Last day in Siem Reap, off to Vietnam

Trip Start Jul 02, 2012
Trip End Oct 04, 2012

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

We woke once more to the crowing of the roosters and headed downstairs for our final breakfast.  As we came back from breakfast, two little monks arrived looking for food and money donations.  They didn't say a word, just stood silently waiting so we went inside to ask what the protocol was.  As it happened we had 2 croissants we had brought from breakfast to snack on later so that was perfect to give to them plus a few notes.  After we put the food and money in their bags, they both closed their eyes and chanted a prayer of good health in perfect harmony for about 60 seconds.  It was a gorgeous moment.

We had decided to spend the last couple of hours before we needed to leave for the airport, revisiting the villages we passed on the way to the lake yesterday.  We headed off on the tuk tuk and drove out of town for about 45 minutes, marvelling at the flooded houses and shops and the resilience and acceptance of the people who carry on despite the conditions they face.

Arriving back at the hotel, we packed up and came downstairs to be greeted by all the staff including one of the concierges who came in specially to farewell us even though his shift didn't start for another few hours!  We were presented with Cambodian scarves as a farewell gift, and they all stood and waved as we drove off.  What a great place!

Driving out to the airport, we reminisced about all that we had seen over the past few days, the experiences we'd had and the wonderful people we'd met.  It was sad to be leaving a place we'd grown to love in a very short space of time.

After a quick flight, we landed in Ho Chi Minh city and were at once assaulted by the noise, sound, smells and sheer volume of people.  It was somewhat of a culture shock after the simplicity of Siem Reap, and we sat in the van with jaws dropped as we were driven to the hotel amongst thousands upon thousands of motorbikes.

Our hotel is a big flashy hotel with 2 floors of shops at the bottom and a disco on the 3rd floor.  It couldn't be more different from where we have come from and is an experience in itself!  Our room is on the 20th floor and we have excellent views across the city.

We spent the remainder of the afternoon exploring the hotel, checking out the restaurants, pool, spa and shops downstairs.  I was helped to cross the road to buy a local sim card - it really is a matter of faith - you just start walking and the motorbikes weave around you - the woman from the hotel held my arm and kept saying "slowly, slowly, slowly" as we crossed!

We met a lovely couple from Sydney when we were up in the lounge for Happy Hour who gave us lots of hints about things to do and places to go while we are here. 

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