Vietnam South to North

Xin chào mates!

As you know from last week I’ve been hanging out in Vietnam for the past 8 days, and as you may know from Facebook not all of it has been fun. With every experience that we encounter I believe we grow a little, regardless what it is. I’m still not over the bad experience that I will elaborate upon later but I know that it had changed me and my perception of the world around me.

So that night my mate showed up and we met up with his mate (my friend’s friend) in the morning and just saw around Ho Chi Minh City, went through the markets and chinatown, had some drinks and whatnot. The eye opener was how much of a target you are when you are 3 white guys walking around a relatively poor country. Everyone wants your money, and even if you want their goods, you want to haggle for at least two minutes before settling down. The price you’re told is the “tourist price” as we’ve been calling it and you shouldn’t settle for more than 50%  of the price you’re first told. After that day we lived it up a little that society was quite  cheap but ended up spending more than expected by doing so.

Anyways, we chilled out, got some drinks and I got some fake shades (so I wouldn’t need to wear my real Ray Ban’s.. and they were just 1.50$!) We caught a train to Nha Trang where I had my bad experience. We started the day off well with some vietnamese noodles for lunch then head out to see some Cham Towers. The towers were awesome and we followed it up with a mud bath / mineral water spa experience right after. We got back around supper time to treat ourselves to gourmet food, for myself; Ostrich. We got some drinks at one of the local bars but after we were confronted by some people trying to sell us stuff, as usual. We tried to tell them to get away and that we didn’t want anything, but the lady reached over my shoulder to bring me to her merch (or so I thought) but within one second or two tops she jumped on a scooter and blasted off, which is when I realized that my necklace that was given to me at my baptism was stolen. I later confronted some guys about the situation and they agreed to get it back for 250$. I agreed without hesiation as long as they got and showed me the necklace beforehand. Clearly I didn’t think in advance because they ditched me after the 200$ was given. The story is a bit longer but typing it and talking about it don’t make me feel good so I won’t get into it. I felt like crap all night and ended up barely sleeping outside my hotel because it was locked after 2 am, just around the time I managed to get back. Regardless the next day we went on the 6$ boat excursion we booked and I got to try turtle and shark for the first time. I couldn’t stop thinking about my necklace and going over the event hundreds of times in my mind and I still can’t get it out, it was a traumatic experience so that day I wasn’t really hungry or into any of the stuff we did on the boat.

We caught an overnight sleeper bus to Hoi An that night and were very lucky to get a bus to the My Son ruins about 20 minutes after we checked in. The ruins were awesome and definitely a noteworthy first time experience. We got back in time for lunch and immediately searched for the best tailor. Hoi An is polluted with tailor shops so the two guides (Lonely Planet and the France equivalent) lead us to a couple, but one stood out for me. It had the exact slightly shiny navy blue color I was looking for in a high quality cashmere/wool fabric. We spent about 5 hours there picking out fabrics for shirts and suits (and jackets for my friends) before heading out. The next day we rented 3 scooters for 10$ and head down to the beach. The beach was pretty sweet, not the clearest water but there were tons of crabs on the sand and the waves were crazy, a surfers dream for sure. We rode back to town to try on our suits and were all very happy although some minor adjustments had to be made for the next day before leaving. We got up early enough to take the scooters for one last ride and sight see a little. We had to head to the tailors by 11 to do the final fitting and for me the shipping (as they decided to save the 30$ shipping cost by buying 20$ bags and lugging those around for the next few weeks). We jumped on a bus to Hue and an overnight sleeper again from Hue to Hanoi. This one was much less pleasant as it was 17 hours and we got stuck in the back, sharing the space of 4 sleepers for 5 people, making it very crammed, uncomfortable and hot. Regardless we made it here where we chilled out sightseeing for today.

Tomorrow we jump on a 2 day 1 night cruise around Ha Long Bay (Vietnam’s Whitsundays) and hopefully after that I’ll manage to get to Laos within 3 days as my friends are flying to Thailand because one of them only has about a week left of asia. After Laos I will be meeting my mate in Central Thailand to do the North and work our way down to Bangkok for our goodbye.

As you may know I’m going to be in Vancouver from the 15th until the 22nd which is the night I return and hopefully see those closest to me on that night or the following.

I want to also add that there  will be a facebook event or message sent regarding a package arriving in Montreal a week or so before me that I would like all of my closest friends to attend, this package will have gifts from my travels, the date will be announced soon.

Until then, enjoy some pics!

PS. Note that I haven’t cut my hair since I left Canada and I haven’t shaved my beard since Halloween.

Picture uploading is not working at the moment, I’ll try again soon, I may need to do 1 at a time due to the frequency of disconnecting in Vietnam.

 

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