And a Good'ay to Oz
19.05.2012 - 27.05.2012 27 °C
Our last week in Vietnam
I thought since we have a few hours to waste before our flight to Oz I would update you on our final week or so in Vietnam. Since our last update I believe we were up to Hanoi about to fly to Saigon to meet up with Hannah and JP. We arrived Friday afternoon and were welcomed at the airport by JP and made our way to their apartment where we discussed our plans for the next week. Again our plans changed, as did the weather with regular thunderstorms and rain - at which point we decided this is probably not beach weather but definitely adventure weather
Obviously Han and JP still had to complete a weekend of slogging hard work and planning (felt slightly lazy that we would just be bumming around whilst they worked) but had the week to look forward to So to fill our time until then we booked a trip to the Mekong Delta. It was a 2 day 1 night trip with the option of staying at a local families home at night or staying in a regular hotel. So we decided to go with the home stay and it was fantastic, such an experience!
The Mekong Delta - aka Mozzie Heaven
The first day we went on a small boat and travelled across to the small islands, can't remember the names of the islands but they only had about 800 people max living on one of the islands so very small and secluded and most of all peaceful. On each island we got shown a glimpse into the daily life of the locals. From being shown how they make rice noodles, tasting honey from a bee hive (very sweet and yummy), drinking local snake wine (yes with a snake - dead- fermented in the bottle) and eating candy (and being shown the process) made from coconut. We took a small canoe like boat through the natural canals that had coconut trees and bamboo towering above us it was so quaint and idyllic I could have spent the whole day exploring the canals.
At the end of the day we were driven to a road pretty much in the middle of somewhere but nowhere, there were three of us who got off the bus, myself, Brett and another lady Marion from Austria. We were met by a guy who took us for a 10minute walk to meet the family we would be staying with for the night. There was 2 aunties 3 dogs and then the husbands. The lady who greeted us (Nam) was going to be our host for the night, she was very sweet but did not speak a word of English. That night we learnt how to count to 5 in Vietnamese (through drinking the local Rice Wine) and also learnt how to make Vietnamese pancakes stuffed with pork and bean sprouts. We were Delia Smith and Jamie Oliver for one night only and successfully failed presentation wise however they did taste pretty awesome! We sat around talking and eating the feast that Nam had prepared for us and eventually retired to our rooms for the night. They have home stays pretty much every night which surprised me but also meant they were very well prepared and even had little rooms on the side for guests with mozzie nets floating over the beds. When we woke in the morning after being woken up by a cockerel I can definitely say the mozzies had an amazing feast on my feet, I look like I have chicken pox all over my feet...And even though I slept right next to Brett he got a couple of bites and that was it. Not fair!
The following day we took a visit to the floating market. It was brilliant, amazingly hectic. The river was rammed with local boats with poles held above each of their boats displaying the product they were selling on that boat. It really was fantastic to see and nothing like what I imagined, I imagined the small rowing boats selling a whole array of products, not a boat overloaded with thousands of pineapples! After lunch we slowly made our way back to Saigon to Han and JP's.
Time for an awesome adventure
Great news when we arrived back from the Mekong, Han was allowed the time off work during the week (bar Monday) which meant we had the whole week to spend with Han and JP on what was an awesome adventure! We changed our plans and decided we would go to Dalat rather than Phu Quoc/Can Dao due to the weather changing.
Dalat - the place to go for honeymooners to enjoy relaxing paddling in a swan on the lake and riding through the mountainside
Or.... alternatively to go Mountain biking through dirt tracks, camping eating sushi (aka uncooked kebabs but still very yummy) then followed by canyoning/abseiling through waterfalls and watersliding.
We arrived on a sleeper bus early Tuesday morning and had a relaxing day hiring motorbikes/mopeds each and riding through the mountain side hunting for waterfalls, hammocks and poo sticks. Brett has now successfully learnt how to ride a motorbike, I however chickened out and kept with the moped for now (you would if you saw the crazy driving out here!), perhaps I will learn from Brett when we reach Indonesia
Wednesday reached us, the day of Mountain biking. Now, my legs were not made for cycling, running/swimming maybe but not cycling so why I thought I could do 25km of MOUNTAIN biking (clue is in the title really) is beyond me. However, we got our bikes and began the day of cycling - first part was a hill. I suddenly realised this was going to be a tough day as I looked at Brett, Han and JP cycling jut ahead of me appearing to be at ease. We then came to the off-roading up and down hills and I have got to admit, although it was tough it was fantastically fun! Slightly worried at times about the possibility of falling off a few times however managed the whole day without a crash as did the rest of us (nearly). There was a few harsh slips from Han and she nearly ended up over the handle bars but luckily stopped herself very gracefully. And then there was me who decided to get off the bike at one point and as I placed my foot down realised there was no ground beneath me just a man-sized pot hole - ouch and oops! We finished our day with only 1 change of tyre, numerous chains coming off and oil stained bodies oh and a round of rounders with a stick and pine cones. We arrived out our campsite and freshened up then collected wood for our fire. Our guide was preparing dinner, he literally had his hand in the fire cooking kebabs. So We decided to try and build a stone bbq - it worked eventually and hopefully saved our guide from serious hand burns.
The next day we went abseiling. Very exciting and nervous at the same time. We walked through some tropical forest and down to the start of our training. A small wall to practice braking and moving down safely and swiftly. All geared up we climbed up the rocks and made our first attempt at abseiling. I was bricking it, I am not going to lie, abseiling was/is one of my fears, something about myself being fully responsible for myself and safety kind of nerves me with my known clumsiness. As always Brett took to the sport swimmingly and looked pretty professional abseiling down, I kind of wished I was attached to his rope so he could be responsible for me and him Myself and Han had one more practice before moving on to our first wall 18meters eeek!
It was brilliant - we took it in turns and abseiled down into a pool of water below us which had quite a strong current and seemed to loose my memory on how to swim after concentrating on how to abseil. With the adrenaline pumping we moved on to the next one, 15 metres. You could see we were all slowly getting more confident at it however still nerve racking looking over the edge to a drop. We were then taken to a small waterfall that we told we were going to slide down. It looked painful, however it was actually alright bar a few bruises, especially going head first. Sadly JP lost his 11 year old glasses - We didn't find them like the wedding ring, it was slightly impossible. Moment for the lost glasses.....
After lunch it was time to suck it up and complete the waterfall - 25 metres and a raging waterfall to contend with, oh and a 3 metre drop at the end which was actually more like a 5 metre drop into the unknown. Brett was the first volunteer to go (volunteered by all of us) followed by JP who was extremely lucky, on his 3 metre fall somehow he managed to get his body head down and cracked his head onto the rock of the waterfall before falling into the water - thankfully and surprisingly he was not injured! Han and I were standing at the top watching this and bricking it even more. Han was next, she made it down facing all her fears, after smashing her heel a year ago when she jumped 30 meters off a cliff into water and landed on rock - I really do admire Han for doing this as I know for sure I wouldn't of been able to do that drop after recovering from that! Finally it was my go - Scariest thing I have ever done in my life - going down the waterfall was amazing, ridiculously slippery. At the point where we had to stop, let go and fall backwards into the water below was the part that was scary..... after many counts to 3 I finally let go a fell - which seemed forever into the water below. Amazing fun, scary and gets the blood pumping - would I do it again - yes without a doubt! The final waterfall called the washing machine. You only find out why once you have completed it. It literally swirls you round and spits you out the other side.
After our adventurous few days we made our way back to Saigon. Han and JP had to go back to work and we did our final tour of Saigon - Cu Chi Tunnels. It is an underground village of over 200km of a network of the tiniest tunnels where the Vietnamese fought the Americans (and won) for 9 years but only so much of it remains now because of the bombs. Seeing all the weapons made and traps out of bamboo really shows how industrious the vietnamese are with so little resource. Our tour guide actually fought in the war and showed us his bullet wounds, it really brings it closer to you.
So, we are now just waiting for our flight to Australia. We have said our goodbyes to Han and JP, hoping to see them in Laos so not long before we will be meeting up again. Very exciting!! We have to pack our bags still and pop to the market, print off our tickets and then go go go!!
So it's goodbye Vietnam, all in all it has been a brilliant adventure, I have grown more and more to loving Vietnam and maybe one day we will visit again but there will be a few more countries to visit first.
Hope you all enjoyed the read, if you made it this far. I didn't mean it to be so long however it has been an awesome week!
Till next time (probably after the Australian road trip whoop!)
Hope you are all well
Here are a few more pics for you to enjoy....