Good night’s sleep. After breakfast we wandered down the road towards the Ho chi Minh complex. Stopped for a couple of limes from a little old lady. She charged us a dollar – rip off number one, but who cares for a dollar. Stopped by the lake where a street vendor tried to sell us fruit. Said no so she slipped her baskets and hat on to the Responsible Adult for a photo opportunity. Then sold us bananas and pineapple for$5. Rip off two(We had better learn fast)
Then on to the Ho chi Minh complex where we found it is a major holiday so there were rather a lot of people. Too many for us to go into anything. Also got eyed up by the police and military for lingering with intent to take a picture.
After lunch, a siesta and then cocktails we went for a walk to Puku cafe where the cool kids hang out.The walk was interesting. Petty sure that there were a couple of puppies on spits for sale. Some of the alleys were dark and we got lost once or twice. Some of it was a bit scary and we couldn’t help but wonder if we hadn’t made a big mistake. But we got there in the end. Food was good, cocktails were good and we had a hooka for pud.
Up early for a nice breakfast before heading off to the airport. Bino had arranged a driver for 300,000 which is less than half price. At the airport,the driver wanted 50,000 for airport fees. We thought this was steep, but handed it over. Then he tried to hit us up for the fare. So I got the phone out and he changed his mind. So I figured he ripped us off for 50,000 but as I was going to tip 100,00, he lost out.
Terrible flight with annoying tourists and a very sick baby, but the hotel had a car waiting so it was quick to the hotel.
The staff are very friendly and have much better English than in Saigon. It is an older hotel in the old quarter and we love it. Bit of a walk in the arvo to buy supplies. This is the aquarium street and of course the fish are amazing. Bought vodka, juice, chips, milk and ciggies for$5.
Drinks at the hotel restaurant. It was blowing a gale outside and air-conditioning was off inside so we had room service dinner. Food and drinks are a bit more expensive here and not as good as other parts of Vietnam. But still cheap in comparison to Oz.
So today Bino arranged a private tour for us with Tu as a guide. We started at Thap Ba, a popular Hindu Temple. Fortunately we got there early before the tourist crush. It is a large complex that sold some groovy pottery but the problem is taking it home.
Then on to Lin Urg Pagoda. It’s very nice but we’re getting a bit used to them.There were a few orphan boys there.
From there to Tien Du which was terrific. It’s out of the way and very beautiful. We met two were orphan boys who were very, very nice. They showed us their English school work. The boys had the keys to the Temple and showed us around.
For lunch, Tu wanted me to go to a floating fishing hut.I did via a very small pontoon. She then took us to her house where her sister cooked the soft shelled crabs I bought. Yum. But by that time, the heat was getting to us, so it was back to air conditioning, pool and happy hour.
What an improvement a good night’s sleep makes. Breakfast is always a bit of an adventure but they serve good tucker here. After breaky, we went for a wander, saw the Tour de Nha Trang with tandem bikes and ended up at a big store. The Responsible Adult got some groovy pants Vietnamese style and a great top. My choice was a shirt made from Bamboo. Very light and comfortable. Back to the hotel for lunch. Had a go at Jellyfish salad and will never have to eat that again. Arvo spent at the pool and wandering. We ended up back at the shop for another pair of pants and found a nice watch. There was a small problem with the sales person as she insisted that the watch go on upside down. The Responsible Adult kept taking it off and putting it on the right way, but the girl would just take it off and put it on upside down again. In the end she was way louder than us so we gave in.
Dinner was a pizza and some ice cream with plenty of cocktails by the pool. Our favorite waitress, Phuong was kind enough to change the music video off of Justin Bieber when I made a face.
Nice Pagoda down the street
Round the pool without Justin Bieber
Checkout was at noon and our flight was at 4pm. The Responsible Adult was unwell in the morning and I should have arranged late checkout but Saigon airport is decent so I thought we’d be comfortable. But a few hours on an airport chair with the temperature set to pretty warm was a bit tough. So by the time we got to Nha Trang, we were too tired to think about Bino’s good advice to take the bus and just jumped into the first taxi we saw. $30 later we got to the hotel in an unhappy state of mind. The receptionist seemed to be officious and I got a bit cranky. I must try to remember that they have to deal with lots of different languages and that my Queensland accent is not the easiest. Anyway, we got to happy hour and that improved things a lot. Lovely lady Phuong (I think) made it all better.
It was ANZAC day in Oz and fortunately Bino had kindly given us a beautiful bouquet of flowers for our anniversary so we gave them a second life in dedicating them to the diggers. I lit a lot of incense and got into trouble with the Responsible Adult. The flowers then went to the staff who were really very good to us.
Well the day started very well. The Responsible Adult visited Mr Johnny for a doo then off to Mai Lam for a rather expensive handbag. Mai Lam is an amazing artist so it’s a piece of functional art and we are both rather pleased with it. Then lunch at Intercontinental restaurant. Very bloody swish. I’m not sure that we would be allowed in something that posh in Oz. Back to the hotel where the arvo went downhill. We went to the bank to try to get some serious Dong but were sent out to the ATM where you can get$100 with a crap exchange rate and big fees.
Then off to the Peoples Glorious Post Office for a real experience. It started at the first counter where they pack your goods. No pre-packing here, they have to hold everything up for all to see while they decide whether to let your stuff out of the country. There was about a 20 minutes wait while they checked with the chairman about a small art poster I bought before they said it could go. It’s a communist propaganda theme so I would have thought that they would be happy to spread the word. They said no to the CD we bought from the band on the tourist boat. I was going to tell them to keep it, but the Responsible Adult kept me in check. They charged$1.50 which seemed very reasonable, but that was just the packing. So off to counter 5 where we went through the next step. Big problem sending stuff to ourselves when we aren’t at home. We were told that our local PO would return it. Tried to explain that Russell and all the mob at Maleny PO know us and know we are in Vietnam and would deliver the stuff to our friends for us but they disagreed. So we settled on sending the stuff by sea so will get it in 4months. Then she wasn’t happy about some jewelry so packing man had to come and open the box again. Our stuff was again shown to the mob before she charged us$25 postage. We intend to pay excess baggage on future purchases.
At the very expensive handbag shop
A beautiful morning in Phu Quoc with a lovely breakfast and early morning swim. But it was time to say goodbye to paradise (and a really good chef) and return to Saigon. The flight was in an older prop engine plane so I could see better. It seems that every inch of ground is under cultivation.
Once in Saigon we proceeded to the Faifoo hotel through the worst traffic we have seen. The hotel is located in Binh Thanh district well away from the
tourist area. It is an older building with local architecture.
For dinner we went out for street food with Bino. Pretty good food. Then on to Chinatown for the drink of 31 flavors before visiting a temple then home to bed.
This morning at breakfast, a staff member recommend visiting Sao Beach. I did mention we have some of the best beaches in the world, but he pointed out that this is a white sand beach so I had to take the Responsible Adult there. We booked a cab for the day rate $50 which does seem expensive for Vietnam but is cheap as chips for Australia. It was surely worth the money to see a beach like we see on the net. The beach furniture was$1.50 for 2 and includes the shower. Beer was ice cold and at normal prices. Of course you can drink on the beach.
Apart from the beach, there isn’t a lot to see. We asked to see the Coconut Prison thinking that it was some ancient relic but it’s an American POW camp. Fortunately it was closed so we spent 10 minutes looking at the outside and moved on to the local Pagoda. We know the system now so paid our respects to Buddha and prayed. The driver recommended(via sign language)that I should try the local drink being sold at a stall. It was full of weird looking stuff but I want the local experience so had a go. Turns out to be a pudding, Sago, Seaweed and Glutinous Rice. Weird but filling for.50c.
Then on to the Pearl Farm where the Drivers girlfriend works. They know their reputation is bad so they start by opening an oyster to show you a pearl. Compared to Darwin the prices are very very cheap. The Responsible Adult tells me that the jewelry part isn’t too good but for the price we bought two pieces. We had no cash or cards(cards are pretty useless in Vietnam) so they said just take it and we will come to the resort later for payment. Cool.
Then back to Chen sea for a Spa treatment, happy hour(ecstatic hour for us) and an excellent meal before laying on the beach to watch the moon. Heaven.
Biggest problem today was where to lay down. We had enough energy to try various lounges and the only one that doesn’t work for us is the double hammock. Something to do with weight displacement. The Responsible Adult had a couple of Spa treatments and will be going back for more. Thought I may post pictures of the room.
Did I mention they have Happy Hour? Very happy.
Well it feels good to be leaving Saigon but we had an amazing time there. Today was the only day we don’t have a big itinerary so we figured we should take a look at the Banh Tranh market. We went early, about 7.30, still very hot. The markets were just settling up. 2 aisles were enough. While it’s for local people as well, it’s mainly just over priced tourist stuff. So we went back to the hotel and watched the passing parade. We could do that for hours but the street touts are very bloody annoying. It seems that we were in the red light district. All those foot massage places with the attractive young girls may just offer other services.
Sue and Bino met us at the airport for lunch and to make sure we got our boarding pass.
It’s a quick flight, just ascent and decent. At Phu Quoc airport we all got on a bus which did a U turn to the terminal. Most people laughed. Then we had some confusion with our ride and unfortunately I upset the Responsible Adult. But it came good pretty smartly when we got to the resort. 5 star service can make you feel pretty good and the first impressions of the resort is stunning. Our beachfront villa is fantastic. Here for three days so I can write plenty about it over the next few days.
Today I want to do a catch up blog on Saigon. We did so much and want to remember the small details.
Food and drinks and plenty more come past the hotel
Checking in at Chen sea