Good Mornin' Vietnam

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Vy Khanh Guesthouse

Flag of Vietnam  ,
Wednesday, June 9, 2010

After a lovely lie in in our very comfortable hotel room (nice change), and watching a few episodes of Entourage (we are on to the second series now) we headed down to the reception area as we had arranged to be reunited with our traveling buddies Rorie and Emer "The Irish" who were in town after traveling down from the North before their hop across the border in to Cambodia.  They had arrived on a night train from Nha Trang at 4am so we said we would meet them at lunch time to allow them to catch up on some sleep.

As our guesthouse is located in a warren of tiny lanes off the main street Andrew decided to go and look for them while I remained in the guesthouse chatting in pigeon English to the old man there who couldnt understand a word so we had a whole conversation on paper.  Apparently Rorie tells me that he felt a little uncomfortable when this strange guy in a "Irish and good looking...what more could you want" second hand T Shirt started smiling at him in the street.  He didnt recognise Andrew without the beard and 'tache combo.  Anyhow after big hugs and congratulations we all went for breakfast to the delicious bakery on the main road (which turns out to be next door to their hotel - ours was full).  It was lovely to see them again.

After maybe an hour starting to catch up with what everyone had been up to we left the bakery and went in search of a tour company to get an idea if there were any worthwhile trips to do in Saigon.  We also wanted to check on the Visa situations for Cambodia and Myanmar.  Somehow (we all know how) we got lured in to a bar a few doors down from the travel company with the promise of 2 4 1 beers (it was such a hot day...hmmmmm) so we settled ourselves down at a table....and there we remained. 

In Saigon there are no shortage of hawkers selling an amazingly varied array of stuff.  From backscratchers (we got a demonstration), to hammocks, to huge lighters, watches, cigarettes, to huge piles of photocopied books (all expertly carried in a pile tied together with elastic - these girls must have mean biceps).  One little boy, who turned out to only be 7 yrs old, kept coming round with his little box of wares while his mum waited outside, he was gobsmacked at the amount of empty beer bottles on the table and would count them out for us (just in case we hadnt realised how many we had drunk - lets just say we were well in to double figures).  Well we just had so much catching up to do.

As time was getting on and we were getting hungry we took a look at the 'extensive' menu which all looked great and really cheap.  Apparently in most places there is just so much to choose from ranging from salad to soup to pizza, steak, chicken, pork, fish, Mexican, Vietnamese, Thai etc the list goes on.  We all ate and the bill came to about 500,000 dong for the whole afternoon including four decent meals, roughly 18 pounds genius!

We left the bar with the girls waving after us and asking us to go back tomorrow (is it any wonder) and Rorie was determined to find a home brew beer shop.  They have spent 2 weeks in Vietnam already so know the score.  We found one, the give away was all the desperate backpackers outside sat on the street on plastic chairs sitting around tiny metal picnic tables.  There was no room in front of the place so the owner set us up a table in the side road that rang alongside the shop.  Our beer was then served to us in a plastic bottle.

It was great to just sit there and watch the world go by, nothing seems to stop here.  So many lads with reinforcement bars (for concrete) kept walking past us going god knows where with it and then we were met by an unbelievable sight.  Coming down the narrowest of passageways (the one that we had been seated in, surprise, surprise) I saw an excavator coming towards us, scraping its way passed scooters parked up, some had to be moved to let it through then we had to move, complete with our chairs.  The driver managed to take out the huge umberella that was open above half of the shops patrons to which everybody screamed and someone managed to catch it.  The digger then got driven on to a beaten up wagon and was gone and normality was resumed.

After two bottles we decided to call a night and walked back to the hotels with a small detour to the bakery  for a snack.  We all seem to have lost weight recently, Rorie has lost a stone in 3 weeks, but this damn bakery might just be our worst nightmare.
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