36 long hours after leaving Hong Kong we had completed the overland journey into Hanoi, Vietnam. Being our second time visiting Vietnam, we had originally planned to visit different places, new places. Of course, nothing goes to plan and this didn’t happen. BUT – we revisited some little gems and did different things, we didn’t do the main touristy things instead opting for a slower pace of life and just absorbing the culture and behaviours of the local people.
We spent four nights in Hanoi, with our favourite Aussies (yes you M and J!) and we ate, ate, and ate some more. Throw in a good coffee or six for good measure with a whole lot of people watching and discussions about anything and everything and you get the rough idea of our time in Hanoi. Despite this, I managed to put a dampener on things by successfully managing to develop a chest infection (I blame the lady that was hacking her guts up on the hard sleeper train to Hong Kong, all night long…) Being a person that doesn’t often get ill this was a right bother and made me feel so damn rough I had to take the dreaded anti-b’s. Which, naturally, made me poorly for the entire 8 days I took them. This is the life eh…
Anyway, after a grand few days with friends we headed to Hue, which was fine until we were robbed. From my handbag, which was in our hotel room. We popped out for food for a mere couple of hours during which time the maid had cleaned our room. Whilst I am ever the optimist, and couldn’t help but wonder how much hardship this lady may have in her day-to-day life that the money she took could make a huge difference to her, but I still couldn’t help but shudder at the thought of another person’s hands rifling through my stuffed to the rafters handbag, and fishing out a wad of cash. Whilst to many, the total of the stolen money; £50, is nothing, to a pair of poor backpackers with an ever-dwindling savings account, it was a kick in the teeth. Yes, I should have had my money on me. Of course! But after a couple of months we had relaxed. What a shame you can’t leave your belongings in a room you have paid for. Sigh. Add to the Hue mix the torrential rain that seemingly only fell when we went outside. Overall, this meant Hue was not our favourite destination of our time in Vietnam.
After a short stint in Hoi An and Nha Trang to enjoy some beaches and natural mud spas, we made our way further south to Ho Chi Minh City. We spent most of our time drinking coffee, walking around the maze of streets and testing out the 20 pence beer. What better way to people watch than on the side of a street, on a little red stool amongst the locals and with a cold drink to hand.
Though Vietnam had it’s share of annoyances and stresses, I still left with a wonderful fondness of the country and (most) of the people. Until next time!