Typhoons, tunnels and scooters

Trip Start Jul 08, 2008
Trip End Jun 30, 2009

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Friday, September 12, 2008

We'd like to personally thank our pilot for announcing at the beginning of our 12 hour flight to Hong Kong that we were flying into a force 9 typhoon and that it might be a bit of a rough landing. And after little sleep and a few screaming children for an event free landing in what felt like a bit of wind and rain.

However, it seems that typhoons are quiet serious and no one goes to work so the streets of Hong Kong were deserted and the lovely Dom and Octavia Orchard were at home to greet us in their 42nd floor apartment. A great place to view the city and experience the high winds as they picked up over night. Everyone else slept through it and it was only Emily who thought her time on this earth was up...

As we've both done the Hong Kong tourist sights before we had a lovely time eating delicious Chinese food with not a duck pancake in sight, overindulging in vodka jellies until the early hours but still making it out to play tennis in the midday heat and watching the close of the Olympic Games and cringing with the rest of the UK while watching Boris outdo himself yet again.

So on to Vietnam. After the endless brown scrubland of Africa it's just so green.

Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi are cities of scooters. There are thousands of them on the road at any given time, which makes crossing the road a challenge. You just have to hold your line, and your nerve, and keep walking, no matter how slowly, as they then get out of your way. Easier said than done but we're now pretty adept.

Highlights so far include:
- The Cu Chi tunnels where the Viet Cong hid underground for over 10 years, were cramped and hot and despite being widened to fit the tourists were tolerable for all of 2 minutes
- Being escorted round the murky waters of the Mekong Delta by an ex South Vietnamese soldier who fought in the war
- Getting very used to delicious dinners with beers and pudding for 5
- Sipping cold beer in Hoi An with a Canadian called Dave who Kamal met when he was rafting in Zambia - it's a small world...
- Learning to dive in the local municipal swimming pool (goggles show up far more than you'd wish to see) and then taking to the open water (to see the pretty fishes)
- Most people seen on one scooter = 5
- Having clothes tailor made in Hoi An and cycling to the beach in between fittings
- Shopping. In Vietnam all the same kind of shops can be found on one street - ie shoe shop street, children's clothes street, book shop street etc etc and no kidding we found junk food street in Hanoi - all the crisps, chocolate and biscuits you could wish for in one place
- Gliding through magical Halong Bay on a junk
- Same, Same but different - the sales patter of all hawkers while trying to sell you exactly the same piece of crap as the person next to them!

Next stop Laos and Cambodia...
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