next time.

However, I did manage to get this picture. The little man in the boat had the day off when i came by, his wife was taking care of the boat and was cleaning out his fishing gear for him.

This is by far my fave picture.

My fave picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that was it more or less.

Thank you all for joining me on this trip. I hope it was as much fun for you as it was for me.

Dont delete this blog though, there are parts of this country i didnt get to and i really want to visit those parts.

Part 2 of the search for the little man in the boat will come soon I hope.

Take care all.

R.

Rightio my little clam pickers basking on a hot summer day.

So i lost my camera, no big deal.

I have a little stock saved up also a couple i took on someone elses camera.

The first of these pictures are apartments in HCM, it also applies to houses in general in VN.

Property is very expensive here, well more to the point it is not the property that is expensive its the land they build the houses on.

So, where as we would buy a piece of land and build a 2 floor villa, they buy a narrow piece of land and build long and up. Very few windows on the sides of the houses because they know that sooner or later someone will buy the 15 yards beside their house and build upwards.. So, long and narrow with windows only at front and back. Works for them.

Ben Than market,, you can buy just about anything here from trinkets to really nice fakes, Ralph Loren and Burberry being amongst the fave rags here. The locals in the market dont really like to be photographed,, I wonder why. Anyway i was stopped a few times and asked not to take any more pictures. No problem.

Food. Yummy,, a nice subject.

Everything here is well prepared and most of it actually tastes a little better than back home. Vegetable soup has a nice little chilli swing in it. Chicken with Onoins, doesnt have so much of the Onion flavour and more Chicken. Same with Beef and Onio.

You get the obligatory Soya and Chilli sauce with everything,, just to spice it up you know.

Spinach, incredibly fresh, Shrimp and Chicken soup, strange combo? It works and you can differenciate the two tastes, its not like they merge into something undescribable.

Honey tea,,, this picture was from the Mekong, with the honey farm. She made tea with honey, ok nothing new there but the honey was fresh from the hive and it was delicious, twist if lime,, now there is the dealio right there, i dont think we would do the lime thing and make a squish of Lemon instead… This tea was amazing.

Clams,, yes i tried them, this meal was in Ha Long and as fresh as it gets.. Yummy.

The intersting one is the picture of fruit, Pineapple, Mango and Something else,,, (sorry cant remember it all) Anyway, in the small dish is salt and chilli, you take the fruit piece and dip it in the salt and chilli,,, It really brings out the flavour of the fruit and gives your gob a new sensational taste. Yummylicious folks.

Chicken and Rice, basic staple diet of the Vietnamese.

They eat really well for breakfast and lay off as the day goes on. Its not a wonder they are all so slim and slender,, we do it backwards and have a great big evening meal. They have all day to work off the breakfast whereas we only have a few hours to work off the evening meal.

Then of  course there was the torrential storm.

I knew this was the rainy season but to be honest, apart from the Balcony escapade i have seen very little rain. Till yesterday that is. it was belting down for about an hour. So i decided to go out on the 10th floor balcony to take a picture, yada yada,, the rest is history and my shin looks like i have been playing Soccer against Lochee Harp.

Anyway there is a couple of pictures of the rain. Dont ask me why, because i am sure you lot have had your fair share of rain this year already. But i discovered something,, when the downpour comes, the scooters disappear, only the hardened scooter riders stayed on the roads.. Kamikazes.

The rain was at 4pm yesterday and it just got pitch black for about an hour. Then daylight then the night darkness.. Strange feling.

Free parking, in a city of 10,000,000 with 8,000,000 scooters, you need a break sometime.

Anyway, good news,, I bought a new camera.. 1,900,000 Dong, Woo hoo sounds like a lot of cash but its only about $100, i know i am a cheap bugger,, so maybe i will be able to get some pics from the karaoke bar tonight,, Y.M.C.A….. lol….

Well possums, the invetible happened.

I lost my camera,,, but lets not lose hope, I still have two more days here in HCM, plenty of time to buy a little camera.

A little bit later I will post some pictures I have been saving of some VN food, they do have a great menu here.

Ranging from vegetarian to the wierd and maybe not so wonderful, but the dishes i will post are all basic meals you could find in a western restaurant but with a VN twist. Great food, happy campers.

Tonight I will try out the local disco, I know what your thinking.

Its more a club karaoke bar thing. Hey. When in Rome do as the Romans do.

Life is good even if i am one camera down.

Oh as for the little man in the boat,,, I dont think i will find him in the karaoke bar but i am still searching.

Have faith my friends, have faith.

By the way, i did another balcony shindig,,, it was really torrential rains yesterday and I went out to the balcony to try to catch the lightning,, as the door was closing i ran back up the stairs to catch it before it closed and slipped in the wet marble stairs and done my shin in something terrible.

But as they say in Kentucky.

Stop being a whimp, Its far from your butt, you wont sit on it.

 

Pictures later possums.

Vietnamese beauty.

 

Ok so the pictures i was saving, here they come.

Vietnamese females are very proud girls and they love to dress up, not over the top but be very proud and respectable. You will often see them in a dress and heels early in the morning. But this blog isnt about the fashion status of VN women, it is about their national dress.

I love it, they look so proud and beautiful when they take pride when wearing their national dress and they wear it often, different colors and combinations.

Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Mekon Delta

 

Good morning my Santas little helper type people.

Well, its nearing the end as you all know i have now travelled from the South to the North like i said i would and we have laughed a little cried a little and then laighed a litle more when i got stuck on the roof…..

Lol, its been fun a lot of fun folks, it has also been a bit educational too. But before we close the doors, there is still another few days left to go and i did promise you a special collection of pictures i have been saving… I will maybe post them tomorrow.

But for today…

I am back in Ho Chi Minh, met at the airport and as you can see by the second picture, Im a kinda big deal around these parts. lol.

Its pretty strange, I didnt really think i would be happy to be back in HCM but i was, even with the controlled madness of all the scooters. Its a fun city and a very much alive city. Its fun to be here.

So today i took a trip down the Mekon River to a part of the Mekon Delta.

The Mekon River for those of us not in the know starts its journey in Tibet and flows through, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and then through the length of Vietnam, this was the light brown river we saw from the plane last week. It then disappears out into the South China Seas and takes a lot of stories and history with it. The VN people living around the Mekon and the Delta, live and die by the river and never venture far away from it. The delta is home to some 8,000,000 people and judging by what i saw today it isnt an easy life they lead but once again they seem to be happy with their lot in life and just get on with it.

Lots of different adventures today,, Motor Boat, Rowing Boat, Horse (Me and Sugarfoot are good friends now, we werent when it took off like a dog out of trap 6 but we squared up our differences and get along quite nicely now), Bicycle, Honey farm, Candy making, Snake (Yuk) and of course a rich assortment of local flowers. Oh as you will see i traded in the Crash helmet for a more suited attire for the Mekon Delta, its all about setting trends you know.

The bicyle, we were like 10 people making a bike ride through the Jungle and my chain fell off. I had to fix it but by the time i got it up and running again the group had left me. I was like, wtf another roof story in the making? Lucky for me, they came back or i may have still been stuck out there.

At the time of writing this i am back in HCM, going to have a shower and head out for some food.

You lot take care and enjoy the pictures. I think the snake wanted to get to know me better,,, Yuk!

 

Life is good and it is plentyful.

R.

Ok, last bacth of pictures from ha Long bay, i know some are doubles but,,,,

Oh and some nice flowers….

 

 

And thats about it for Ha Long Bay.

I wonder where i will end up tomorrow.

Toodle pip y’all.

 

Some more pictures from the bay.

 

Some more in the next one…..

 

 

Good morning my little shoe shine people.

I hope this blog finds you all in extremely good health. Me? oh I am glad you asked,, well apart from being totally exhausted i managed to burn my shoulders big time yesterday,, but it was all worth it.

The bay in itself is home to around 2000 islands mainly made of Limestone and the bay has been adopted into Unesco World Heritage Places, not once but twice, 1994 and 2000.

To let you know where it is, it is rouhgly 200 Kilometers from China and right at the North of Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin.

The town of Ha Long is a very  nice little town very similar to any small town on the mediteranian. Lots of sea food restaurants and the usual markets and scooters, beep beep.

The trip out was very early in the morning, the boat to us to a cave first, it was very impressive allthough I am not really that into caves.

After the cave we went further into the bay. The sun was very hazy making it difficult for good pictures plus I managed to pick up something on the lens of my camera giving it a little black line. Sounds like i am making excuses now for bad pictures but in all fairness no pictures can do this bay any justice.

These pictures are a little mixed up but there are some of thre cave, the bay, the little flowting fishing village where they locals on my boat bought in abundance,, what they bought was cooked on the boat. There were also smaller boats coming up to us selling, fruit, seafood…

 

Beauty on Earth.

 

Ok possums, it took me ages to upload this lot, there will be more in a few hours,,

See you later, I need to go get my burnt shoulders rubbed.

 

Ha Long bay.

 

Happy campers, walmart shoppers, munchkins, possums.

I really dont know what to say.

I am speechless. I have never experienced anywere in this world so beautiful as this place.

Its extremely difficult to put into words what i felt as I could see this bay unravel itself  through the sunny haze.

There will be pictures but unfortunately the pictures dont do this bay any justice.

I can say this though, when I see natural beauty like this, I know I am alive and I know i want more.

I want you all to be here. I want you all to experience what i experienced today.

Once again the vietnamese people have shone through and shown me just what hospitality and new found friendship  means. I used to think Scottish people get it. The Vietnamese really get it.

Life is good, tomorrow Ha Long bay, pictures, I am sunburnt and i need to process todays impressions, if i cant do this place justice in pictures, i want to think about how i can best explain this place in words.

 

Toodle pip.,