Vietnam sucks so far :-)
Trip Start Jun 16, 2011
69Trip End Nov 10, 2011
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Where I stayed
Another crappy hotel
Day 2 : Chau Doc - Long Xuyen (already you can see I am not where I am supposed to be)
"In morning, the local motor boat will take you to see the local Chau Doc floating market with sellers and buyers bargaining and exchanging goods from their boats. Next, a boat ride on the maze of shady canals to arrive at a local floating village and floating fish farm, landing at the village of Cham, an Islamic minority people in Vietnam. visit the home of Cham weavers and the local mosque, where Cham children learn Arabic then back to floating hotel where the tourist bus to take you to Sam Mountain to visit cave pagoda, then continue to Long Xuyen for overnight in Tiger Island (homestay)."
OK now, let's break it down.
- the floating market did not happen (nor was it ever mentioned but hey, I can't be the one complaining all the time)
- the "maze of shady canals" is a straight ride on the main river for about two hundred meters, in the sun.
- the fish farm is 2 minutes with a guy opening a trap in the floor, showing water, throwing food in there to show us how much the fish are fighting for food and off we went.
- we did not visit any home in the Cham village and the so called "mosque" (which is masjid in Arabic) was actually a school (madrassa in Arabic). Ok it looked a bit like a tiny mosque... but it's a pity I read Arabic. And it felt real because there is a Muslim cemetery next to it... But it was all false.
- Sam mountain was the only real thing of the day.
- then... We did not stop in Long Xuyen because all the other tourists were not stopping there but in Can Tho. So the guide basically told me there is nothing in Long Xuyen... Where I was supposed to stay in a family's house on an island for the night. Instead I am staying in a crappy hotel in Can Tho where I was supposed to share a room with someone I haven't met yet. But it's now 11pm and the person hasn't showed up yet so I guess there was a change of plan for this person too !
What else ? Well lunch was not included but the restaurant was imposed (which I refused and went to another, story below), I basically had to shout to get the driver to stop for a pipi pause after two hours of minivan, and our tour guide (if one can call this a tour guide) kept on shouting at us all day. Oh and also, some of the luggage was actually put on the wrong boat and it was heading back to Cambodia...
So guys, i made up my mind. Lost for lost, I'd rather have lost 90 bucks and spend the next two days on my own than stay with these guys any longer. So tomorrow I go my own way.
That being said, there were nice things. But not thanks to them !
First, Cham village : I learnt some stuff. The community was really struggling. These people are Muslims but don't practice Islam by the book : they pray once a week on Fridays and Ramadan is only three days for them. Also women don't wear hijab. Oh well, that's until five years ago when they received a visit by the Saudis. Those said they would help them but they had to practice Islam better... So now you have many more women wearing the hijab, the school - so called mosque - has been built, they provided an Arabic teacher and money for the community... You wonder why Islam has better results than Catholicism ? Well, one gives money and poses conditions. The other asks for money. Pity since it's so simple : bread and games ! :-)
Second, lunch : because I refused to go to the planned restaurant, I found another one nearby and the elderly Australian couple that was with me (together with others who did not join us) decided to tag along. Best decision ever. The only thing is... nobody in this restaurant spoke a word of English and the menu was in Vietnamese... Ready my book about Vietnam, I managed to say "rice", "prawns" and "chicken". And twenty minutes later, we had a banquet :-) like in Asterix. Only downside but I honestly couldn't give a shit : the service was too long and the others waited for us for 30 minutes (hihihi). But food was awesome and I had my first beer with ice :-)
Third, visit of Can tho and blind taste of food again... I took a picture of some skewers of chicken wrapped in some leaves (which you eat too) and it's gorgeous ! I have no clue what it's called but I knew it was chicken as I remembered the word from lunch :-) I'll just call it "tastes good number 1"
Fourth, lounge bar / spa where I got to meet french people who were indeed really cool and where I offered myself an hour of foot reflexology ! For 5 dollars an hour... Oooh, yeah !
So now I am back in my crappy hotel. Tomorrow morning, I'll check out the morning activities of the tour operator just inn case we might actually do the floating market this time... And then I leave them and continue alone.
Good night all !
Nadege, fairly pissed off.