What a trip that was to Vietnam! Monkey bite is healed. Knee and wrist still hurt. Actually had a heart attack and now packing for my next trip! Antarctica in about ten days. Details soon!
What a last day! We awoke early to go to the Floating Market. When we walked out of the hotel, the entrance was flooded. Maybe rain, maybe a leak. The other entrance was fine.
We stood outside waiting for a taxi. It was about 5:30 am. Several people came up to us including one aggressive lady, I liked her but Julie was becoming a native quickly. People are so pushy here. Seriously they just barge in ignoring that you might actually be in line before them. We had to show a couple people the way. So Julie grabbed a taxi and the guy spoke some English! He gave us a price to drive us to the floating market and he knew someone that would take us on a boat. Too good to be true? It was a short drive to the market, the city was waking up. We stopped in a parking lot then walked gingerly through trash and puddles and sure enough there was a boat! He helped us into the boat, especially me since my knee was so swollen. We had mentioned that we wanted coffee and Pho and maybe see the noodle making shop! He did exactly that! We saw people on the Mekong River selling their wares from smaller boats. We saw lots of tourists on bigger boats. Our skipper spoke a little English but he took us to a floating dock that sold stuff and then Pho and coffee. So fun and so delicious. Then he went to the Noodle factory where we saw noodles made and we even got to try out the process.
The time and cost and the trip lasted exactly what he quoted so we asked if he would like to drive us to Ho Chi Minh City, about a 3.5 hour drive. We had tried a private company but they didn’t call back until we had already left. He said yes so we went to the hotel and packed up and off to HCMC.
Once we arrived at our hotel it was time to find a rabies shot. Let the fun begin! I found a private English speaking hospital and yes they had the rabies vaccine. It was about 2.5 km away. We asked if we could walk but the hotel said no and that we should take a taxi. So we arrive at the hospital. The person that I talked to said go to ground floor then they said the third floor. Ground floor was check in area so we went up to first floor. They told us to go to third floor to infectious disease area. We did and there were some very sick people lying in beds, some two per bed, it looked like an African clinic. So nurses station told me to go pay. Cashier said, no vaccine at the hospital. I explained that I just called 30 minutes before and they said they had the vaccine. After a long time waiting she gave me a different address, not that I could read her writing. She sent me to customer service. Talked with two young girls and then their supervisor. She wanted me to fill out a complaint form. I just wanted a vaccine. She wrote down the same address as the last person. I asked her to call and see if they had the vaccine. She called and yes, they have it. Next taxi drops us off at the right address for the Louis Pasteur clinic but the entrance is on the other side of the building next to trash like this.
Two guards are at the clinic and they tell us that no one is working today. He even goes into the building to check. They give me a third clinic! And show us where we are. And where the hospital is. It is close to where we were trying to eat the first night. We taxi again. We ask nurses on several floors and they finally send us to a different building. Check in there and they keep my passport for sooo long. It’s dirty and people are sick
They want my birthdate, my height, my weight, telephone number, name of the hotel that I am staying at. Dr comes over asks what I want. Says ok, then pay for that conversation with him and the shot. Two and a half hours!!
Next cab to the area that we wanted to eat at. It was good. Back to the hotel, pack and organize and realize there is a sky bar so we have a drink there and then on to the airport. We didn’t have the same flight back, but we met up before my flight. Hers was delayed. We met in Tokyo. She was able to get on her flight but mine was delayed 5 hours and then cancelled altogether. And you can’t get out of the airport because of covid. After many phone calls and waiting, several of us were escorted through security and through quarantine procedures which were crazily over staffed. We had to walk from one end of the airport to the other . QR codes, show passport, show boarding pas. My knee was really hurting and the monkey bite oozing. Then a bus took us from Hanada Airport to Narita. No food in the airports! My original flight was delayed until Monday night so I am happy to only be delayed 2.5 hours.
Arrived at Narita I’ve an hour later by bus.I had a couple hours to spare. Looked for food. Not much to choose from. McDonalds was the choice. Just woke up from my nap on the flight. Another fantastic trip in the books. Wow a little different than others. Looking forward to normalcy. More pics to follow
I always like to see how many modes of transportation I can take when I travel. So far: airplane, stand up bus, sit down bus, sleeper bus, sleeper train, taxi, shuttle, motorbike as a passenger and as a driver,small transport boat, ferries, sleeper boat, hmm. Maybe more. Just need to be in a rickshaw
We hesitated to do the buffet but it was pretty good, prawns, scallops, clams, roast beef, lotus salad, grapefruit and shrimp salad snails
Great dinner with best buddies, several lemongrass martinis
Drinking coffee on the Veranda, feeling that reality is coming soon. we will ferry to the mainland get a taxi to the Mekong Delta, overnight and get a taxi to Ho chi mahn City. We have hotels booked but not transportation yet. The last hotel is just to shower and organize our flight is around 11pm
Breakfast yesterday. Most places we stay at have Buffett breakfasts. They have all the usual stuff be we tend to get the Pho. Each place is different. Todays was a fish base, thin vermicelli rice noodles. We also try the new things.
Motor biking was exhilarating! It just works. Very few accidents. Lots of beeping. You must concentrate on the road under you, on traffic on all sides. We biked to the south part of the island and got lost a few times.
We biked from 11am til 5 pm
Next hotel. Even better hotel. Less kids nicer staff
Taxi from hotel to Hanoi airport. Same deal with getting the tickets back and forth and then pay for the luggage. We were there early so booked the nights hotel and worked out ideas for the rest of the trip with a cold beer. Nice beachfront hotel. Just a few minutes from the airport . Hung out at the beach. Then taxi to Irish Pub that disappointed us.
Bought a box of red wine. Had some in the room. Tomorrow we change hotels and hope for no rain.
We had a choice of a homestay or actually in someone’s house. Homestay is a separate room, cleaner but you still share the bathroom. The floor was clean not sure about the sheets. They didn’t stink. We slept well but that could have been exhaustion too.
Julie and Ching returned from another couple hours of trekking and the preparation for dinner. We made spring rolls and Panko fried chicken, buffalo and veggies, and some other stuff. So much food and of course everyone was in the tiny , sweltering kitchen, even the dog and cat.
Time for bed. I wasn’t sure if I could trek the next day. Uneventful day until the rooster started crowing right outside our room.
Pancakes with bananas and honey
I slipped at one point and my leg went out laterally and I jammed my wrist. Didn’t seem like an issues but another hour and a half of trekking, it got my attention. I was able to have a motorbike take me to the homestay while Julie trekked more. Lunch was made for us by a local woman, the ride on the motorbike was pretty scary. The path narrow and sometimes wet and rocky. I just kept looking forward through the uphills and downhills. The helmet would have done nothing for me if we went over the edge.