Monthly Archives: February 2014

Day twenty nine Bali

The Balinese really know how to do breakfast. After breakfast the Responsible Adult had a nice time in the sun before our driver, Nyoman arrived with his wife and daughter. He kindly bought me a coconut. The girls went to the pool while we set up a website for him. Then off to lunch at a Balinese eatery where the food was good and you eat with your hands. Then a bit of shopping before heading off to Tannah Lot to watch the sunset over the ocean. It is one of the world’s romantic spots.
Small dinner at the hotel and an early night.
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Day twenty seven Saigon to Bali

Up early for a horrid travel day. Breakfast at 6am with me cooking for the others and Bino buying a Vietnamese breakfast for me. I found out that Vietnamese consider breakfast to be the main meal of the day and it was too big for me.
Easy trip to the airport and the queues were not bad. Arrived in Changi airport and went through all the exit and ‘re-entry palaver and I’m not sure we had to. Expensive lunch at Hard Rock. But nice memorabilia – Noel Reddings trousers and an autographed Who’s Next album that I really wanted. By chance, we also found the butterfly house (Changi is really big) but only had a couple of minutes to spare. It is easy to walk off lunch getting to the departure gate. The flight was half hour late and the plane was cramped.
Denpasar airport has been renovated and the visa on arrival very fast, but the queue for immigration was huge. It took us about an hour to get through. Our driver, Nyoman was waiting for us. I would have given up a long time ago.
Into the Haven in Seminyak for cocktails and a feed. Nyomans first go at hotel food. Then bed because we were buggered.
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Saigon Day twenty six

Our last full day for this trip. Started with a last fab coffee with Andrew and said our goodbyes. Fig cafe for lunch. Lovely premises that looked a bit Balinese, or perhaps I have Bail on my mind. Great grub and of course very cheap. Then off to the Chua Vien Giac temple – not one you will find on the tourist websites. Very spectacular. I asked Bino about these lavish temples in a poor country. He told me that they are all built by voluntary contributions, particularly old people who are recognised at the temple. This temple is quite new and is very beautiful.
Back home for a rest then down to the local cafe for a coconut and an iced coffee. Heard the little old lady calling out her tofu and got one. I paid her$2.50 about 14 times her price to let her know how much I enjoyed it. Had a quick Facebook chat with Nyoman our Balinese driver who will pick us up from the airport tomorrow. Then a farewell BBQ on the roof. Bino did a great job giving us pork, chicken and prawns.
Bali tomorrow!!
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Saigon Day twenty five

Up late after a big night out. Andrews cafe for plenty of coffee then back home to try and find out when the Responsible Adult goes back to work. Eventually we found out that she is not on next weeks roster – Wahoo! Our visa expires in a few days and we don’t want to end up in the naughty room at the airport like last time. Visa extensions will cost about $100 each so we figured it may be just as easy to go somewhere else. As we are building the new groovy pad we thought we’d go to Bali to hopefully buy a nice statue or two and perhaps a bath. The bath we have picked comes from Indonesia so we may be able to save a dollar.
Liquid lunch (coconut juice and ice coffee) at the local cafe. Cost $2.50 for three of us. A little old lady came by selling sweet hot tofu for .30c and it was very, very good.
We walked to the supermarket which is pretty much the same as a supermarket anywhere else to buy gifts for the homestay. Settled on a kettle and an iron. Then out on the town for street food. Started with octopus followed by pregnant decapitated squid – the heads all got eaten while I was fiddling with the camera – then some sort of shellfish with a white sauce and finally shellfish cooked with a quail egg to poach and topped with greens. Yum.
Back to the Novotel roof top bar where a beer costs more than dinner.
At the homestay, the electronic key wouldn’t work so we went off to the ParkRoyal for beers. Being 11pm our options were limited. Saigon closes early.
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Saigon Day twenty four

A great nights sleep at the GoConnect homestay. Coffee at Andrews cafe. We are very grateful to him for the Tet lunch he gave us a few weeks ago and before they left, the kiddies suggested we take him to Hard Rock for dinner. So I asked him if he could take a night off. Back to the homestay where Sue had managed to buy bacon for the Responsible Adult. Not only that but Sue also found real bread. So I cooked up some French toast and crispy bacon and am apparently the best bloke on the planet.
We headed into District one on a mission to revisit the very expensive shop where the Responsible Adult purchased the 13.6 million dong bag last visit and to go to a recommended restaurant for lunch. The shop was closed so we headed for the restaurant. Unlike Hanoi, I get lost in Saigon every time. Amazingly the Responsible Adult found the way! I had to give her a navigation badge on the spot.Problem was that that restaurant has changed to non English. So back to the Contintal for expensive grub served by staffwho aren’t anywhere near as good as they think.
Back in the arvo to help translate a local restaurant menu. Terrific! I now know several words for food.
We picked up Andrew a bit late after the Responsible Adult had her hair done for a whole $2. Terrific night out – a bunch of Koreans did gangnam style with the staff getting into it plus much singing along to old standards and even a bit of Hendrix. Back to Andrews for some late night cocktails.
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Saxon the Book of Dreams Tim Severin

Wanted something easy to read while traveling. The title is a bit misleading if you are looking for something set in Saxon England. The main character is a Saxon but it is Charlemagne the Frank’s court where the action occurs. The Book of Dreams should have been a good enough alert that we are straying into fantasy. Probably good for young boys but a lightweight piece of fiction.

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Quy Nhon to Saigon Day twenty three

Woke up to a beautiful day, the sun shining on the ocean and realised that it was our last day here. Almost tempted to extend but we have to start thinking about getting home. Our trip to the airport was a bit hairy and we thought we may become a news item at one stage. I think we finally heard Vietnamese swearing from our driver.
So back to the GoConnect homestay in Saigon for a couple of cold beers. Our host told us that there was a food festival on costing $12.50 which included food vouchers. It was huge. Thousands of people with vendors representing food from all over the country. Andrew from the coffee house was there and took time off to come out and greet us. Very happy to see him again after coffee adventures up and down Vietnam. We tried some grub, all good and then hit the Majestic hotel for a nightcap. It’s good to be back in crazy Saigon.
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Quy Nhon day twenty two

There is nothing wrong with waking up to the sunrise over the ocean, particularly when the waves are crashing about 20 meters away. We decided to take a taxi into the town to try a street food joint recommended on Trip Advisor. The Responsible Adult was keen as the review spoke of the good English spoken there. We arrived at a fairly grubby spot with no English. There were peanuts on the workbench and we tried to signal that the Responsible Adult could not eat them but we don’t think they got it, so no food for her. We had a soft drink and a beer then I got stuck into a spring roll which was pretty darn good, so I had another. All this for$2.50. Then off to FIX for the Responsible Adult.
We then tried a coffee shop which made a passable Margarita. My iced coffee was the Vietnamese style, black, strong and sweet.
In the arvo we found a local market for a coconut. They didn’t understand that it was just me so I tried to drink two.
In the evening it was a wander down to the Seagull for drinks and dinner then back via lovers lane.
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Quy Nhon day twenty one

So we checked out of the Seagull as they are full tonight and traveled down the road to the Royal.It is at the end of the bay and is protected from the gale force winds we have had. Plus it is rather gorgeous. We are on the second storey about 20 meters from the surf. The staff have very little English but we have learned to get by. We had lunch by the pool and then explored the streets. Of course it was siesta. Back home to sit on the balcony and chill out to the sound of the surf.
We tried out the pool bar for cocktails but they had sugar syrup in the margaritas so we gave it the flick and wandered back to the Seagull, where our favorite waitress was on at the pool bar. A few drinks and some pasta later we wandered home again past the young lovers and the beautiful lights out on the bay. Bliss.
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Quy Nhon day twenty

The chilling out has gone cold and windy. Quy Nhon is not so great without the sun. Fine for me as I’m happy to rest my dodgy leg, but the Responsible Adult is getting itchy feet. The weather in Saigon is hot so she is checking out hotels with pools. Went for a wander around the town and stopped at an upmarket coffee shop called Bookafe. Full of well dressed Vietnamese. No English on the menu or coming out of the mouths of the staff. We managed to order a cappuccino and an iced lemon, which came hot. The Responsible Adult thought I was brave having another go at Quy Nhon cappuccino but it was just acceptable. Unfortunately they decided I would have it sweetened. There was a table of young women next to us and we thought it was a hens party, given the hair do’ s. We tried to pay for their drinks but the concept was too hard to get across. Shame.
In the arvo we went for a walk away from town. On the beach side of the road are acres of manicured parks while on the other side are derelict and demolished buildings. Every so often there will be a garden full of Bonsai trees. We met a lawyer who wanted to practice his English. He explained that these are share gardens where people grow their Bonsais for sale.
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