Merry belated Christmas

Trip Start Jan 06, 2005
Trip End Jan 26, 2005

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Flag of Australia  ,
Sunday, December 26, 2004

Well, I promised I'd be heading back to SE Asia within 12 months of having to abandon Thailand two days in and true to my word, I'm going to Vietnam in 11 days!

Merry Christmas all, I was going to be a good friend this year and send out all of the Christmas cards I've bought year after year with good intentions only to leave them in the packet. Once again I never got around to it, but it's the thought that counts! Whether you're on the other side of the world or in Adelaide I've no doubt been missing you. I'm starting to really, really miss Canada, and I haven't caught up with half of my friends here as much as I would like. There's a chance I'll be back in Europe later next year, and I look forward to visiting people in France, London and the Netherlands that I missed out this year if I do get the chance.

But back to the here and now, I'm semi-enjoying working what feels like 24/7 in my field, print and broadcast. I'm getting some fantastic experience (and cash) at the expense of my social life. My life is a bit polarised - either I'm working every day of the week or taking a whole month off to chill out and travel. But I certainly wouldn't trade it for being chained to a 9-5 job where I only get four weeks off a year, so I won't complain any more!

So Vietnam is happening! I'm really looking forward to it. Lots of people have asked, why Vietnam? I don't exactly know. I've been to Thailand, albeit only Bangkok, so I'd rather wait to have plenty of time down the track to explore the rest. Bali's overrun with tourists, and I've been there anyway. We're saving the Phillipines for later in the year (hopefully) when Ian's brother and sister-in-law are back over there working. People are raving about Vietnam lately, so I thought I'd better get over there before it gets ruined by all the crowds.

I'll be there for just under three weeks, travelling from one end to the other. The original plan was to land in Hanoi and spend lots of time exploring the North and central coast, then get a train down to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) when time's getting short.

Ian's just changed jobs so it was all up in the air for a while as to whether he could get time off. It was only sorted out a couple of weeks ago, we both managed to get three weeks off at the same time. We went to the travel agent only to be told at this time of year at the last minute tickets would set us back around two grand each. You've got to be joking! So for about a week we had several travel agents chasing down a deal for us, on waiting lists and whatnot, fearing our precious three weeks of adventure were going to wither away to nil. A travel agent in town (just the place you want to be right before Christmas, with the shopping hoardes) managed to line up something worthwhile so Ian booked on the spot.

We gleefully started planning. It was only about a week later, after pouring over travel guides, that I glanced at our itinerary and realised it was back to front! We were landing in Saigon and leaving from Hanoi, so our planning was upside down. Ian's been away for work since then so we're just going to wing it I think - we've got some vague plans as to must-see destinations, but apart from that it's whatever goes, just the way I like it! The general consensus seems to be the North has more to offer than the South, since we don't have time to go get to the Mekong Delta, so we'll probably zip up North and hopefully spend time in Sapa and Halong Bay. But who knows!? Only time will tell.

Ian's bought a video camera which caused some disturbances on Christmas Day, so that'll add a new dimension to the story telling! Between my journalism background and Ian's crazy attention seeking antics we should have some interesting footage, which you can request to see when we get back. Meanwhile it's time to go to a Boxing Day pool party, so happy holidays!
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