Vietnam – Burn Baby Burn

Ok, so there’s a few days left to your trip around the world. You’re looking for an easy life, maybe a last top-up to the tan marks. How about a relaxing boat trip?

If only. Here is our tour guide on the phone. Inside, where we’ve just been having lunch, you may see some smoke.
http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/kenneth.kufluk/VietnamBurningBoat
Yes, the boat’s on fire.

We’d just finished lunch – me and an Australian couple and four Americans. When we notice smoke in the window. A common occurence here: emissions tests aren’t the norm. However, then the smoke came through the floorboards.
As the crew panic like headless chickens, we cower at the front of the boat, (fortunately with all our bags as we hadn’t got our rooms yet), awaiting rescue.

The rescue boats arrive. The boat burns to the water. The crew all jump in. No-one knows where the dog went. We drive off and continue the tour on a different boat, pretty much as if nothing had happened.

I think for my final day here I might just stay here, safely hidden under the bed…

See also:
VN Express
Tin Tuc Vietnam

Vietnam – Hanoi

I like Hanoi.
No-one hassles you, and the whole town has more of a easy-going vibe than Saigon. And there’s no KFC here.
There *are* a lot of motorbikes. On very small roads. Who try to kill you.
But they don’t seem to bug you as much here. I only got five offers this morning, and they all gav up on the first ‘no’!

Vietnam – Motorbikes

Walking down the street anywhere in Vietnam, people are falling over themselves to help you. But not in any kind of charitable way – they just want your money.

The streets are full of motorbikes. Full. And they all want to offer you a lift. In an average day I must reject between 150-200 people. But they don’t stop there – they start offering you all sorts of other things. It gets tiring.

The other day a guy came running across to me. Hello! he shouts.
Well, I’m all out of patience.
NO! I shout.
No motorbike!
No cyclo!
No marijuana!
No opium!
No hotel!
No restaurant!
! No massage!
No girls!
No “boom-boom” with said girls or for that matter, you!
Whatever it is: you can’t help me.
Leave me in peace.

He looked a little surprised at my outburst, and silently handed over the book I’d left behind.

Australia – Surfer’s Paradise

I think most people would dispute the name.
The surf isn’t great on the beach (you have to go 20 mins down the road), and the skyrises just rise straight out the top of the beach blocking the sunlight in the afternoon.

It’s not a bad beach though. I was here for a couple of days, met up with Chris again for a few beers and decided to stick around here waiting for my flight instead of going to Brisbane.

The next day some Americans showed up. Mishara, Mike and Lee (who was actually Swedish) arrived. They are studying at Rockhampton for a year or so and this was their ‘spring break’. For the next week, our room was party-ville for the many other yanks and swedes. We’d be drinking in our room till 12, then go out till 4 only to be woken at 8/9 in the morning by the sunshine and then go lie on the beach.

Americans are funny. They’re just charactatures of themselves. All “party-foul” (bad thing) and “party-plus” (good thing). I laughed greatly.

After a week of that, I was exhausted, being (in comparison) and old man. I managed to somehow pick up a cold and hang around until my flight to Saigon, which, I hadn’t noticed, had a delightful 9 hour layover in Singapore.