Dec 13, 2010

good bye and so long vietnam; the agreeable and not so...

we tackled vietnam backwards and traveled south to north, which we were told by numerous people was the wrong way to do it. needless to say, we now understand why we were told that and wish somewhat we had finished our time on phu quoc after the madness that was vietnam. we had a fantastic few weeks though, from bottom to top, with good and bad - so here goes...

good:

1. phu quoc was as you probably already guessed, our favorite destination in vietnam in its entirety for obvious reasons but in close second was hoi an and it's unique quaintness

2. i for one thought the food was probably the next best thing. those of you who know me well, my day seriously revolves around when and where i eat. the food, apart from once, never disappointed

3. the vietnamese people would have to be the nicest people to date. we had minimal exposure to rude or unwelcoming people. everyone seemed friendly, inviting and willing to go out of there way for you

4. hiring a motorbike and finding a deserted beach just outside of phu quoc town. not only was it beautiful and surreal, it ranks as one of the best days we have had on our trip

5. meeting some great aussies (newbies laura and ro, oldies we met in lao kate and tom) and having some of the best nights we have had while away

6. visiting the cu chi tunnels and war museum in saigon. it an educational, raw, uncensored and unforgettable experience

7. the chaos of the streets; traffic, food stalls, old couples taking five minutes to cross the road, shops and markets, flowers and meat. the hectic-ness and craziness of it all added to the appeal of saigon and hanoi

some other worthy mentions: our ha long bay cruise; the drive from cambodia to vietnam through the green rice fields, rocky barren hills and fishing villages; saigon red export beer and hanoi beer (both strong contenders for the best drop yet); seafood grilled dinners on the sand in phu quoc and lastly, cheese cake, coffee and wines which all re-appeared on menus

bad:

1. being made to feel bad because we wouldn't move hotels in hanoi half way through our stay and finding out it was all a scam a few hours later because they need the rooms to poach customers from other hostels

2. transport from place to place was never on time, always dirty and you were constantly sold something different than what you bought

3. kurt says a downer for him was getting spewed on... not that we couldn't have guessed

4. kurt taking off in the middle of the soccer riot after deciding to hop on the back of a motorbike and ride in the opposite direction to where we were headed and not finding him until an hour later

5. losing our reservation at phu quoc because we had to spend a night in stinky ha tien, which resulted in one night and two days lost and wasted in transit - however if we didn't get stuck we wouldn't have met laura and rohan, so it wasn't that bad...