Archive for the ‘vietnam’ Category

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!

Read Full Post »

So back to December 19th and we left for Saigon, Vietnam for a few days before catching the train over to Mui Ne to relax by the sea.

Saigon is chaotic, busy, smokey and touristy. You can’t walk for the people selling you everything under the sun. You can’t cross the streets for the millions of motorbikes and cars. It’s like a very real version of Frogger trying to cross streets there. I loved it!

We took the approach of walking around Saigon and taking it all in, death street crossing and all. There a few things to walk to. The War Remnants Museum which is a catalogue of American wrong doings in the Vietnam War. They got a bunch of American war machines lying around. Wasn’t too impressed with it all, felt like a gallery of horrendous photos just for the sake of it. I can get the message in ways other than seeing mutated and very dead people, thanks very much.

Next up a short walk away was the Reunification Palace which is an unwilling tribute to horrible Communist architecture and interior design. Officially it’s where the president of South Vietnam hung out during “the war” and is where the North Vietnamese army broke through the gates in 1975 to end the war.

So we continued our walk the next day and took in the rooftop of the Rex Hotel where all the hacks hung out during the war looking at far off bombings. Army hung out there too.

From there we took a leisurely loop around back to our hotel just soaking in the exhaust fumes and the very real parts of Saigon away from the well trodden path of tourists.

This dude repelled two Mongol invasions so I think he deserves this statue

Saigon River

Views from our hotel rooftop restaurant (Elios hotel) in the backpackers area of the city.

We went to a bar one night to get a taste of the local nightlife. The Seventeen Lounge tries to burn your retinas, disentegrate your eardrums and smokify your lungs all at once. It was some experience. The live band were not that bad though especially with their Cranberries cover!
Wonder what their electricity bill was with all the Christmas decorations…

Details of our trip to Mui Ne in my next post. Coming up in a few hours..

Read Full Post »