Trip Start Dec 28, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Saturday, July 10, 2010

I sit in a delisciously air conditioned room in saigon at 1am, pounding away on my gloriously worn out keyboard.  I am now on the move with my sister through the greater indo chinese area of the world and it is sure to be an interesting little adventure.  whether or not we kill each other in the process is a whole other matter.

IM and I were in bangkok waiting for my sister to arrive the night of the 7th. On the morning of her arrival I went and got her a room at a pretty nice hotel on khao san road that obviously had airconditioning and also had a very nice pool on the roof (6th floor).  seeing no reason to waste such wonderful aircon and cool pool me and IM moved into her room for a few hours and watched movies and lounged in the cool air.  after awhile we made our way up to the pool deck and we went for a dip.  i've been doing my best to teach IM how to swim and she is now able to make progress through the water but we now have to work on her elegance while doing it.

We headed out later that night to retrieve my sis.  IM had never been to an airport so that was sort of funny.  I walked he through how it works and how you find your flights on the arrival/departure boards etc and she seemed a bit lost but took it all in pretty good naturedly.  Sari's (my sister) plane was on time and after a few minutes of waiting around she appeared from the depths of the airport with her baggage and a light sheen of sweat.  She had been worried about the heat being a bit overwhelming during her visit and this was soon confirmed as we left the lightly airconditioned bliss of the airport and out into the heat of the night where Sari began to sweat in earnest and was thus baptised into the asia that I know and love.

By the time we reached Khao san road it was past midnight and the street was in its fully crazed glory which is a bit annoying to me but can be down right overwhelming to people who arent used to it and are badly jet lagged.  doing our best to make headway through the mass of bodies we headed towards the hotel and were soon rewarded with the quiet of the rented room where we were able to sit and relax and catch up for a bit.  it was also during this time that i recieved my chicago pizza that my sister was kind enough to deliver to me.  I tear up just thinking about how delicious that first bite of sausage pizza was but i digress.  IM was tired and headed off to bed in our hotel while sari and i stayed up for a few more hours talking about this and that before we parted company for the night with plans to wake up early and head over to the tiger temple in the morning.

I have found that trying to wake IM before she is good and ready to get out of bed is almost always a losing proposition.  It is sort of funny when she mumbles "5 more minutes" when I begin to nudge her out from under the blankets.  its what many kids say to their parents when its time to get wake up for school so it just cracks me up everytime she says it.  at 10am the next morning, after having slept for just a few hours I roused her from sleep and got her into the shower.  I found myself running between hotels waking up Sari and IM....then running back and forth some more.  After coordinating and herding we soon were on a comfortable mini bus for the 2 hour ride into the depths of nowhere which is where the tiger temple is situated.  I suppose this is a pretty good policy because I just dont think it would be a good idea to have that many tigers in a highly populated area.  they seem peaceful enough but i think it would only a matter of time before there was an accident.

We arrived in midday and the heat was oppressive as we walked down into the old quarry that housed some of the big cats.  this is where you can go and have your picture taken as you lounge with the cats which is a pretty unique experience. I mean its not very often that you can lay with a full grown tiger and pet its fur (or grab its tail in the case of IM).  Of course the old shows on FOX tv were going through my mind "when tigers GO Bad!" but the cats had been fed an enormous meal and couldnt be bothered to stand up and cause a fuss so there were no injuries to be had which is a good thing.  IM was very cute as she was nervously led around to the cats having her picture taken.  Later, Sari decided to pay a bit of extra money to go play and feed the 2 month old tiger cubs while IM and I paid a bit and were allowed to stay after closing and watched the afternoon play time with the big tigers which was pretty cool as they splashed around in a pond and did battle with each other.  Good times and good pictures were had by all and it was a pretty enjoyable afternoon even after a very large, pregnant goat tried to get into the mini van with us at a gas station on the way home.  Not sure what the thing was thinking other then maybe there were tasty snacks inside.  it was pretty funny and sari could not stop taking pictures of the incident.  she may have more pictures of the goat then of the tigers.

We got back to Khao san road and I left IM and Sari in the hotel room to go buy dinner and bring it back to the room.  I was hoping that leaving the two of them alone would give them a chance to talk because IM is a pretty shy girl and doesnt open up easily and they hadnt really said much to each other since they met.  By the time I came back a half hour later with the food, they were chatting away while watching thai soap operas.  the dinner was your classic thai fare but unfortunately everything proved to be too spicey for Sari even though there really was not much spice at all.  In the end the two of them agreed upon drinking beer while still watching the thai tv.  very cute indeed.

We had to leave for the airport around 6am the next day to fly to saigon and the way the night played out I literally didnt sleep at all but IM and I had a good talk as we packed our bags and got ready to leave.  Sari and I were soon in the airport after having bid IM farewell and we were progressing nicely through all of the check-ins and paperwork that is associated with flying but was soon halted when Sari hollered at me from the distance because I had both the bording passes and had already progressed through passport control while she was being held up without the proper paperwork.  oops.  having solved that minor flaw we were once again on our way to the plane which once again was at the farthest gate possible........what are the odds that every single time I fly it is from the farthest gate?  How is that possible?

How can I describe my first few moments in Vietnam?  We stood waiting for our passports to be stamped with the obligatory ink in seperate lines.  My turn came first and I walked up to the official sitting behind the computer and as soon as i approached the man looks at me with a look of utter disgust and says "NO GOOD".  Not being too sure what he was talking about I say "excuse me?"
He looks me up and down a bit with his eyes and with that same look of disgust says again "NO GOOD".  Now thoroughly confused I say "what is no good?"  Thinking he may be talking about my beat up passport.  Same look on the face....."NO FUCKING GOOD" and grabs my passport and starts rifling through it hard enough where I was actually worried that he would tear a page out.  "YOU HAVE VISA? WHERE VISA?"  He asks me with contempt.  I had marked the page that held the visa with the bit of paperwork you had to fill out upon arrival but of course he lost the place and now was too incompetant to find the page he needed.  "yes i have a visa, i marked the damn thing, its right here" i say now with matching hostility in my voice.  He begins punching the keys of his computer entering whatever information was needed and when I say punch I mean i thought he was going to put that keyboard through the desk.  Finally he stamps my passport and literally tosses it at me and says "GO".  OK what the fuck was that all about?  I'm seriously hoping that a GI gave him a good kick in the ass when he was a kid during the war.

The motorbike traffic here in saigon is crazy, with bikes flying around everywhere you look.  I'm not sure how people are not killed minute by minute here.  our taxi actually side swiped a motorbike on the way to our hotel and the fucking motorbike never even stopped, just kept on trucking through traffic.  Amazing.  After checking into the hotel we took a day tour of the city in rickshaws which gives you a terrifying up close and personal view of the craziness of the traffic that is swarming all around you.  talk about death defying and slightly terrifying.  It is much more up close and personal when there is no dashboard or window between you and the uncoming traffic. We are on our way north tonight so we'll see what surprises are in store for us there.  As of now we have not killed each other yet

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mickey b on

are you on li loi st?.. and where are you staying in phnom penh.. I hope Goldie GH..I think your sister would get along with Pom, dont you think?..

Yvette Chicas on

Looks like you guys are having a blast!!!!

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