Blame it on the Rain

Trip Start Oct 2002
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Trip End Nov 2002


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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Well since I last wrote we have left Hoi An and its
rain spent some time in the rain in Nha Trang and are
now in Dalat (where it is drizzling) before we head to
Saigon tonight.

Some random points;

Bucketed down first day in Hoi An, so most of the
group spent time in the Tubby Tailors getting suits,
shirts etc made. The females absolutely loved it, they
all felt like models. The whole Vietnam economy was
supported by this shopping expedition.

Luckily the next day it cleared up and a few of us
hired bikes and went cycling through the town and
nearby villages, was great getting out and about and
being able to see things we wouldn't normally. The
bikes were circa 1812, penny farthings would have been
better.

At night we had a cooking lesson - learnt to make a
few dishes which the luckier ones of you reading this
may get to sample (don't worry fee will do the
cooking). A lot of time and effort goes into the food
presentation..more than I take with my 2 minute
noodles at home.

Interesting stat number 13: The average wage of a road
worker is $50USD per month. A doctor after 7 years of
study earns $23USD a month. Just wanted you to learn
something.

The next morning we were supposed to fly to Nha Trang
but the airport was flooded forcing us to stay in Hoi
An another day. The hotel we were in was booked out so
we moved 4km away to the 4 star Hoi An beach resort.
On the beach but it was blowing a Brendan Gale. More
wind than in the toilet of an Indian restaurant. So
activities were minimal. Though if I puffed my t-shirt
out a bit I could take flight for short periods of
time.

Heard some really drunk French people sing very bad
Karaoke/

The next day with the airport still out of action we
took the train to Nha Trang. A 10 hour delight through
scenic scenery (as opposed to unscenic scenery??)

Luckily we were in the first class cabins (though
first class should not be taken at face value) as the
other carriages on the train were absolute barry
crockers. People cramped into spaces I didn't think
possible. Some were going from Hanoi to Saigon a
delightful 33 hour journey which must be great when
your face is shoved up the butt of the guy in front.

Meanwhile in first class we were enjoying beers and
cards. Aah the life.

Got into Nha Trang at 10pm and did very little there
in the next 12 hours. It is beach resort best summed
up as Broadbeach 1973. With rain and wind there was
little to do.

The most interesting thing I can say is that to have a
shower in there hotel required gymnastic manouevres
not seen since Nadia Comanechi retired.

6 hour bus ride to Dalat. Up up up. The last 40 kms
took 2 hours as it was windy and hilly and there was a
lot of overtaking which the great man Dennis would
describe as ambitious. Dalat is like a European alpine
village picked up and plunked in Vietnam. Very pretty
and very unlike the rest of Vietnam. The honeymoon
destination of Vietnamese.

Visted the Royal Palace which I only mention because
they make you put on cloth slippers on top of your
shoes. This enabled me to moonwalk, slip, slide, ice
skate my way around the palace, much to the chagrin of
the stern faced guards. When I whipped off my pants
and performed my imitation of Tom Cruise in Risky
Business I was asked to leave.

SO tonight in Saigon then I leave Fee behind to go to
the Mekong Delta in stay in some unsuspecting locals
house.

We also had a Cup Sweep yesterday which was fun and
for the first time in 29 years I won a prize. Thank
you Mr Prudent. I won 1 million dong, enough for a
beer.

Social observation number 13: The women here like
having very white skin. They wear long tops the cover
their arms, pants over their legs and masks. They
dress all in white like they are about to play
cricket. And back home people (usually Hawthron
footballers) spend dollars on solariums to look brown
(or more like orange).


Adios

Ash
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