Thursday, July 05, 2007

Vietnam much can be said.

Lets see...its a very long country and getting in between cities takes tremendous amounts of time and patience on the bus, its very historic and is also communist. We spent nearly a month here, began by meeting up with Ariane sister Pip and her friend Sally in Saigon/Ho Chi Minn City and from there we worked our way north eventually arriving in Hanoi. We did half the trip on the bus and got over that quite quickly. We opted to fly the last 2 legs that saved us 30+ hours on a stinky, hot and slow bus.

I found Vietnam to be strange and honestly I was quite disappointed. I hate to say that but it just wasnt what I was expecting, thinking or hoping it would be. I wont actually type why I didn't like it because many of you have probably been and do really like it. I did think there some great things and my favorites included the town of Hoi An, diving, and seeing the beautiful Halong Bay.

We started in Saigon then went to Dalat, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi & Halong Bay. We saw most of the country, the girls went to the Mekong Delta but I was sick and skipped it. I also did not make it to Sapa in the NW corner, but I had more than my fill of Vietnam and was ready to get out.

Some of the pictures are in order but most are going from the North and go south, so opposite of what we actually did.

Typical Halong Bay "Junk Boats"

Floating Villages

"buy something from me"

family time

This is Pip, Ariane younger sister and whom we traveled with on and off in Vietnam. This was her first big trip on her own out of Australia and as you can see...she is pretty excited about it!!

We spent 2 nights in Halong Bay, 1 on a boat and the other in a little hut.

Here is our hut! Its good the bridge was there because the tide actually came all the way up to it. This was a great hut, definitely the nicest one we stayed in on this whole trip.

It poured so hard, it was fun watching the Australian girls be amazed by the heavy tropical rains. They have grown up in a drought in southern Aus, so they were wanting to bottle up the rain and ship it home.

On the way back to the piers, the seas were sooo rough and everybody was sick. 1 toilet and lots of sick people. rough ride!!

Me trying to not get was tough between the rough seas, other sick people and heavy diesel fumes but I made it!!!

About the age when kids start working in Vietnam. This little girl was a fruit seller on her family's boat.

A group of Vietnamese students who were very interested in us.

The view from a cave mid way up the cliffs

The docking system in Halong Bay. As an avid water/boat person I was so surprised to see this. I have been taught that at any cost you avoid actually hitting other boats. Here in Vietnam its the opposite, hit them and use them as much as you can. In this system to get on and off the boats, you just do a boat hop from one to the other until you are where you are trying to go.

When I was coming back to our boat after a shore swim, I did what I was told and hopped in between boats. Only to find myself in the kitchen of a boat full of Koreans that was leaving. I dont know who was more surprised, them to find a token American girl or me to discover i would be spending the night with them. Luckily, one of the crew realized I looked out of place and had me crawl out the kitchen window to another boat.

Hanoi: I had a few other pictures here but they seem to have disappeared. Hanoi is the capital and I thought it was much nicer than Saigon. We stayed in the Old Quarter and it was fun walking around the maze like streets. They have specific streets for specific things, so there is a lantern street, a bamboo street, foam street etc....pretty neat way to set up the city. My favorite thing we did here was going to the water puppet theater.

The lake in the middle of the old quarter

serious motorbike just goes 24/7 and all directions. If you think you are on a 1-way street you are most likely wrong. There does not seem to be any organization to it, you just go.

amazing what can be carried on a little scooter!

A store worker..seriously!! We went to buy water and this little guy came out holding 2 2 liter bottles of water for us.

This guy was incredible...and we are not sure where he came from. We were walking around the town of Hue and Ariane flip flop broke. Out of nowhere this guy appears, hops a fence, finds another black flip flop, hops back over the fence and in about 1 minute has replace her entire strap. Really was incredible!!


Very common sight in all of Vietnam

another very common sight all over SE Asia

This is the town of Hoi An which was my favorite town in the country. Its full of little alleys with art shops and good restaurants.

The prefered way to get around Hoi An

We spent a day out diving

It was great to try diving in Vietnam. The diving was ok, saw a bunch of small things but its nowhere I would think of as a great place to dive.

Another very typical site, a woman out working in the fields

traffic at any hour of any day. It never seems to change.

This was one of the nicest people we met in Vietnam. This was in the town of Dalat and she is the owner of the "Dreams" hostel...if you are ever in Dalat, Vietnam you really should stay there. It was probably the nicest hostel we have stayed in on the entire trip.

Saigon or Ho Chi Minn City...a city with 2 names, it was our first stop in Vietnam and I was sick so didnt see much. Did spend a day out looking at this crazy house. Its like a fun house that used to be a hotel. Just strange...I guess it paved the way for the rest of the country to be strange.

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