Vietnam Day Seventen

Early pickup
Drive to da nang
Crazy driver
Mountain road
Shortcut thru mountain tunnel
Da nang airport
Quick flight
Ho Chi Minh City
Hotel, chill
Walk to lunch
Walk back, parents walked to river
Snooze, shower.
Walk to and around market
Got hassled my dinner place
Say come back
Buy stuff
Back dinner, very cold beer
Walk back, ice cream
Hotel, sleep

Vietnam Day Sixteen

After our big day around the DMZ we had a little bit of a sleep in. Not much tho as we were getting picked up for our cooking tour. Our pickup was at 10am so we grabbed a light breakfast and waited at the check in desk for our guide to arrive.
Our guide Threi (pronounced three, found that amusing) arrive at the hotel. She had walked all the way from the restaurant to the hotel. She had left her phone at the restaurant so we called for a cab and got on our way.
The first stop was the markets. This was a great experience. We discovered that 99% of the people in Vietnam buy their food each day. They would go in for lunch, buy cook and eat and do the same for dinner. Unlike us westerners who shop once a week. This is due to fridges being so expensive they are unable to keep food cool for that long. So they shop every day.
We started just walking thru the market whilst Threi explained how the products are gathered and farmed in the country and brought in by car, motorbike or bicycle to thr city markets. We bought some onions, garlic, noodles and several other products before we headed into the seafood section.
This was a real shock, so much fresh seafood. A dinner plate sized dish full of baby squid, 50kVND that’s only 2.50AUD insane!! We picked up some fish and moved thru to the meat section. The smell was, well pungent. It was unbelievable how all this meat was, well everywhere. Being cut and prepared on slabs made from tree stumps. It was rather shocking. Health and local laws would have a field day. We got some beef bones for stock and fillets for the the soup. We continued to wonder around the market for a little more, checking out some of the stalls and more fresh produce and made our way back out to the street.
Threi asked us to wait at the front of the market whilst she ran off to get a cab to take us back to the restaurant to begin cooking. Our cab arrived after about 10mins and we were on our way. It was really hot and humid in the markets so we relaxed with a cold drink and then got started. Threi handed us an apron each and a chefs hat. This was starting to become lost of fun! I get to wear a chefs hat!!
Without going into too much detail, Threi began by explaining the menu and instructions then started to show us how to do the first part, Vietnamese Pancakes. We stood by thinking when are we going to get a shot, then she grabbed my brother and got him to begin preparing the vegies. Mum and Dad started with the sauce, and I got started on the pancake mix. Its a savoury pancake, with vegies and some seafood inside. Kind of looks like an omelette, the way it folds over. Before we knew it, they were cooked and we got to eat them, they were sooo tasty!
Next we were to make Fresh and Fried spring rolls. Not much too these really, just rice paper, onions peppers mushrooms etc. For the fresh spring rolls you stirfry the vegie mix and then spoon them onto the paper, roll them and plate them up. For the fried ones, you use fresh vegie mix and then roll them and flash fry them. Pretty simple really, and yet again tasty
Next was Pho Bo, a beef and rice noodle soup. We brought out the beef stock with the bones in it we started earlier, added some more ingredients to it for flavour. Each bowl had a small amount of rice noodles in it, and we had a platter of greens to put in after dishing it up. The beef is cut into tiny little pieces, this is due to the way we cook it. All you do is put some beef onto the ladle and cook it in the boiling stock for a few seconds, spooning the hot water over the top. Its cooked within a minute!! Amazing! Put the beef into the dish with stock for the soup and add fresh greens into the soup for flavour.
There was nothing left to cook, so we sat back enjoyed our soup and had a few drinks to wash it down with. Before we knew it, it was almost 5pm and we were exhausted. We got a cab back to the hotel and dad decided to walk. I bet he wished he didnt because it absolutely bucketed down as soon as we got to the hotel, he walked for almost an hour in torrential tropical rain! Haha suck it!
We just chilled at the hotel, got some drinks, room service and had an early night. Tomorrow we’re off to Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnam Day Fifteen

Today we were up bright and early. We were getting picked up at about 7am for our tour to the area around the DMZ. This included the Khe sahn, Demilitarized Zone on the border between north and south, and the Vin Toh tunnels in the north.
Due to the exaggerated drinking the night before I was pretty destroyed and hungover. As a result i did not have any breakfast, just some apple juice and water. Before we knew it it was 7am and our tour van had arrived at the front. We made our way to the cafe where we booked to pickup our guide.
His name was Anh Van, a 2nd Lieutenant from the US Marines Scout Recon Division. A Vietnamese national that was recruited in the south by the US to help the US forces around Vietnam and assist with intelligence. He even worked with the CIA to provide intel on enemy strategies and positions. Needless to say, he was very passionate and a wealth of knowledge.
Our first stop was Khe Sahn, to make the trip even more special I wore my Jimmy Barnes tour T-Shirt from the gig at the Doncaster Hotel. (That ones for you Jason)
The road ws very busy and full of pot holes from the heavy rain and poor condition of the roads. This was not helping my hangover at all! On the way we pulled over to see a VC grave site. There are hundreds of these all over Vietnam. Just a small obelisk in the center with some info in Vietnamese. (cant recall what it meant)
Mr Van pointed to the ground and talked about the ground shrub that grows all over Vietnam. It’s a very usefull bush as when the leaves are touched they close up. They reopen after about 10mins. This was used to determine if enemies have passed thru a certain area, if the leaves are closed then they are close by, if the leaves are open then either they are well and truly gone, or no one has passed thru.
We got back into the bus and made our way towards Khe Sahn. We passed a turn off that would take you up to Camp Carrol. This was named after the officer in charge of the base during the Vietnam War. The reason for this was that General Carrol was killed whilst making his coffee outside the bunker. Mr Van said ‘Gen. Carrol was killed by Coffee, strong coffee blew the mother fuckers head right off’ We laughed and asked what do you mean? He replied that Gen Carrol was out brewing his morning coffee when the artillery warning alarm went off. He ignored the alarm and wanted to continue to brew his coffee. Everyone else in the base headed for the bunkers and Gen Carroll stayed out. The shell hit right next to Gen Carroll and killed him. ‘Death by Coffee’ Mr Van said. If he had been inside the bunker, he would of survived. Due to the heavy sandbags and being dug into the ground, these bunkers could survive almost anything.
We continued on and drove past a mountain called ‘The Rockpile’ The US forces cleared the land with Agent Orange (AO) or Napalm Bombs. Doing this enabled them to set up a radio base at the top of the mountan. The only way for them to get all the gear, weapons and artillery to the peak was via Chopper. This mountain was a great vantage point for the US as it was nearly impossible to climb and had views over toward the boarder of Laos. With radar set up they could pickup incoming artillery fire from Laos and warn the bases in the area. These shells had a range of 45km’s and took 3-4mins to reach its target. With the use of ‘The Rockpile’ and the time it took for the sheels to travel meant that the bases could take cover. If only Gen Carrol had of paid attention!
We finally arrived at Khe Sahn and we say Doug and Dave from the previous night at the Why Not Cafe. Doug said he was thinking about my tshirt and was hoping to bump into us on the DMZ tour so he could see it. well Doug, i guess you did get to see it!
We looked to the sky and saw that the weather was closing in. So we quickly scurried back to the bus and grabbed our umbrellas. We walked straight to the building in the middle, avoiding the locals trying to sell dog tags and medals from the war. I’m sorry mate, but I’m not going to buy something that belonged to a soldier killed in the war. We got inside just as the rain really began to pelt down. Mr Van’s wealth of knowlege made it so much more captivating. He pointed out a picture of US soldiers with a VC Prisoner. He said ‘This picture fucking bullshit, you can see trees in back ground, at Khe Sahn there were no trees. The US had cleard the entire area to make the base’ Then we continued around and saw more fake or re-enacted photos. This changed the way we looked at every photo from the war. He talked about gear and weapons, some of the artillery shells etc. General war stuff that you can see in any museum.
We walked outside and the weather had really closed it. In the words of Ollie Wilson from Family Guy ‘ITS RAINING SIDEWAYS!!!’ Mum decided to stay in the shelter away from the weather as the rest of us walked around and checked out the Choppers and Guns and Planes etc. Then at the back of the area, hidden by overgrown fence line, was the Air Strip. This Air Strip was about 3km long and was used by C130’s to quickly land, drop off or pickup supplies and wounded and quickly take off. If the C130 was to stay at the airstirp too long, then it could get hit by artillery.
Theres a photo, a real photo, of a C130 taking off at Khe Sahn and in front of it is an explosion from artillery fired from the boarder in Laos. The weather was getting worse so we decided to call it quits and ran back to the bus. The crazy weather also made our trip back past The Rockpile even more slower.
Our next stop was for lunch in a town, the name of wich escapes me, at some small little cafe. Probably a family friend of the tour operator. The menu was pretty bad, and after the events of the previous evening i decided just to get spring rolls. ‘Meat’ Spring Rolls. They were epically bad, but i needed food so i powered thru and ate as much as i could.
We got back into the bus and headed for the DMZ area. This is the area between North and South Vietnam, right on the river that seperates the two. The US and Allied forces never crossed the boarder to attack, all they did was defend. Both sides had massive speakers set up on the banks of the river to blast propaganda at one another. Especially during the night to try and keep the other side awake. When I say that the US never attacked the north, I mean by foot or tank. They did however bomb the shit out of the place.
We continued on and reached our next destination, the Vin Toh Tunnels. This is the massive tunnel system that was built under the order of Ho Chi Minh. They spread for about 2km’s of tunnels all networked to the coast, to the north near china and towards the south to supply VC forces. The tunnels were used for living in and suppling weapons and supplies deliverd from the north and the coast. Even if the area was bombed the tunnels survived, it was a very clever way of surviving. We went to a small museum area that showed the tunnel network on a map and the tools used to dig them. Just rudimentary baskets and hand tools. It took them about 2 years to build them. Inside the museum was a local that was disabled due to his father being affected by AO. It was really sad to see the effects this chemical has on people, and the way it is still affecting people today. He tapped Brendan on the arm and pointed to a picture of a child on the wall. The picture was him, he was born in the tunnels. The guy only looked to be in his 30’s due to his height and build. However he was actually 45-50. It was quite sad really, however i’m kind of glad to have seen it. He helped us with our umbrellas and was very kind and in good spirit so I gave him a small donation.
Next we went into one section of the tunnels and it was hard to believe that so many thousands of people called this place home. In an area smaller than most toilets they would have 10-15 people living there. We walked thru the tunnels and mum was starting to get a bit costraphobic, so we took a quick exit to the coast line for some air. It was good to see this tho, as it showed how close to the beach you actually were. We headed back in and quickly made our way back out.
There wasn’t much left to do on the tour, we had already been going for almost 5hours. It was time to head back to Hue. The trip itself back took about 3 hours. The light began to fade and the weather closed in again, this made the trip back rather dangerous but exciting. When night fell all we could see were the headlights of oncoming traffic strewn accross the entire highway. The typical Vietnamese hwy, overtake when you can even if there is oncoming traffic. Just beep your horn and flash your lights and you should be fine.
I dozed off for a bit and then before we knew it we arrived back to Hue. We drove back to the cafe where the tour started and thanked our guide Ahn Van for a great day. He truly was a passionate person, it definately was worth the expense.
We got back to the hotel and went to our rooms. We were so tired we just got room service and crashed early. After 7-8hrs of travelling in a bus and walking in the rain (even tho it was worth every minute) was rather exhausting.

Vietnam Day Fourteen

After our Top Gear style bike ride yesterday we thought we would have a late start. Slept in and had a late breakfast. We just relaxed at the hotel, played pool, chilled in the hotel room had several naps. Before we knew it, it was after lunch and decided to get out and do something.
We decided to take a Dragon Boat down to the Thien Pagoda. There were some boat operators just behind the hotel, so we only had a short walk to get there. As per usual we negotiated a price. They started out at about 150kVND per person. We said ‘No way, the guy up the street can do it for 100kVND per person’ After some further negotiating and pretending to walk away we got them down to 100kVND p/person.
We got into the boat and they offered us a seat. The seat being a tiny plastic chair. I found it quite amusing. We got on our waY up the river and then the weather closed in. It absolutely pissed down with rain. We were however lucky to have the rain hold out for a bit when we arrived to the Pagoda.
The Thien Pagoda is still an active Budhist temple and school. Massive gong’s and drums at the entrance and a huge brass bell to the left. As we got in further to the center of the pagoda, there was the temple. Still active for praying. A young budhist student hit a brass bowl five times and the sound echoed throughout the temple. The only bad thing about the place was that all of the artifacts and statues were covered by perspex containers, more to preserve their state, but it took a bit away from the place. Brendan and I lit some insence that was buring in the massive pot at the front of the temple.
we continued thru and discovered that this was the place where ‘The Most Vunerable’ drove his car to saigon and burnt himself alive in protest of the way religion was being discriminated against by the communist government.

From The Post ‘A Relic

Whilst at the Thien Quang Pagoda I discovered that this is where the infamous photo of the burning man came from. A lot of you will know it from the cover of Rage Against The Machine’s Self Titled 1992 Album.

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They have the actual car at the Pagoda and has been kept in the same condition as when Thien burnt himself alive in protest. Here is the quote from the plaque in front of the Car.

‘In this car The Most Venerable Thien Quang Duc went from Ân Quang Pagoda to the intersection oh Phan dinh Phung street and Lê van Duyêt street on June 11, 1963 in Saigon. As soon as he got out of the car, The Most Venerable sat down in the lotus position and burnt himself to death to protest against the Nao dinh Diem regime’s policies of discriminating against Buddhists and violating religious freedom’

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End of Post ‘A Relic

We got back into our boat and made our way back up the river. The lady on the boat had all these clothes and postcards layed out on the floor to sell them to us. Of course Mum got sucked into buying them. We got back to the hotel and had a chance to relax and chill before we headed back into town for dinner.
It was mums choice for dinner, so she picked a place from the Indochina handbook and we got in a cab. The taxi driver dropped us off at the top of a street, he pointed down the street and said ‘you walk down there’ We didnt really understand what he was on about, maybe he was not allowed to drive down this street. So we got out and made our way down.
We stumbled accross a resturaunt/tour place that does a cooking class, this also happend to be the same place that Brendan had looked up on the interwebs earlier that afternoon. We walked in and booked a cooking class for the Monday. We had to convince the girl to pick us up later in the morning as we would be tired from the 7/8hr tour to the DMZ on the Sunday. Altho hessitant, she agreed. Well she didnt have much of a choice, it was either 10am or no class/no money for her.
We continued up the street to find this resturaunt. We got asked by several places to ‘please come in and eat’ however we continued up to the resturaunt that mum picked. The place was empty and didnt look to inviting. We walked back to the one on the corner. The Why Not Cafe.
This place looked cool, kinda like a tiny corner pub in collingwood. They had good music playing and cheap drinks. When I say cheap i mean CHEAP!! Luda Beer Stein, 650ml 1.25AUD!! Amazing.
We got the traditional entree of spring rolls, and for main I thought i would try the parma. They came back and said, ‘we have no potato for fries, but we have mash’ That doesnt make sense, no spuds but they can do mash, more like Deb, just add water.
Whilst we were sitting down enjoying our drinks a lot of young tourists started go enter the place to drink and play pool.
After dinner we got chatting to them and as it turns out most of them are from Melbourne. Thats crazy!! Two of them are from Vermont Sth, thats like just around the corner from our place!! Brendan and I decided to kick on and chat, drink and play pool. Mum and Dad called it a night and went back.
It was good fun, drinking the cheap steins, chatting with people my own age. Before we knew it the place was packed with young tourists, two girls from Germany, a couple from England, 3 guys from melbourne, 3 girls from melbourne and some other randoms who i forget where they are from (1.25 steins will do that)
I looked at the time and it was almost midnight, I had to get up at about 7 for the DMZ tour, so I called it a night. I had such a great time at that bar. Was good to let loose and chat with all those people. I got a cab back to the hotel and fell asleep straight away, or passed out, you decide

Vietnam Day Thirteen

Today we decided that we would sleep in and grab a late breakfast. After the long trip from Hoi An to Hue I think that a sleep in is deserved.
After another typical hotel style buffet breakfast we decided that I was going to be the tour guide today. After next to no thought or pondering I decided that we were going to do a Motor Bike tour around Hue, gonna do it Top Gear style. The family agreed, and the weather was great!. We headed to our tour desk and asked about how we get our hands onto some scooters. Usually you can get them directly from the hotel, unfortunately it was not going to be this easy. The tour desk guy directed us to a street in Hue with a whole bunch of tour operators.
After a short brisk walk we stumbled onto this little tour office. I mean the place wouldnt be any bigger than most peoples bathrooms. I got talking to the guy about wanting to do a Self-Ride Scooter tour. He said, ‘Yes, this no probrem’ (the ‘r’ is there on purpose) We negotiated a price and settled on 6USD for the half day and we buy our own peterol. Whilst some local rounded up some bikes and helmets for us, I discussed the route. By the time we had deliberated on the destinations the local returned with several sized helmets and three automatic scooters. As Brendans head is so large we thought that we would have to get him a collinder, Top Gear style! We managed to get helmets that fit us reletively ok and before we knew it we were on our way.
Our first stop was the petrol station just up the road. It cost us 50kVND (2.5AUD) for about 4L of gas, this would be more than enough for the trip. However I later discovered that my petrol guage along with the Speedo were non-operational. Whilst we were filling up, as usual, a random local offered to be our guide. And as usual we denied, then denied again, then denied again (basically telling him to fuck off)
We got on our way and decided that we would head toward the hotel as it is a good reference point, and it was on the way. On our way thru the streets of Hue that random local from the servo showed up again! Waving and again suggesting to be our guide. We just kept riding!!
We turned onto one of the main highways and were on our way to the Tu Duc tomb, on of the early royal dynasty tombs.
Riding these tiny little bikes was such an adrenalin rush! Brendan and I had to make sure we didnt just ‘Gun It’ and get busted for speeding. We got to our first turn off, and as I was the tour guide I pulled over to check our map. We headed right, hoping that it was the correct direction. This highway went on for a while before we had to turn off again.
We just cruised, enjoying the wind in our faces and the hecticness of Vietnamese traffic rules. Basically beep, indicate, overtake, give way to larger vehicles and you should be fine.
Whilst we were cruising down the hwy, we caught up to another couple of tourists, they asked us if we were going to the Tu Duc Tomb, we said ‘Yeah, follow us if you wish’ before we knew it tho, they were no longer behind us.
After a few stops, and asking for some directions we finally arrived at the Tu Duc Tomb. This place was beautiful, just an old dynasty temple and a georgeous lake with a little rotunda. These places ares so humbling and spiritual its hard to describe but to say just that.
We bumped into the tourists we passed on the hwy earlier, we got chatting and they suggested we go to the Ming Mang Temple. After some more conversation and family deliberation we decided to head towards it. We checked our map and worked out the rough route to get there. We got to a turn in the road and looked up the direction that we are supposed to go, and it didnt look to inviting. Just a small single lane (maybe narrower) semi-concrete/dirt track. We headed up a little until we reached a local house. We kindly asked them for directions and they were so kind and helpful.
On a quick side note, all of the Vietnamese people are so kind and inviting to tourists it has made the whole trip that much more enjoyable. Truly beautiful people.
So… as i said, they were so helpful. “yes you go up this way, but be very careful, dangerous road, slippery in some places from heavy rain’ Wow, thanks for the help and the advice!! We got on our way, it was a bit scary at some points, otherwise pretty easy.
The road winded its way thru the local country side, past houses and fields. It was truly beautiful (i know im saying that alot, but it is dammit!) Before we knew it the tiny track opened up onto a massive highway, and again we bumped into some more tourists. They were also heading toward the Ming Mang Temple, and were kind enough to point us in the right direction.
We kept riding, got into a town, got lost, asked for directions, got lost, asked for more directions, got lost again! After a some more directions we got going onto the right track, We arrived at a temple but it was not the Ming Mang Temple. It was the Lang Khai Dinh Temple, the Ming Mang temple was another 30min ride. As we were running out of time, we decided to just do this one then head back.
The Lang Khai Dinh temple is a royal temple from, well I honestly cant remember when he was in rule, but just that it was…… yup… beautiful. The attention to detail in the murals made of glass and the statues of soldiers at the gates are truly amazing. The only bad thing about this visit was the bus load of un-appreciative french tourists that entered the same time as us. Apart from that, what an amazing place.
We looked at the time and decided we should head back to town. So we jumped onto our bikes and began our return journey to Hue. The road back took us thru a majour town. A town that has roads full of pot holes and trucks. I got to one point were it was either dissapear into the pot hole or go around it onto the opposite side of the road with a truck coming towards me. Of course I chose the truck option. I went out around the pothole and at the last second leant way from the oncoming truck, I could hear my mum gasping on the bike 20m behind me. It was so close, just centimetres away from spending the rest of my trip in a hospital bed. But OH MY GOD! What a Rush!!!!
Of course we got lost on the way back so we stopped and asked again, we got put back onto the right direction and before we knew it we were back to the outskirts of Hue. We thought we would head to the Citadel, the walled center of the old town. By the time we got there it was almost time to take the bikes back. So we decided to just do a lazy lap around and take in the sights. Before we knew it we were on our way back thru peak traffic toward the tour place.
We got back and then decided to get some dinner. We walked passed this place and booked our DMZ tour for day after next. We also got dinner here and then walked back to the hotel.
We decided to take a quick dip in the pool before going to bed. The pool was soo deep! Even when you walked in on the steps you are neck deep.
Didnt stay long in the water as it was cold as, washed off, showered then bed. What a long, exhaustin but AWESOME day!

Vietnam Day Twelve

On our way to Hue (whey) today. Were traveling via minibus along the mountain highway. This is the same highway that Clarkson and the boys took from Hoi An to Hue. The road is truly spectacular! It’s like the Great Ocean Road, but better.
The trip took us about three hours. Three hours of winding wet treacherous bitumen! Cars overtaking bikes that are overtaking trucks. It was a real adrenalin rush! Then we saw a truck that had rolled and almost fell to it’s demise, they were quite lucky not to have plummeted god bows how far down the mountain.
We entered a small town at the foot of the mountain and thought we were clear of craziness and drama. Then the driver pulls over and the minibus has broken down!! Couldn’t believe it! He called for a replacement and we had to wait about half an hour for it to arrive.
To pass the time, a local family was kind enough to to open up their home to us. We sat and watched tv, Batman & Robin on HBO.
The replacement transport finally arrived and it was a full sized bus! For the four of us!! Oh well, we still had to get to our hotel. So we hopped on and got on our way.
It wasn’t long before we arrived in Hue, and our hotel was amazing! La Residence, an old French hotel from the 1940’s & 50’s. It was beautiful!!
We got to our rooms and settled in. Went for a walk to explore the hotel. This place is huge! We discovered a pool table, this one was actually level. Brendan and I played a few rounds then met up back at the room to discuss dinner with mum and dad.
We decided to take advantage of the international buffett they had on offer. For 45USD it was all you can eat. It was well worth it, seafood, pork, beef, chicken, rice, pasta, and of course desserts!
After several courses of just about everything we headed back to the pool table for a few rounds then went back to room and crashed. Was a long day of travel so I think we will all sleep in tomorrow

A Relic

Whilst at the Thien Quang Pagoda I discovered that this is where the infamous photo of the burning man came from. A lot of you will know it from the cover of Rage Against The Machine’s Self Titled 1992 Album.

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They have the actual car at the Pagoda and has been kept in the same condition as when Thien burnt himself alive in protest. Here is the quote from the plaque in front of the Car.

‘In this car The Most Venerable Thien Quang Duc went from Ân Quang Pagoda to the intersection oh Phan dinh Phung street and Lê van Duyêt street on June 11, 1963 in Saigon. As soon as he got out of the car, The Most Venerable sat down in the lotus position and burnt himself to death to protest against the Nao dinh Diem regime’s policies of discriminating against Buddhists and violating religious freedom’

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Vietnam Day Eleven

Today we slept in and had a late breakfast. We had already done alot of the tours around Hoi An. We decided to call our friend Mr Than in town for a tour to Da Nang and see the Cham Museum.
After a quick wash up our driver arrived at the hotel, it was the same guy that took us to Marble Mountain and My Son a couple of days ago. He’s a bit of a character, doesn’t speak much english, but enough to make a few jokes and understand what we are talking about.
The drive to Da Nang is only about 1 hour so before we knew it we were in town, weaving our way thru traffic. We arrived at the museum, our driver said, ‘you go in, I wait in car’
The museum was amazing! When we were at My Son, there were plaques on the ground that said ‘In 19XX this Artifact was removed for preservation’ All of these artifacts were at this museum. When you see them, you can understand why the were removed. The original site is overgrown and slowly decaying. These artifacts are so beautiful they need to be preserved. They are not only from My Son, but other ancient sites around Vietnam. Some of them date back to the early 10th Century! It was absolutely amazing!! As usual Dad took many of photos, its the main reason why I havent taken so many myself.
The most confronting part of this museum were the photos of the sacred sites before and after the war. The sites were even more spectacular, its very unfortunate that the Americans bombed the shit out of the place.
We reached the giftshop, which of course meant the end of the musuem. We didnt buy anything, altho im sure mum wanted to! We walked outside to search for our driver. He was asleep!! It was funny as, we didnt want to wake him. He woke up on his own after a bout a minute or two. He was laughing and saying ‘sorry sorry’ It wasnt a problem at all!
We started to make our way back to Hoi An, however we decided to take a detour thru the docks and over the new bridge and along the coast. The coastline isn’t that spectacular, however the floating villages and fishing boats are.
Before we knew it we were back in Hoi An and Mr Than was there waiting for us. Well of course he was, we hadn’t paid him yet!! 40USD for an entire day! Thats cheaper than a cab from Melbourne CBD to Templestowe!!
Dad had to head back to the tailors where he was getting his shirts made up. They were perfect!! These tailors have amazing skills, to be able to copy a shirt, and have it ready in just over 12hrs is truly amazing! Of course mum got talking with the merchant, and before we knew it she ws getting measured and choosing fabrics for two new tops. So I decided to head next door and have a look around, they had some beautiful scarfs and ceramic plates/vases etc. I ended up purchasing a few more gifts, so far I have done almost all of my xmas shopping.
Once mum was finished, she saw the scarf that i got and decided to stock up for her work christmas party. As she works with all females at the bank, it was the easiest solution and at 100kVND each, why not!!
We walked back towards Mr Than’s shop for our transport back to our hotel. He hailed and paid for a cab, 60kVND. On the way we stopped back at the Laundry to see if Dad’s missing tshirt was there. Whislt we waited the cab driver asked if Brendan and I wanted to drive. It would of been fun, however we declined. We got to the hotel and the meter read 70kVND. The cabbie wanted more money, we said that Mr Than had paid and we weren’t paying any more. 10kVND is only 0.50AUD, but its the principle of the thing!
After a light snooze and watching part of the Star Trek movie for the upteenth time we headed back into Hoi An for dinner. At breakfast this Italian couple suggested the Good Morning Vietnam restaraunt, and said it is better food than Lygon Street. Well if its that good, why not. We got a cab from the Hotel to town, the cab dropped us off close to the resturaunt. Or at least we think he did, as it turns out we had no idea where we were. We kept asking locals where it is, but not one place had the name we were looking for. Accoring to our guide, the address was right, however the name was not. It was called Luong Gia, and according to the hostess it was called Good Morning Vietnam about two years ago. It did have an italian menu so we figured why not.
The food was AMAZING! Mum and I got a garlic and tomato bruschetta, Brendan got a Soup and I cant remember what Dad got. The couple that recomended the place walked past in the street. As it turns out, it was not the same place they went to, however it was still good.
For mains, Mum and Dad got the Lasagne with freshly made pasta. Brendan got a chicken dish and I ordered a peperoni pizza. I know what your all thinking, why are you not eating Vietnamese whilst in Vietnam?! Well thats beause its all we have been eating, it was good to have a change in diet. The meal was awesome, full of garlic! So much so that I could still taste it the next day after cleaning my teeth several times.
We made our way back to the bus depot so we could get the free 8:30pm shuttle to the hotel. We decided to call it a night, just chilled in the room, wathced a few TV shows and went to bed. Tomorrow we are of to Hue.

Vietnam Day Ten

After the Happy Hour session at the pub last night I was pretty hungover and destroyed. I left it to the last minute to go for breakfast. Didn’t eat much, just some cereal and a strong coffee. Went back to the room and just laid on the bed and watched tv. Didn’t feel like doing much, I could still taste vodka and beer!
Had a snooze then watched more tv, movie channel HBO and Star Movies are good. The weather is shit again so I wasn’t missing much. Mum and Dad called, they went to play some more pool. After a quick shower I decided to get out of the room and join them in the pub. I was pretty hungry too, I got some spring rolls. Just drank water all day, no booze for me today!
Parents had to go back into town to get their tailored clothes. Dad had to drop off his shirt to be copied. To his surprise they had changed the price. Apparently the 8USD is wrong, and it’s 20USD. That’s more than Yaly!! The lady said, my sister has no idea about price. Well obviously not. Dad managed to get them down to 15USD each. They headed back to Yaly for Mum’s dress. It still wasn’t perfect, but it was as good as it will get. She gave in and bought it.
They got back to the hotel and came past our room. I was, yet again, asleep! Decided we would meet at about 7 for dinner in the restaurant again. Nothing special, just some soup and chicken wings in fish sauce.
Watched another movie then went to sleep. Had to be ready by 11am tomorrow to head to Da Nang

Vietnam Day Nine

Today we decided to sleep in and have a late breakfast. We chilled in our rooms for a bit. Unfortunately the wether is still shit. Windy and raining!
Parents called on the room phone and said were going to head into town. Figured why not, wasn’t much else to do!
We got a taxi, 70,000VND that’s about 3.50AUD. We wandered the streets and ended up in the market place. It was awesome, the streets were packed with vendors. Tarps covering the street, we all had to duck as they were about 6ft off the ground.
We started to get a little hungry so we checked the Indochina Tour Guide book for some suggestions. We decided on Cafe Can. On the way we ended up along the riverside. There were dozens of boat operators begging for us to go on a tour. This one guy, Nom, was so persistent we helped us to the cafe with the promise of a trip later tomorrow.
Cafe Can was awesome. Great food, cheap beer too!! 25,000VND for a Tiger Longneck, that’s 1.25AUD. Whilst we were waiting for our food this local tailor shop operator started to talk to us. The usual, where you from, those your too boys, they very handsome, your too young to have children. Then comes the tag line, ‘you buy shirts, come to my shop’ dad was interested as he was the only one without custom made clothing. She said 8USD a shirt. That’s half the cost of the ones from Yaly! Dad wanted to get a shirt copied so we said we would come back tomorrow to see them. Our food came out and oh my god it was delicious! Was quite a small meal tho so I got seconds.
We wandered back to the tailors so dad could check out fabrics etc. Then we headed back around town, checked out some more shops then back to Yaly for yet another fitting.
This time they got my pants right around the waist, thats because it was a brand new pair. However the back was wrong. It’s like they got everything mixed up. Got remeasured and they said to wait for 20mins. Meanwhile mum and Brendan were trying theirs on. Mums dress was still wrong around the hem, Brendan’s suit was fine. Just his shirts were wrong. One sleeve longer than the other.
They came back with my pants, Finally!!! They got it right. Suit, two shirts, tie for 250USD cheap as!! Brendan’s shirts came back, perfect! Mums dress however, still no good. I guess she’s going back again tomorrow. Fifth time lucky?
Finally got back to the hotel, quick wash then to the ‘Sands Fun Pub’ for happy hour. There was an hour left so we went nuts. Beth and Chris love a Malibu and Coke with a twist of lemon. Figured why not, it’s happy hour! And oh my god it was delicious!! I decided to ask the bar tenders what they like, they suggested a Tokyo Ice Tea. It was ok, still prefer a Long Island tho! 10mins on the clock so I doubled up, got a Japanese Slipper that was suggested by the other bar tender.
Mum and Dad arrived but were too late! Happy hour was over. We had a quick bite to eat then back on the drinks. It was Chris and Beths last night so we made the most of it. Drank, played pool against the bar tenders, drank some more, band started, drank some more. I think you get the idea!! Mum and Beth decided to hit the dance floor, then some random old German guy started to dance too. The song finished and they came scurrying back to the table. They said he asked them if they swing! WTF!? Chris was ready to jump the guy haha! He was harmless tho. Every time they went to dance, we joined them. Was very amusing! Before we knew it, it was almost midnight! Everyone had left and Chris and I played another game of pool then called it a night!
Was great meeting this couple, laid back people. Hopefully we bump into them again at some point. If not, I wish them all the best for their wedding and the future.