Archive for January 8th, 2009

After arriving back in Honkers on the 31st, I had an idea to go to a local hotel to bring in the New Year. One quick call to the hotel and I felt it was the best option and within stumbling distance from our apartment. The party was on the 34th floor of The Excelsior Hotel in a bar/club called TOTT (talk of the town). It had good views of the IFC2 building which was the main focal point for the fireworks display at midnight. There was a soul group playing stuff and we got two free glasses of champagne to bring the New Year in.

Wasn’t the cheapest option, the cheapest option would have been to stand down on the harbour front and drink from a paper bag and take in the fireworks. But we were warm and could drink out of glasses.


reflection on window didn’t help here

Video of fireworks and countdown at midnight. Hello ’09!

We stayed till 2am and then wandered home and the streets were already empty after being jam packed with revellers only hours earlier congregating around Times Square and Victoria Park.

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So we grabbed a 4 hour train ride to Mui Ne which is a long strip of beach frequented mostly by kite surfers due to the strong winds blowing in off the South China sea.
The train ride was bearable, seats looked like they were used by the entire population of Vietnam. Twice. Saw a lot of the countryside and a lot of the outskirts of Saigon. People’s houses back up right on to the train track and usually have no doors so you can look in at everyone’s life; families crowding around the tv, motorbikes parked in their living rooms and lots of people just crashed out on hammocks or beds.
Every few miles the train passes a street where dozens of motorbikes are stopped waiting for the train to pass.
Dirty windows on the train made for poor pics.

Don’t worry, he was fine!

We stayed at the White Sands Resort for 7 nights and did nothing but lounge, relax, eat and rink. It was great. Our bungalow type thing was right on the water. The staff were friendly although their English was poor it didn’t really matter!

View from our balcony at sunrise


We had a Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve and were entertained by traditional Vietnamese music and the head chef performing as Santa and a boogie master.

Note Colin before head being shaved. After-shot a bit below.

He had a tie for me and a scarf for Sharyn. Lovely.

And this is him as a Disco King. Hilarious!

Our musical accompaniment for our Xmas dinner. Give me Jingle Bells any day.

Colin after head shave. Sharyn isn’t naked.

As our resort was out in the relaxing middle of nowhere we took a taxi in to the main strip of Mui Ne a couple of times for a bite to eat. They welcomed all us (sic)!

And so after 7 days of relaxation we headed back to Saigon to stay one night before catching an early flight back to Honkers.

Looking out of the train station at Phan Thiet which is the biggest town beside Mui Ne to get the train to Saigon.

We stayed in a nice hotel called First Hotel chosen because of proximity to airport. We had dinner at the hotel restaurant which surrounded three sides of the hotel pool. Only swim there if you wanna show off your rocking body. At the time we were there it was only being used by thirsty bats which swooped down to grab a few sips of chlorine flavoured water. Silly bats.

And that was that. Vietnam. It’s a quicker flight form Honkers to Hanoi which is in the north. It’s said to be friendlier and cheaper so that could be worth a return trip. Never once did I think I was in a communist country and traces of the war is found only in garish tourist traps whether it be propaganda movies at tourist sites or silly military hats or Good Morning Vietnam t-shirts at the markets.

Next up for us…..who knows! But we have Chinese New Year coming up on the 23rd Jan and we then we are off work for two more weeks. Yes!

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