While it's exciting to head off into the great wide world, Dorothy had it right when she said "There's no place like home". Sadly I forgot to pack my magic sparkly red shoes and so we had to come home from our two weeks in Vietnam the traditional way - through three airports in the space of 24 hours.
Important news first. My hair straightener made a single appearance in the two weeks we were away. I walked around Vietnam with ala natural hair because with the humidity over there it's pointless to straighten it. Within 5 minutes of going outside your hair looks like one giant brillo pad. My hairstyle du jour became a constant ugly pony tail that served to accentuate my triple chin. Don't laugh- I'm seriously contemplating a diet and some exercise which shows I've probably gone temporarily insane.
Nothing can prepare you for the sheer volume of traffic, the noise, the level of activity , the smells, and eighty eight million people speaking in a language I only understood three words of . I pondered googling the phrase for "fat stupid western chick " because I'm fairly confident that I got called that a lot.
Hilarious events- Mr. P thinking the lady with the basket of cats was selling them for food and wanting to buy all 8 of them to rescue them. She was actually selling them to people so the cats could catch house mice.
Mr. P refusing to have a massage because he was afraid his clothes would get stolen and he'd have to walk back to our hotel naked. My 5 hours of spa treatments were absolute bliss for under 80 bucks.
Getting lost in Saigon approximately 432 times. Is there anywhere in the world harder to negotiate than a city where every single street seem to be named Hang -something and Bu- something. That was not the time to discover Mr. P was absolutely crap at reading maps.
I loved the food and didn't have any close calls with nuts. I had a list of things I wanted to eat while I was there that I happily munched my way through ...bahn mi, bun cha, pork skewers on a stick eaten in the street. I almost cried with happiness though when I saw lamingtons in a bakery in Hanoi and bought one just to have something that didn't come accompanied by rice or noodles. Mr. P dragged me into the Vietnamese version of McDonalds (Lotteria) our last night in Hanoi and was bitterly disappointed by the fact the hamburger had chutney and no cheese and the fried chicken was honey and soy flavoured.
The single best thing we did in Saigon was a street food tour. It was amazing to eat where the locals eat. I have to say though after two solid weeks of Vietnamese food I was hanging out for a lamb roast.
Vietnamese clothes are made to fit people the approximate diameter of a corn cob. Since I am not in that fortunate class I didn't do any clothes shopping. I did however lay in a supply of hand fans for when menopause proper hits in a couple of years time. My hot flushes are going to be a classy affair.
Halong Bay was glorious. Totally unspoilt and very relaxing. That part of our trip just wasn't long enough.
Saigon was brash and sassy and in your face. And huge. And hot. And there were street sellers and cyclo drivers everywhere trying to rip you off.
|L to R top- view from the Sky Deck , and Ho Chi Minh Square|
Lto R bottom - the footpath after rain and the reunification palace