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Final Days in Vietnam

sunny -28 °C

I am down to my last week in Vietnam before moving onto the Philippines. Last night Kim & I arrived back in Saigon and she headed off to the airport this morning for a quick trip back to the USA for med school interviews. Today has been feeling a bit strange...I realized that in fact it's probably the first day in 6 months I've been on my own...I'm not quite sure how she's survived that time with moi, but suspect she's enjoying some "alone time" despite having a hectic schedule for the next 2 weeks! I look forward to meeting back up with her in Boracay in 2 weeks.

After a month in Mui Ne, we were read to move on. It was a fun time, but there really is nothing to do there. The wind was good but very inconsistent, I was hoping for much more kiting, although the days we did get were good. Kim is improving all the time, although has her frustrations now and again, as we all do when progressing at something. I have to say she throws herself in with great gusto. We took to doing big long runs down the beach together which was great fun (despite the hike back)...I would go from seeing her doing great long runs one minute to huge, splashing, spectacular crashes the next! She also has a habit of whacking herself in the legs with the board during these crashes...I was horrified to see the bruises she's got from it. My only solution was to wrap her or the board in bubble wrap...but that didn't go down too well. Her only problem really is controlling the speed without getting out of control...we all went through it, but you've just got to get a feel for it which she will soon (any tips Benjamin/Peter????).

I went out on a couple of extremely windy days on our little 7m. It was really gusty with huge seas...challenging? yes...enjoyable? juries still out. My best outing was on the last day we were there. Solid 12m conditions...probably 50+ other kites out...I rode for ages and got a little sunburnt in the process.

We were ready to leave yesterday and endured the 5 hour bus ride back to Saigon to our home away from home at Madam Cucs guest house. As I've mentioned before, the bus ride has never been the same since our first trip to the beach. We were on the sleeping bus again, but it was crowded, smelly, noisy and uncomfortable. In true style about 5 minutes before we arrived the heavens opened with a thunderstorm and we were dumped in a puddle with our 2 kite bags, 2 backpacks and newly received travel guitar (Kim's B'day present to me, I'm so happy to have it as something to play with during the quiet times...well I guess not quiet but you know what I mean). We managed to get said luggage into a little 4 door saloon with Kim, me and the driver who then drove us the 200 yards to the hotel (it really was raining though!).

We got another warm welcome at Madam Cucs, where we were given our usual room on the 5th floor which is actually the 95th floor (or so it seems!). After our meal of noodles and spring rolls (included in price) we went up to bed as Kim had to be up at 6am for her flight back to the US. I've probably mentioned before that it's a very friendly little guesthouse...I am getting the feeling that because I'm here 7 nights I'm a long term resident...the turnover seems to be very high with people just staying for a night or 2 before moving on. All the employees here seem to speak a little English (some very good) and have all come up and introduced themselves this morning. I feel a little bad as they all now remember my name but I can't remember or pronounce any of theirs!

I went back to bed for a bit after Kim left this morning and then, deciding to have a quiet day, I went for a wander around town (and a tour of coffee shops). I really do like the vibe of the city...it doesn't feel dangerous or threatening at all, unlike some big cities in this part of the world. Having said that, I am clearly the main attraction for the locals. I even got recognized today...when Candy, Kim and I were here a month ago, we took a walk down to a supermarket about 15 minutes from the hotel. I took the same stroll today, and a little old lady came running out of her shop shouting "oh you're back!...you here before". I smiled, we talked for a few minutes (no idea about what...probably the usual, oh you're tall, yes I am, you're short...basketball blah blah) and then I carried on my way!

Having said that, I do have a few annoyances (you have to right?)

1. Mops & Brushes - everywhere I walk and especially everytime I sit down down for a coffee (happens a lot here) a person with a mop or brush will appear out of nowhere and start cleaning around my feet. Means you can't enjoy a coffee without also dancing an irish jig at the same time.

2. Motorbike Riders - I am going to have to agree with Candy's observations on this. Something that wasn't evident when we were walking around as a group of 2 or 3 in Saigon, but that is VERY evident when you're on your own, is that you literally (and I'm not exaggerating here) can't walk more than about 10 paces without someone offering you a ride somewhere on the back of a moped. They don't hassle you (or at least not me) but you end up getting in a rhythm of saying "No Thanks" after every 5th or 6th step.

3. Google (and websites in general) - this may seem an odd one, but everytime I go to google (or certain other websites), why do they immediately assume I'm vietnamese just because I happen to be here and take me to the Vietnamese version of their website, with no obvious link to the non Vietnamese version!

...and really that's about it.

No real plans for my week yet. I'm determined to get out and see something though as it would be very easy to chill for a week, drinking coffee and watching the world go by! I was going to go to the Cu Chi tunnels, the vast tunnel network where the Viet Cong hid out during the war, but on learning that at their biggest the tunnels are 4 feet high I'm having second thoughts...I'm not sure it would be good for my posture. I think I'll find something else to do.

Posted by msmitheman 21:41 Archived in Vietnam

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Sorry the moto-bike's are hassling you but at least hearing you say it, I dont feel like a crazy woman!

I have to say that I think my biggest problem with Saigon initially was the culture shock. On my return trip I wished that I had spent an extra day as I enjoyed the 5 hours that I had just to walk around and relax (even with the moto-bikes).

Enjoy your few days of time alone....

by Khandilee

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