Bus to Saigon

Trip Start May 31, 2012
Trip End Aug 08, 2013

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Sunday, July 29, 2012

Good afternoon!

   This is a very late update (from Australia) of our last adventure in Vietnam. Internet access has been quite spotty lately, hence the lack of updating. I'll do a bunch of quick ones to catch you all up, dear readers, of what's been happening to us. And feel free to send me an email letting me know what you've been up to!
   So, last we talked, Kara and I were in Hoi An, awaiting a 22 hour bus ride to Saigon. Our "hotel pickup" in Hoi An turned out to be a guy on a motorbike telling us to follow him (with all of our bags). through town to the bus station, upon which time we were informed that we had too many bags and had to pay an additional 10 bucks to get on the bus. Bullcrap was what it was, we told them when we booked how many bags we had. But this bus driver was pretty yell-y and didn't seem in any mood to negotiate. Anyway, we found some seats beside each other on the ground floor. It was a sleeper bus so the seats were of a reclined nature that further reclined to lay almost flat, with a little cubbyhole for your feet underneath the head of the seat directly ahead of you. Our seats were separated by a small aisle for access to the seats behind and above us. This crazy bus driver was yelling at these girls who were trying to find seats, and he was losing his temper, to put it mildly. He then proceeded to fill the aisles with Vietnamese men, one of whom he had to displace to find seats for these girls! My guess was that this guy was either a friend of the driver's getting a free ride or someone who got a discounted fare. Either way, he ended up in the aisle right between Kara and I. This guy couldn't really lay stretched out because there was a another guy in front of him in the aisle. I tell you this to explain why, when he put his feet in Kara's cubbyhole, she didn't immediately kick them out.

Which, in hindsight, she should have, or I should have said something, but we couldn't have known what was about to transpire. We boarded the bus at 6 pm and so it was dark shortly after that and everyone tried to get some sleep. I shut the curtains (I had the window seat) and tried to sleep myself. I kept waking up though to find the curtains open. The guy in the aisle kept reaching across me and opening them as I slept. As soon as I realized this had happened more than once, and then saw him reach across me and open the curtains, I didn't sleep much anymore and kind of kept an eye on him. The bus stopped at 4:30 am and the guys in the aisle all got off. I was watching him to make sure he didn't take anything, but he just grabbed the bag that his shoes were in and left. I went back to sleep after that, until 5:30, when Kara woke me up to tell me that her glasses case was missing! She had stashed it in her foot cubbyhole, and as she drifted off to sleep, seeing that that guys feet were diggin around in there, had a fleeting thought to herself, 'I hope he doesn't steal my glasses', and fell asleep. Sonofabitch did it though, he stole her glasses, possibly hoping that some money was in there? I don't know. Pissed us off though.

We were all then deposited on the sidewalk in Nha Trang (I think), and told to wait for the travel agency to open to catch another bus that would take us the rest of the way to Saigon. This was at 5:30 am and the travel agency was set to open at 7. So we waited there on the sidewalk with the rest of the weary travellers. We had bit of bread and some coffee as we were close to some outdoor cafes. We were finally able to board another bus at around 8 am. This time we took some seats way in the back that were together (no aisle between them) and read and watched movies on the laptop all the way to Saigon. All in all, we were on the road for 25 or 26 hours; sore, stinky and underslept by the time we arrived at our destination, but happy to finally be there.

When we got to the bus station in Saigon, we took a taxi to our hotel and Kara paid the taxi driver, who then proceeded to short change her 5 bucks. She didn't notice until he had driven away. Sonofabitch!

It was around this point that I decided I was tired of Vietnam. We had had a great trip, but I started to suspect everyone of trying to rip us off. We walked around the city that night and the next morning, me with my hand on my wallet in my pocket, not allowing for any opportunities to arise to be ripped off. Kara was much more open minded and cheerful than I was at this point, but I think she was also looking forward to going to Australia. Saigon was really cool though, and I have pictures to post, but since I'm updating this at the library in Kingston SE (Australia!), the photos will have to wait. We ate at the Rex Hotel's rooftop patio and I bought an alligator watchband. We walked down the street that was famous for 'entertaining' the American troops in the war. It used to be filled with brothels, pimps and gambling establishments, but now it's mostly noodle bars and jewelry shops. We saw the Opera House, the Cathedral de Notre Dame and ate at a great outdoor market (I can't remember the name offhand).

A successful trip to Vietnam concluded! Now to conquer the land down under.

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