Lara's Blog

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Hue... and reasonably not slow internet!!!!!

In Hue!!! and the internet is fast dialup.... almots like slow broadband! its incredible! AND i can load hotmail!!!! So def time for an update. Thanks for your emails people. I mostly can read them (eventually) but replying is another matter. In Hoi An it takes half an hour to access one email. SMS has been fine up until now.
So where was i.... Halong Bay... Cat Ba island!!!

Ok after the bike ride..... or not as the case was for laurelle and me, we went to our hotel, had lunch, then wandered around the island a little. It was kinda like a ghost town. Desolate. Except for all these people on motorbikes who kept wanting us to hire them (with nowhere to go!) or the pearl ladies trying to bully us into buying pearls! In the afternoon we were taken by boat to Monkey Island where we went kayaking again and fed monkeys bananas (and the guide gave one a can of coke which it proceeded to drink!!). That was kinda cool, except that there were all these signs warning us not to go near the monkeys cos they bite, and our guide had given us bananas!! i think they were some kinda baboon. Later Nat and Cassie went out separately to buy pearls and because they didn't go to the same lady they bought 1 ring from they were abused!!! "F--- you! F--- you Australia! F--- your father! F--- you!"
they were really scared and didn't go back out after that!!!!!

So all in all not the best experience.

Back in Hanoi for 4 hrs or so (amazing how we killed the time [the supermarket sells oreos for 80c a pack, its great! and i have converted Cassie to the wonders of chocolate oreos {as opposed to the normal white filled ones}]) and then on the 11pm overnight train down to Denang! We thought the train got in around 1130am but ended up getting there after 1pm!!! loooong trip. 14hrs of fun! they gave us meals on the train, not that we ate any of it. dried noodles for breakfast and rice with weird compartmentalised meat/veges at lunch... hmmm.
anyway we negotiated a deal to get us to hoi an ($10 us for the 4 of us to get a private mini van, as opposed to the $50 the taxi guy was asking!) and yaaaaaay we made it. FINALLY. That afternoon what lse could we do in hoi an but hit the markets :)
Hoi An is great. The town has a nice feel to it, there is less traffic than Hanoi, the food is much better than Hanoi, there is a beach and there are tailors!!!!! We didn't make it to the beach in the 3 days we were there, because it was aabsolutely pouring with rain. hopefully we will get some sun when we're back there in a few days time. Well Laurelle and I hired bikes and cycled the 6km there and back. The beach was quite nice, but yeah overcast. A girl on the beach selling necklaces and bracelets came and chatted to us for a while (wanting us to buy something but also to practice her english) and told us its easy to get a job in Vietnam if you are tall and have a good body, even if you are ugly. So weird that physical appearance matters so much! But she was very nice and said she was studying English and uni (5 yr course) and wanted to become a tour guide.
We have eaten much better food here, (some crap of course but you win some...) and lots of seafood. Laurelle is obsessed! and Cassie is a close second!! And the tailors. Its interesting, you walk along the street and ppl come up to you and chat for ages about where you're from, how long you've been in Hoi An etc. then want you to come to their shop. The first time we went along with it, but now we're starting to get sick of it. the trick is to tell them you're leaving that day or you already have a tailor and they leave you alone!
I've gotten a couple of pairs of shoes made (one pair are too small and i've asked them to remake... who knows what will actually happen. the woman tried to convince me that my feet were swollen because i walk a lot more in her country than in my country and when i go home they will fit but no, they were def at least one size too small!!!! hard time convincing her of this fact though), and i'm in the process of getting a dress made and a trench coat type thing. the clothes i've ordered are from the expensive tailor called Yaly. I haven't bothered with the market because althought the market is cheaper, i think the Yaly final product will be more reliable. Anyway we'll see! Laurelle is buying another bag before we leave Hoi An... i may try to hold out til Bangkok when i will stock up on copies!!! (if we make it to bangkok, keep me updated with any developments. We're meant to be there 28th jan - 2nd feb)
Had dinner at the Cargo Club onthe river (which was flooded!!!) which had floating candles going down, very pretty. Then headed across the road to the only club we could find: Tam Tam. The vodka was rough, the rooms were hot, the music was dodgy, there were a couple of Lady Boys (the definition of which is up for contention) but it was fun and it seemed to be the only decent bar! Cassie had the forsight to pack glow sticks with her and we were the only people cool enough to have glowing fluoro bracelets! There was no countdown to midnight, but everyone cheered at approximately midnight - close enough anyway! Laurelle and I left at a reasonable hour and left Cassie and Nat to party on til the wee hours of the morning......
We left Hoi An and our big bags for a few days and got to Hue yesterday. Today we had a tour of the main sights in Hue including the Citadel (we saw elephants! they were availablefor rides. but they had short ankle chains and it was a bit bad. But at least they had lots of green grass), 3 tombs of kings, dragon boat ride, pagoda... We're pretty exhausted, because today was incredibly hot and humid. but tomorrow we are heading off on a 12 hours tour at 6am up to the demilitarised zone, khe sahn, the tunnels that haven't been enlarged for westerners (unlike the ones in ho chi minh city) and a few other things (including the rock pile... or remnants there of). Its so hot and sweaty now. I can't believe its winter. Dont know how they cope the rest of the year!
So we head back to Hoi An on friday and will meet up with KC! How excitement. Think we'll probaly spend another 5 days there or so, cos there are a few day trips we'd like to make, plus we need to spend time at the beach PLUS we need more shopping time. After that proably Natrang... then Ho Chi Minh City. That is where i will leave my friends and head to Cambodia to meet up with my mum for a few days. The others catch up on about the 21st i think.
Anyway keep up the emails. I'm sorry there are no photos in the blog this time, but there is no way i'd get any up on this sort of internet access. You'll just have to wait and see when i get home!!!


  • Just saw your graduations photos
    CONGRATULATIONS you have done yourself proud..I spent a relaxing day with M in Byron as usual she was generous & loving ..keep safe & stay happy you are a typical fun loving McGill with all the family traites .. travel, travel & more travel..


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, January 10, 2007 4:36:00 pm  

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