Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Good Morning Vietnam

So my big adventure has begun. I don’t think it has completely sunk in that I will be travelling for a whole year without going home, but when it does I will probably be a mess. So easier to keep on partying, and we certainly have done a lot of that in the short space of time I have been in South East Asia. Ash and I flew in to Phuket, Thailand on 30th of December, ready to celebrate New Year’s. We both let off a paper lantern into the night sky on Patong Beach, and watched as they disappeared into the night sky, wondering what 2010 would bring. If the last week is anything to go by, it will be very eventful.

Crazy people were selling fireworks to any old idiot on the beach and letting them off without any warning. It was truly crazy. We then had a few drinks at the notorious Aussie Bar, where we were sure to leave the bar mats well alone. We met a few Aussies there (of course) then trailed onto the beach for the fireworks and to get sprayed with silly string. Lots of lady boys and pole dancers adorned Bang La Road as we navigated through it all to go to a night club called Hollywood. We danced with a guy who looked like Fabio, then decided did the obligatory Maccas run, just like at home :)

The next day we got an “Oil Massage” which apparently is Thai for “we will massage your whole body, including titty rub and pelvic hand thrust”. Ash and I can pretty much safely say the only thing they didn’t touch was our faces. We laughed about it later, but at the time it was a little awkward. As soon as the massagers left Ash and I looked at each other then almost wet our pants laughing, literally rolling on the floor with the towels over our violated bodies. Hilarious. That night we saw Thai Boxing, it was quite fun actually, although the first fight was between two 6-year olds, which lasted about 30 seconds, because the first kid kicked the other one and he started crying. It was heart-breaking. But they got older from there, and the main fight was between an Aussie and a Thai and the Aussie won, so we were chanting “Aussie aussie aussie, oi oi oi”. We met these crazy Frenchmen at the fight who insisted on going out with us afterwards and taking photos of our feet. So we sat on the beach with them eating banana pancakes, singing and laughing until about 4am. It’s easy to lose track of time around here.

From Phuket we caught a ferry to Phi Phi Island, where we stayed in these cute little bungalows on the beach, made out of straw and bamboo. No air-con, but a fan and mosquito nets. The best part was that the bungalows were part of a beach bar which played sweet tunes until 1am and had a crazy fire show every night. First fire twirlers, then out came the fire skipping rope, then fire limbo. Of course I had a go at the last two, and got a free shot for my efforts. These pyro guys were like Thai rockstars, they set everything on fire and walked around with bottles of grog and no shirts on; we were there 3 nights and they partied every night we were there and never tired. Then we befriended some Thai guys in a tattoo parlour who had one of the only guitars on the island, so we sat down for a jam and before too long people of every nationality from Swedish to Thai were singing along to tunes that cross continents like Oasis and Phil Collins. We moved to the beach and stayed there with beers bought from the mini mart until the early hours of the morning... awesome.

We went on a snorkelling and kayaking cruise, which was fun, we saw Maya Beach, where the movie “The Beach” was filmed and it was beautiful, white powdery sand, crystal blue water... bliss. That night we smoked a She-sha pipe, which is like flavoured tobacco that you smoke through a tube attached to a hookah. We had a licorice flavoured one very interesting.

Last night we flew into Ho Chi Minh, or Saigon as I prefer to call it, as it sounds nicer. So far, however, this city has done nothing but rip us off, discriminate against us and try to run us over. I have never seen so many motorbikes in one city and when it comes to pedestrian crossings, I think green man actually means “run me over” rather than “stop because I’m walking”. We have learnt to just have no fear. After waiting at the airport for 2 hours for our Visas to get processed, we were not in a good mood when the taxi man majorly ripped us off for a ride home. I’m too embarrassed to say how badly we got fleeced, but let’s just say the 20 minute ride was closer to Melbourne taxi prices than Vietnam taxi prices. The currency over here is off tap. 1 aussie dollar = about 16,500 Dong, which as you can imagine, is a bugger to convert. I’m not so good at my 16,500 times tables.

So after getting ripped off by a taxi, I bought a Lonely Planet guide which was photocopied, then we both rode on a cyclo (seat on the front of a bicycle) to a restaurant that served me something slimy that certainly was not satisfying. From there we hopped on the back of two motorcycles (who thankfully did not rip us off, but very nearly killed us) to see the Vietnam War Museum. It was pretty horrific, but made the American soldiers out to be monsters, which I guess some of them were, but I feel some of it was a bit Herald Sun. I also knocked a 1970s missile shell from its holder in front of a display. The whole museum was silent until my big *CLANG*, and everyone was staring at me, Ash was about 50 metres away pretending she didn't know me and I was standing there waiting for some guards to come and escort me from the premises. Luckily, it didn't happen.

Then we got a taxi to the railway station to book a sleeper train, and the cab driver took us the wrong way, then expected us to pay extra. We argued over 20,000 dong (which is about $1.25) because on principle we were sick of the city and it’s rip-off merchants. So after that we were mad. Then we come back to the hotel only to find the free spa is “only for men” and the karaoke was “only for Koreans”. The only thing an Australian female could get was a massage, and we knew what THAT entailed, so we declined. So here we are using free Internet. What a weird city. We’re pretty keen to get outta here and move on to Hoi An, where we can get cheap clothes tailor-made and have a few drinks without getting hassled. Here’s hoping :)

Miss you all already, keep up the e-mails and messages.

 x meg x


  1. sounds great! I'm going to be spending 6 months in SEA pretty soon, riding motorbikes through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand etc. Where else are you heading over the next 12 months? post photos!

  2. Wow, sounds like heaps of fun Megs! And what a way to kick off the new year lol! Keep enjoying the music and parties and stay safe :) Oh and have fun haha..

  3. Ha ha ha - have been in hystericas at the antic so far. Who would have thought lanterns, fireworks, jam sessions, legal sexual abuse, fabio, motorbike mayhem, haggling, discrimination and maccas would all be covered in your first blog. I can't wait to read on! :) xox

  4. Sounds awesome Meegs..really enjoying the read, keep it it comming.

  5. And you call yourself a maths teacher? The Vietnamese have conveniently inflated their dong so that 100,000 is almost exactly $6. You do know your six times tables don't you? By the way, you owe me 825,000 dong for mum and dad's chrissy present.

  6. What a laugh! Sounds fascinating. Makes my mini holiday to Lake Tyers for 10 days sound a little dull, but what the heck, I loved it. Everyone good here, Jess, Ness and Helen visited also Lisa and the kids while at the beach. We are all catching up for Kim's birthday on Friday - the big 40! Back to work for me tomorrow, a scorcher predicted of 43 degrees. Miss you Tash and Daryl XX

  7. Wow Megs.. What an adventure. Sounds like an experience. Angie is home from Fiji on Sunday 17th Jan. Anyway, God Bless and look after yourself. Missing you too Megs.