Tam Coc

Trip Start Nov 02, 2005
Trip End Apr 30, 2006

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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Good morning Vietnam!

We hope you are all OK, we've seen the snowy pictures and it looks cold...brrr.

Time for our latest update. First of all, thanks for all your messages and emails, keep them coming. (We hope you've managed to work out how to use the site).

Since our last mail we have been really busy. Started in Hanoi with a trip to the hospital as Darren's back got worse, but with some tablets and plenty of rest it seems to be slowly getting better. Hanoi is a nice capital city, packed with shops, good restaurants and sight seeing to keep the thousands of visiting tourists happy. The streets are full of motorbikes and you do really need eyes everywhere so as not to get run over. Our days here were spent eating and strolling around the old quarters.

A three hour bus journey took us to Halong Bay where we went on a two day boat trip, great apart from the annoying American couple in our group; Mrs Dominator and Mr Gimp... Halong Bay is a Unesco World Heritage Site (more of these to follow...) and it is very picturesque. We spent the days chilling on the sundeck whilst cruising past some of the 3000 limestone rocks and islets that make up this archipelago. (Think Krabi and Phi-Phi for those of you that have been to Thailand). Cooled off with a dip in to the South China Sea before a stunning sunset, seafood dinner and a calm night on board.

12 hours on a luxury sleeper train (30 US$ return) took us to north Vietnam and the former French Hill Station of Sapa, only 30 km from the Chinese border. The main reason for visiting Sapa is the numerous hill tribes of indigenous people who are amongst the poorest and most disadvantaged people in Vietnam. These minority groups live in very basic conditions in villages scattered along the Fansipan valley. They still follow a traditional way of life, including Darren's favorite, as many wives as you want.

We did a 15 km trek to a couple of the these villages, which we enjoyed apart from the slippery mud, thick fog and persistent rain... Saw lots of colourful tribal people like the Black H'mongs and the Red Dzao. Back in Sapa, a visit to the market unveiled the local delicacy of dog (sorry Molly, Sam, Scoot and all our other canine friends) which they eat at the end of the lunar month to bring them good luck. Not so lucky for the dog...

Back in Hanoi, a daytrip out to Tam Coc and the Cuc Phuong National Park saw us being rowed around by a little old lady through beautiful scenery and three caves. The amazing thing was that she was rowing with her feet (see video)! In the afternoon we took a trip to the Endangered Monkey Sanctuary where we saw ginger gibbons that looked like our friend Howie swinging through the trees.

So far, we have found it really easy travelling around Vietnam. The quality of everything (e.g accommodation, trains, buses) is of a very high standard although some things are relatively expensive. The streets are very clean and not many beggars about, although this would be preferable to the large tour groups that keep appearing everywhere, spoiling the peace.

Bird flu mania has hit Vietnam big time and nowhere serves chicken, some places not even eggs. Every day we read in the paper how the government is killing tens of thousands of poultry, but as soon as you visit the countryside you realize that there is no way they would be able to contain a major out break as there are chickens and ducks everywhere.

We will slowly be working our way south towards Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) which is about 2000 km from where, if we manage to escape the underground tunnels and not catch the chicken disease, you will get our next update. Until then, keep the messages coming and put another jumper on.
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mamma on

först igen!!!! inte sisten...

Varför har ni inte skrivit nåt från Hue, vsr det så trist?

lajlaj, hejdå!
nu har jag fått hjälp av lilla Itte som är här på fjäsklunch Ingen text från Hue men 3 fina bilder kan vi se .Nu snöar det äntligen men 0 gradigt På söndag är det julskyltning knepigt när det nästan ingen snö finns .Nu ska jag äta gröt PoK ma (Pa hälsar så klart)

bingoqueen on

Worms look tasty.mmm
Hi to both of you.
Its good to see where your travelling and what your up to.
Usually I never now where you are, but to have a write up and see the pics is great.
The food looks good,( if thats what your into!!,) I will fatten up a couple of dogs for sunday lunch before you get back,(boiled or roasted).
well take care and enjoy,will look out for next posting. Luv Mum

thedogman on

Bingo wings
I'm not surprised your back is sore having to carry those bingo wings around with you. Good to see my cousins are well in the trees. We are all descendants of 'the ginger one', just try to grow a beard!

Did you find that bucket of worms before you'd been to hospital or after you came out? That's a bad dose of 'old tapey' you've got there.

The scenery looks fantastic, even the toothless crones make the place look authentic. It's a shame they get back into their limmo's at the end of the day and head back to their big city apartments after a long working day selling fags and pencil cases.

I hope we're not going to be treated to a Tommy & Pammy style video clip, the scenery looks frighteningly similar. Don't do it Lotta, keep your clothes on, and if he asks you if he can film you eating a sausage for tea - just say no! An definitely don't fall for the 'last chicken in Ho Chi Minh City gag'.

Vietnam looks great, I'll do a tour one day, probably after the National Canine Defence League has set up it's HQ there.

I'm not surprised that there are loud, fat American tourists there. The Vietnamese probably only tolerate them because they whupped their big fat asses the last time they were there.

I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

Njoy, & keep the news flowing.


mamma on

mamma again
ohh hello travellors lovely to se you enjoy the splendid food,soo wellkom to Sweden for SURSTRÖMMING mm Lotta tell u what that is.
Seems that Darrens back is better???Leav the uggly wheater bihind. go quickly to the sout and dont eat more Worms, the locals may be fishing (beat) whit you.
Lovely pictures, god locking people,but where are Darrens all Whifes ?
I promis that when you are comming to KIBBLE in sommertime I also shall row you across the lake whit my feets!!
It´s probaly easyer for me than trekking I have now an elefant foot on the right and my leg is just a tinny stick ,Blaaa
Ihave pains and can´t walk at all whitout my Sticks (kryckor) so my days are wery chilli
Now is my brain empty, no more english for a month
Hope you´r well and mail again soon
Love from Ma and Pa in snowi Sveden

sanna on

Minus 22 degrees celcius...
...Niklas har packed snow around the house to isolate (that's the way we do it here). 2nd of Advent this weekend, time flies fast when you have fun (work,work,work). I'm off for Umeå tomorrow to catch up with some old friends from university and do some good shopping in the big city. Niklas is going to the Santa Barbara party at A9. Swedish Tv sucks more than ever, it was better before...Lotta maybe do you remember the good old days with 'Kryzz' and the big success 'Razzel' (notice the Z:s - like in 'Nynez')in the 80ies? That was times, when familes could gather around something that really mattered...Now - just deprivation and disintegration.By the way - Stefan Gunnarsson is at the moment recording 'så ska det låta' ('That's the way it should sound' - translation directly from swedish)if you have some really good highspeed connection maybe you will be able to watch him on www.svt.se after x-mas.Or not.
Bye for now. PoK /S o N

dansweden on

Hey guys. Just wanted to wish you happy travels! In Norway at the moment. Left the lovely weather in Oz to spend x-mas in Sweden with my family. Havent been home for 3 years, so it was about time.

Anyway, Baby-Stu says hello! Still thinks he is better than the to of us in Canasta, Scouse. I just laugh. I dont recall Sven and Stu winning once.... ;-)
Going travelling myself in 1 month. YES!!! Cant wait!

Anyway, have a lovely time in Asia, looking forward to read all about your trip!


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