Last day!

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 bait. 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 tourist 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 them 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.

Flowers

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.

Airport hotel tiny
Dinner sat night

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

Kids cleaning up trash!
Beach front

Wonderful Seafood dinner last night

We hesitated to do the buffet but it was pretty good, prawns, scallops, clams, roast beef, lotus salad, grapefruit and shrimp salad snails

Live music
It’s Womans Day today in Vietnam

Great dinner with best buddies, several lemongrass martinis

Art in the hotel
The view from our balcony in the morning

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

Phu Quoc

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.

Pineapple cut for Sally
Dragon
Yesterdays pool
Yesterdays pool
What is this?
Sharks
Lard to catch fish
Fish
Beach
Stairs to nowhere
Swing in the water
Boats at the harbor
Trying to find the fish sauce factory
Beautiful lobster
Not the fish factory

We biked from 11am til 5 pm

Welcome drink and ice cold towel

Next hotel. Even better hotel. Less kids nicer staff

In Phu Quoc

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.

Papaya salad with soft shell crab
Shrimp
Winner for dinner was duck!

Bought a box of red wine. Had some in the room. Tomorrow we change hotels and hope for no rain.

More more pics

Home stay bedroom

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.

Dog in the trash
Chong’s cute baby “V”
Spring rolls
Rice wine
Front yard
Outside
Side yard
Bedroom
Kitchen

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.

Morning view
Peaceful movement for Julie

Pancakes with bananas and honey

Work out room
Our hostess Ma
The mirror
Julie and Ching heading off for another 2-3 hour trek.
The view
Back to Sa Pa

Photos.

The infamous BBQ
Train cabin for two or four.
Coffee in Sa Pa with condensed sweetened milk
Original moms with babies taking people trekking
My favorite picture of the trip
Bamboo
You can’t tell how steep and narrow the path is, trust me, no slipping here
But this is where my knee started to hurt
Home cooked lunch here
Rice dries for a day if it’s sunny
View from the homestay. I arrived on motorbike. I couldn’t walk anymore

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.

Sa Pa to Hanoi

Looking for bus:

Our wonderful Sa Pa sister guide reserved a sleeper bus for us. No idea what that meant. She also arranged for a taxi. We hobbled, well I did, to an ATM. Yay got money!! Then looking for shopping. I had just so many steps that I can take. Learned a new skill from Julie, for impaired knees and going up and down steps: up to heaven with the good foot, down to hell with the bad knee and it worked. Not much to shop for. Decided a beer would be a good idea. I didn’t care where but Julie wanted to be in the sun. All her sweat had dried and now she was cold. I didn’t care. So we sat down at the first outside place. She checked around to see if there was a better place. Ordered beers, they never have the ones we order so we got what we got and then realized that we had five minutes before the taxi came. Julie graciously went to get the back packs and we verified with the SaPA Sister desk that the taxi was here she said she had to order it so we went up to the street. More stairs. We think someone else took our taxi. Another driver comes up. We say bus, he says yes, we say 50,000 dong, he says yes. We repeat, he says yes. We get in. He drives around then stops randomly and makes a call. Then he doesn’t know where we want to go! Wtf!! Then he gives me the phone. It’s SaPa sisters and I say yes, we want to go to the bus station. He grumbles and takes us to a street and says it’s the bus. Not again!! There are busses to the right and left. We asked our guide what was the name of the bus, and where do we go. She said they would see us! Ugg. We went to the left. A lady at the desk said no tickets, not available until 5:30pm. We tried to say we had a reservation and that we could pay for the tickets. She was so unpleasant. Then a man from the bus motioned our way, seemed like he was saying that there was room. She was on the phone, others were waiting. And then a nicely dressed woman with make up said come this way. I answered who are you. Julie asked if she knew Ching at Sa Pa sister and she did. So another leap of faith! There have been so many this trip that haven’t worked out so well. She took my heavy backpack. Word was out that I was injured, again!! She basically flagged down a bus, driver came out, luggage stowed and take off your shoes before you go in. It was a bus with three sets of reclining seat, staggered upper and lower with room to put your small stuff by your feet. It has internet and maybe a bathroom! This has been the craziest trip!! Four hours to Hanoi. We have a hotel and no idea what we are doing next! Well first the hospital for some Rabies stuff, I hope