Sunday 6th May - Sunday 27th May 2012
14.05.2012 - 27.05.2012 35 °C
Nha Trang Continued...
For our second day in Nha Trang, we hit the beach in style... arriving on sun loungers in already blistering heat at 9am, and intermitantly running across the baking sand from sea to sun lounger and back! That evening was much the same as before, with more drinks at a bar called 'Booze Cruise' and I met Alex's American friends Matt, Sam and Don!
We laughed at the sign for 'Pedestrian crossing' which had a very swanky strut to it...
We played a very exciting game of 6-piece jenga, which got really high and very wobbly before Don finally knocked it over!
More drinks at Why Not? and this happens... Oh Dear!
Thap Banha- Mud Baths
In need of some serious relaxation after our heavy partying, the girls decided to take a day off from the beach/drink to enjoy the mineral mud baths at Tam Bun spa!
We arrived with low expectations but were pleasently surprised with a GREAT day! The perfect way to cure a hang over... although the mud did smell a bit!
That evening, on recommendation from the 'Lonely Planet' we all went out for an Indian curry, which was ÂMAZING! before meeting the boys to play drinking games at Why Not?... one of which included impersonating an animal... I was a tiger! x
There was also a moment when the boys found the Vietnamese currency "Dong" very funny and so pushed it through their flies to "get their dongs out"... boys will be boys!
The next day was OFFICIALLY an alcohol free day, and mine and Bianca's last day in Nha Trang before we got the sleeper bus to Hoi An. As such, we spent it on the beach again, tanning and chatting and having manicures/pedicures and massages!
Good thing too as the sleeper bus was NOT a fun experience... firstly there was no toilet as the driver decided to use the toilet as the 'Bag Room' (probably so that they could smuggle drugs where the bags should go), then they tried to put Bianca and I on a lower shared bunk at the back, which neither of us could even sit up in... and THEN they tried to put a random girl in there to spoon with as well!
Well, I was NOT having it... so I just marched up to the driver and told him that we were too tall to have those beds and so we were moving... resulting in two private sleeper beds, which were marginally more comfortable!
The bus driver still used his horn to the excess, drove at 200mph and kept putting on noisy kung fu films, and there was a woman beside me throwing up all night, but we made it to Hoi An for 7am...
When we arrived, we decided to stay at the same hotel as Jon, who had arrived a day before us. It was called Vinh Huy and the receptionist 'Vicky' was SOOO lovely! We had a few hours sleep in a nice double bed before going for a walk to explore the town. It was very small with LOTS of tailors and dress shops, that all had traditional carved wooden signs and open doorways... the riverside was very pretty, although the river itself was brown! :-S
Upon recommendation from our hotel, we went to Bi Hanh tailors to have my dress made for the wedding... which turned out to be a DISASTER! lesson learned... just buy it from ASOS!
But I also ordered a tailor made pair of shoes, which turned out brilliantly! That evening we went for dinner at a restaurtant along the river where we met Kim, a local bar tender who was flyering for his bar "Old and New" and offering free buckets! Never one to turn down free alcohol, we decided that after our shrimp curry and seafood spring rolls, we would go for our 1 free bucket before we went home... fast forward 4 hours, and it's midnight, we've been the only customers Kim has had and we've spent the entire evening playing our favourite songs on you tube, playing pool with Kim, and drinking buckets! OOPS! Luckily, the bar also offered free transport home, so Bianca and I squashed onto the back of a scooter with a Vietnamese boy who soon asked me to marry him and thus became my husband!
Kim said he'd like to show us around Hoi An and so offered to pick us up in the morning and show us the local villages for free! WOO HOO!
Next Kim drove us to another village where they make pottery... one old woman had the tedious job of turning the potters wheel with her feet for 10 hours each day, while the other squatted on a wooden stall moulding the clay! We were given an opportunity to make our own 'flower vase', and took it in turns to have a go! I think I was pretty good at it myself! (^_^)
This was where I bought the salt and pepper pots, as I thought they would make a nice keep-sake for Vietnam, provided they make it home without cracking!
Next we went for lunch in a floating restaurant, where I ordered more vegetable soup... I am LIVING on it here! Before we headed back to the tailors for my second fitting... The dress was still very mum-sy, but looked less like a Victorian night gown now!
Kim said that if we helped him to flyer that evening, then we could have free buckets all night... so, to thank him for his tour guiding, we met up with him for pizza in the evening and did the highly embarrassing and annoying task of harrassing tourists while they ate for an hour... HOWEVER... it was SOOO worth it, because we did an AMAZING job! By the end of the night there were at least 30 people in the bar, who spent LOADS of money, and whom we chatted to like fab hostesses! Kim kept true to his word and let us drink for free all night, making our buckets of Vietnamese rum and coke extra strong and never letting them get empty... needless to say, I drank 11, and apparently nearly punched a girl because she kept skipping the music mid song- although I do not recall this, thus it did not happen!
We also earned the right to sign our names on the wall of the bar, and, as I naturally wanted to be somewhere everyone could see... I convinced a drunken Australian guy to let me stand on his shoulders...
Kim taught us "Mot, Hai, Ba, Zo! (pronounced 'Yo')" which means "1,2,3, Cheers!' in Vietnamese!
There was also some very strange/strong smoking pipe thing on the bar that burnt my lungs and made me cough a LOT and probably the worst hang over I have had in AGES in the morning... Vietnamese Rum 1 - 0 Skye!!
The next day we managed to stomach some soup and stagger around in the bright sunshine to our dress/ shoe fittings, Kim met us at 2pm to go to the beach, where I slept in the sunshine, and then we got Rum n Raisen, Caramel and Coconut ice cream (three scoops) and decided that we should let Vietnamese women who couldnt speak a word of English, cut our hair for $3... she thought a 'trim' translated to 'an inch', but at least it is still long and the split ends are gone! :-P
Our first impression of Hue was the heat... for some reason, here it was a million degrees hotter than anywhere else! We stayed at a nice hotel, and on our first afternoon went to visit the Citadel (ruins of the Imperial City where the Emporer and his family/court lived in the 1800s), here we were pestered by Tuk Tuk drivers who weren't even allowed into the city walls, but who insisted on asking to take us on a tour! Both Bianca and I nearly whacked them!!
Once inside, we walked around and slyly snuck on to the end of an American tour group so we could get some history about the place! The buildings were all very pretty and Chinese in style, but as they were heavily bombed during the war, the city was very much in ruins! After a few hours we couldn't take the heat anymore and left to get some spring rolls and vegetable broth... both staples of our Vietnamese diet! (^_^)
As it was so early, I pretty much slept the entire journey between Hue and Phong Na- (5 hours, not 3) - only waking up to eat the WORST lunch I think I have ever been given... I should have known that I would hate it, but this one I couldnt even stomach... there were plates of boiled eggs with massive chunks of boiled pork, a bowl of spinach in water, thick noodles, tiny prawn-lke things with their shells still on and a whole fish which was FULL of bones! Luckily there were a few spring rolls floating around, so I just ate them!! :-(
We also stopped to visit a Catholic church en route, which was very strange and most of it was re-built outdoors, in the shape of a big tree!?
Once we finally reached Phong Na, the scenery was INCREDIBLE! The river that leaked through the caves was full of boats that had TINY Vietnamese village women stearing them, children splashing around and water buffalo cooling off! The mountains that surrounded the lake were very green and the sun was smiling down! LOVELY!
Another 5 hours and we were finally back in Hue, with swollen feet and very heavy eye-lids! Went back to Why Not? Bar for dinner and then had a few drinks before sleep (with my feet propped up on a pillow like an old maid!) x
The next stop was Hanoi, we booked our sleeper bus for the following evening, had a LONG lie in and bought ourselves some Valium in the hope that this time we would be able to get some sleep!
Luckily, we managed to get decent beds this time and with the help of the second book in the "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" series, I slept like a baby for the whole 14 hours! (^_^)
] (A Sign that Bianca and Brendan continuously ignored!! Tut Tut!!)
This tour involved a group of backpackers, driving to a small village about 15 mins out of Hanoi, where they bread snakes for meat... the crowning glory of this trip was that some lucky people could eat the beating heart out of a live snakes chest and everyone could drink the blood and the bile of this snake mixed with local (and lethal) rice wine... It is said to be a local delicacy and a natural Viagra... so I did!
I know this has caused quite a stir, but it was an AWESOME experience, (the raw heart tasted like fish but the cooked snake tasted like really chewy chicken!) and I met some great people, whilst also earning myself some serious man-points for being the only girl to do it! (Hard core!)
("We're about to eat snake heart" face)
A CRAZY first night in Hanoi, and a MASSIVE hang over the next day... so Bianca, Brendan and I decided to chill out and go to the cinema to watch 'The Avengers' in 3D! A great film and some yummy popcorn! x
Early night that night as 6:30am marked the start of our Halong Bay Tour... Three days and Two nights of absolute MADNESS that will require a blog entry all of it's own... xx