Saturday, March 14, 2009

Vietnam, F T Grimshaw and cheating death on racing Mototaxis

Well after a week in Vietianne I was more than ready to go. Its a chilled city with none of the ATM issues I experienced elsewhere. Unfortunately there's not a lot to do unless you enjoy the grim, illicit and disease ridden thrills of sleeping with prostitutes and/or lady boys. However there is Buddha Park which is pretty cool.

Into the mouth of hell

There is also Pra That Luang. Le Super Super photo pic

Pha That Luang

Waiting to walk

The hand factory

That is pretty much it.

Eventually I bust out to Vietnam and met Frank. We stayed at the Backpacker Hostel in Hanoi which is pretty much were all the travellers go. However being a pair of utter fools we decided that it wasn't for us we needed to find another bar area. After a meal at a street cafe that included a whole frog we hit Hanoi and immediately got lost. An hour or so later we found a bar. Possibly the most expensive bar in Hanoi but we hit it hard and the Barmen appreciatively gave us a ton of local firewater. Blind drunk and having no idea where we were we took two kindly scam artists up on their offers of a ridiculously overpriced moped ride back to the hotel. Not content with dealing with the shady underbelly of Hanoi we decided to sweeten the deal, add a bit of spice to the broth, some magic to the night.

"Right! we'll give 10$ extra to whoever gets us back first."

Being gambling men, they took off like the hounds of hell and pelted us through the narrow lanes and traffic strangled streets. I'm serious, it was like something out of Akira.

Elated and wild eyed from adrenaline we purchased two more beers. Both of which remind untouched by our respective bedside when we woke the following day.

The driving here is mental, they joyfully drive full tilt on the wrong side of the road with gay abandon and seemingly unaware of the terminal results of a head on collision.

We checked out the Hanoi Hilton the following day. A pretty grim place overall. As was Hanoi to be honest. We spent most our time trying not to be knocked down crossing the street and being punched in the arm by grumpy old ladies trying to sell you total crap.

Hanoi cafe

I Think these next two photos speak for themselves...

Listening to Frank


However we made it out to Halong Bay which was very beautiful even under a blanket of mist. We spent the night on the boat and they had trapped drinking their expensive beer and trying to force karaoke on us. We tried to explain there is a basic formula that would work.... More booze = Singing. But they were fine with us not singing and just paying through the nose for beer.

Back to Hanoi and on to the Night bus! The night bus was an 18 hour trip down the coast to Danang then on to Hoi An. We missed the soft sleepers and got the hard sleepers instead. Which was deeply annoying. We found our beds then I got chucked out of mine by some irate Local man. Thinking I had done something taboo I was a good middle class westerner and duly moved. Then I looked at my ticket and found out I was a dumbass westerner too as it was actually my bed. Using the mix of pointing and speaking English as a foreign language I got my bed back as it turned out he was in the wrong cabin.

Wonderfully as he left after the hooha the bottle of vodka we had bought for the trip fell from my bag and broke into a million pieces on the cabin floor. The cabin not being much bigger than a public toilet was covered in glass and Vodka.

Obviously this went down like a cup of cold sick with my fellow cabin mates who stood outside tutting while I mopped up the precious booze.

The Vietnamese have a very different understanding of body space and really are one breath away of sitting in you lap. The older gentleman I share the bottom bunks with thought nothing of coughing in my face as I put my shoes on... Nice. Frank got his bottom smacked several times by the man he bought some beer from and we both keep getting punched in the arm.

However its a great way to travel despite finding out there was a bar carriage we couldn't find the next day. We're currently in Hoi An and are getting the night bus to Nha Trang.

Peace, Love and death metal!

1 comment:

  1. mmmm goood stories!...i know yr just in an internet cafe in broadmead really! x