April 6th, 2018
Welcome to part two of my Vietnamese ride. I'll jump right in.
Day seven started still on the train which considering how bumpy it was, I slept surprisingly well on the top bunk. The toilets on the train however were not great. There were handles on either side which doesn’t bode well . There was no soap and the toilet paper ran out within an hour of this 14-hour train ride. We found out too late that Ffion brought toilet paper with her as there had already been some unfortunate situations. After Luna was offered beer at 7 in the morning we all woke up, ate some snacks and had a sing along again which everyone on the train LOVED! Luna built a fort in our cabin which was destroyed pretty soon after it was made, by our lovely group leader, just can’t let people live can you Adam. It was soon time to pack back up and jump off the train at Da Nang and onto the bus for an even bumpier journey to the hotel in Hoi An. After settling into our new rooms, we headed out to lunch then a brief walk around before we had free time. Ffion, Julia and I lasted a good ten minutes in the heat before bailing to go to the pool. The whole group met up later to get dinner before a night out in Hoi An. This was the night we got stuck in a conversation with two US marines (possibly navy or army, I’m not a great listener) with truly fascinatingly stupid brains when Maddy told them they were unemployed because there wasn’t a war. It was fairly justified. Can’t remember a lot else about that night but can assure you, it was a fun time.
Day Eight was not a fun time. We did not make it to breakfast which was a mistake, I’ll admit it now. We got driven to a boat which we were on far too long and then had to get into giant baskets trying to pass themselves as boats. Ffion and I of course got the crazy boat man who thought it would be a great idea to spin the boat as fast as he could as well as rocking it. Did this do wonders for my hungover, seasick stomach? Unfortunately, no, it did not. The point of these boats was so we could crab fish and fish a crab we did. I say we, but I mean the crab boat man got the crab. He also dropped said crab into our boat and thought it was the funniest thing in the world. After crab fishing (truly so sad when it ended ://), we headed over to our Vietnamese cooking class with Nhi (?) who was not my biggest fan. I filled her with disappointment. Sincerest apologies girl, you caught me on a bad day. Anyway, Julia and I paired up for the cooking, but I was unaware I was in the presence of a world class chef. Julia decided she was going to add her own flair to the recipes which Nhi did not like, at all. After a lot of recipes, a lot of smells, apparently big peanut butter fans the Vietnamese, we were set free with souvenir chopsticks which are going to be used a lot!! We had free time until dinner and had a plan to go get some clothes made in the tailor shops which turned into a group nap time in our room. No clothes were purchased but a fat nap did help heal me a little bit. This was Luna’s farewell dinner with us (even though she stayed with us another night but whatever) and later we got in little row boats to release lanterns and wishes into the river. This was where we were named Team Twat which I still think of fondly. We explored the night markets in Hoi An which again had a lot of smells. We then went to a reggae bar where I somehow convinced myself to take about five shots of some kind of orange juice alcohol with Luna (I know, I’m shocked too). This was the night we got cornered by some Australian guy after writing about ratatouille on the bar wall, I got bored and moonwalked out of the conversation soon after it started, but this nice man proceeded to tell Ffion and Julia they would die swiftly after going to Bangkok, good guy. The rest of the group left pretty early leaving us to gather the gang and head back to the hotel. I had very little faith in our ability to find our way back by ourselves, but we got back completely fine. Go us. I mean I didn’t help us at all, but still, go us!
Day Nine was Ho Chi Minh Day, also known as burger king day. I had been told I just had to make it to the airport and I would be reunited with my beloved nuggets. After some struggles checking in (7 kilo bag now!), we moved through security and I was pointed in the direction of the beautiful nuggety smells. Many nuggs were eaten that day. It was a good day. Post nugg session, we explored the shops a little bit, I had a quick facetime with my sister and it was time to fly to Ho Chi Minh. After a brief plane ride we landed in Ho Chi Minh and were shuffled into a bus on the way into the city. (Side note story of the woman who jumped the toilet queue in the airport to throw up but didn’t use words just patted her stomach multiple times and didn’t lock the door, apparently it was green!) We then had free time which led to a hunt for ice cream. We walked for a solid three years before we finally got there (probably just a ten minute walk) and after all that I panicked and ordered a subpar ice cream flavour. Regrets. We lost the Germans post ice cream and ended up in a British but also Vietnamese but also international restaurant but also maybe a café? We played scrabble for a hot two minutes and then settled for pirates of the Caribbean top trumps. After I had a questionable strawberry smoothie we headed back to the hotel and the magnificent air conditioning. Day nine was our real last night with Luna, emotions were high. We met for dinner and headed for a rooftop restaurant with a conveniently placed pool table. Again, is pool something I’m good at? No. Will I continue to tell people I am and hype myself up? Absolutely. I got kicked out of the game pretty quickly, but I wasn’t last which I count as an achievement. We went to a bar after which was great, apart from the fact it was seven million degrees and I had not adjusted to the temperature change yet. Jaeger bombs were had, sweat was produced, cards were played, before we moved onto a different bar that apparently the entire population of the world had decided to go to also. Things I do not like: being hot, crowds of people, being touched by strangers. This bar had all three and I’ll admit, a mini freak out did occur. We screamed ‘stop touching me!’ many a time but to no avail. I tried to regroup for Luna’s last night but eventually bailed with Julia and headed back to pack for the next day.
Day 10 or Luna’s leaving day. My roomie, my baby, my homespice was leaving us to continue getting an education or something. We headed off for the bus minus Luna plus some tears and headed for Mekong Delta. It was a very long bus ride and at some point, I pulled up Netflix to watch Bring It On which led to me, Sophie and Ria all watching it even though my cracks took up half the screen and we only had one set of headphones. A quick ice cream pit stop and the rest of bring it on later we were freed from the bus just to wait for a ferry. This is where Ffion threw water on a motorbike (not intentionally) and we moved away from it because, guilt, and it turns out the guy we moved right next to trying to avoid guilt, was also the owner of aforementioned bike. It’s the little things. Anyway, post ferry, we got more bikes and cycled to Mr Hi’s home (different Mr Hi, same bad attempt at spelling probably) and had lunch where an entire whole complete fish was placed right in front of me, eye balls and all. I think after the fish fiasco (truly traumatising) we visited a local family who made us bracelets and rings from bamboo and we (not me, I remember nothing) learnt how to count to ten in Vietnamese. We headed back to Mr Hi, put on the most fashionable outfit I’ve ever had on my body and proceeded to a tea party. Fruits I’ve never even heard of were provided and some were even tasted. An outstanding singing performance by Mr Hi really put this tea party in my top five tea party list. Post tea party, it was time to fish. Mud fish. You see, I thought that we were all going to be in this mud pit ‘catching catfish’ freaking out that something touched us, but there weren’t going to actually be any fish. I was wrong. There were fish. Real fish. This day really confirmed to me that I can cross ‘fisher’ off my potential careers list. A quick clean up later and we were on a boat to get to our homestay where I was roommate less (thanks for leaving me Luna!). After dinner is where my life took an even bigger turn for the worst post-Luna departure. My poor (already cracked) phone got into a fight with Julia and she got severely injured in the battle (my phone, not Julia). In my 9 years of owning phones I have never broken one until this day. Truly noteworthy hence why you’re reading about it here in this much depth. This tragedy meant I couldn’t set an alarm and instead of my suggestion of Julia and Ffion just waking me up in the morning, resulted in a sleepover in their room with the bird in the wall!
The eleventh day (see how I mixed it up there). We said our goodbyes to the Mekong with my belly full of the delicious bread Vietnam makes, mm, got back on the boat to get back on the bus and headed to the Cu Chi Tunnels. A brief summary of the tunnels will follow. Very small, very funny tour guide. A photoshoot in a hole with a lid. A tunnel which I lasted 20 metres in before freaking out and dead bolting for an exit which was blocked by the giant Adam resulting in me tearing my knee up trying to get out (still not letting it go). I have a lot of respect for the Vietnamese that lived in these tunnels. Oh, and also, the tunnels were expanded for western tourists. The tunnel I freaked out in within 10 seconds was bigger than the tunnels people LIVED IN. There was also a gun range which was so loud I jumped every single time one was fired. My hatred of guns was reaffirmed this day. A lot of genuinely interesting facts were given to me this day but honestly, I got really distracted by the other tourists there and only heard about 10% of the facts. I’m a disappointment, I know. Post tunnels, we headed back to Ho Chi Minh, quick excursion to find a phone fixer and onto our farewell dinner. Another rooftop restaurant and by rooftop, I mean rooftop. There were so many stairs, I had brutal flashbacks to dragon mountain day. A minor water fight occurred at this dinner because I am in fact still 10 (Julia girl, I’m still so sorry). Anywayyy, we headed off to go see the Ho Chi Minh statue (cool guy), got told I wasn’t allowed to stop at Mcdonalds (not letting that go either) and into taxis. Our taxis dropped us off right outside burger king and the temptation was too much. After Louise told me I should go get some food and that she’d stall for me (she’s so wise and mature, if she told me to cut my hand off, I’d say okay yeah, sounds like a good idea) I was convinced and took off with Ffion and Julia to the slowest service in a fast food place ever. Within ten seconds Adam came in and scared the living poop out of me (PG ratings folks) to yell at us for running off (I say yell, but it was really just words at a normal volume but as someone who hates any form of confrontation it felt like I was being yelled at through a megaphone) which is my fave memory of the trip!!! We headed back (with nugs don’t worry) and went to meet the rest of the group at a different rooftop bar. I had a really weird strawberry cocktail that was more strawberry than cocktail, but did look quite schfancy. We left pretty soon after getting there and went back to the bar from the first night in the city. More Jaeger bombs, more card games until we returned to the dreaded bar of my nightmares. About an hour after getting there, a shisha bong fell on Ffion cutting her leg and everyone seemed very concerned for her life apart from me and her. I grabbed Adam, pointed at Ffion and then continued to laugh at her which I feel fulfils my friend duties. All in all, this was maybe my favourite night of the trip and was an amazing way to end my Vietnam intro travels.
Day twelve and the last official day of Vietnam Intro. We woke up, had a quick recap of what went on the night before and at about 11 the thought occurred to us that we had to check out and move to a different hotel. After confirmation from Adam at 11:30 we hustled (I say we, I mean me. Ffion and Julia might be the slowest packers this world has ever seen, much love though) to check out by 12. We got settled into our new hotel room, said some goodbyes to Adam and the group and prepared to be alone. When Adam left, that’s when we knew the trip was really over. We were left in a foreign country with no adult supervision (we were all technically adults but not real adults you know). This was a weird day. We went from being a group of 14/15 people to just the three of us with no one telling us the plan for the day, we had to decide for ourselves? Truly alien concept. The first decision made was food. We headed back out to grab some food and started on the list of things I chose to ignore from the suggested packing list but decided half way through my travels, was the best time to get these missing items. I didn’t even get the things I actually needed but I bought a bum bag (fanny pack for any Americans) that I did not use once! Post city exploration we headed back to the hotel where I started to pack to leave and my two roomies had a nap that coma patients would be jealous of. It was decided that the plan for the night was to relive our first night in Ho Chi Minh. We went back to the same restaurant and saw the new Intro group. Such young souls that had yet to be destroyed by the city. Some drinks followed with some chats and that was my last night in Vietnam with Ffion and Julia. A nostalgic night.
The Vietnam post is now over, congrats if you made it this far. Don't be sad that it's over, I still have two weeks in Bali to update you on!
Also thank you to my Vietnam group especially Luna, Ffion and Julia for making those twelve days even more fun than I could've expected, I miss you guys! Vietnam Hoii!
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