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November 01, 2003 : Southern Vietnam


I visit Nha Trang, which is the beach paradise of Vietnam, go to Saigon and feel cultural, and then off to the Mekong delta...

Nha Trang

After another lovely busride, we (the two swedish girls from Hoi An was on the bus as well) arrive in Nha Trang in the morning. We walk around for a while looking for a hotel, since the ones the tour company took us to was crap. There was an annoying guy following us for a long time and tried to make us go to his place, and we might have done that if he just left us alone for a while, but oh no, they don't know that concept in Vietnam. To get rid of him, we simply walked into the first hotel we could find and looked at the rooms there. Probarbly not the nicest place in town, but it was cheap and the owner was very friendly, so we decided to stay.
After a free breakfast at the hotel and couple of hours of sleep, I felt better, so I walk around the city for a while. A pretty boring place - if you are not interested in staying on the beach during the day and spending every night in a bar that is. I sit down and eat lunch in a restaurant and spend a couple of hours getting up to date in my diary, while getting a bit homesick. The reason for that was that there was a guy in the restaurant practising his skills on a keyboard - playing Silent Night over and over again, with different instruments all the time. With all the christmas lights that they have everywhere I started longing for christmas at home, but that's not going to happen, is it? Oh well...

I spend only three days in Nha Trang, since I didn't really feel like doing the beach thing. I did have a good time though, met quite a few people I've met earlier on this journey at the Sailors club (the bar that everyone goes to in the evenings), and there was a really adorable man running around in Nha trang selling books... he looked really funny, worked at a library and he spoke quite a bit of swedish actually... "Lange leve konungen!" ... he was very amusing :)

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Sunset outside Nha Trang
Another journey, another busride during night, first real problem though. We got a flat tire just outside HCMC and had to wait for an hour for them to fix it. No big deal, but when you are tired and just want to go to a hotel and sleep, standing still waiting is boring.

When we finally arrive, I check out a few hotels before finding a good one for a decent price. 6 dollars for a clean room with AC, bathtub and hot water in the bathroom, good cable TV... So much better than in Thailand.
I sleep for a couple of hours before going out for breakfast and a small sightseeing. Run into a couple of canadian guys that I met in Hanoi and spend some time with them. Most of the evening I watch movies on my TV though. Damn relaxing...

Cu Chi tunnels

Me in one of the big tunnels
The next day I have to get out of bed early - way to early in my opinion. The day before I had booked a tour to the Viet Cong tunnels around Cu Chi - a very interesting place. On the minibus over there, we were: the driver and the guide. The irish couple that was on the bus with me and the locals from Nha Trang to HCMC. Two swedish girls I met in Hanoi and Nha Trang. Two other swedish girls. One girl from England. One more girl from Sweden. And Me. Out of ten foreigners, six were from Sweden. Bah.
Our guide tells us a little about the war on the way over there, he had been fighting with the americans, so he knew pretty much. After we had walked around a little in the area, and seen a short movie about the noble Viet Cong army (*sigh*), we came to the first tunnel. This was a short one that had been given a big entry and also the tunnel was bigger, just to make it more comfortable for foreigners.

Original entrance to tunnel
After a few of these short ones, including one in "original" size, we got to the exersize event of the day - one tunnel that was 110 metres long. It doesn't sound like much, but trust me, when you are down there it's more than enough! It was almost completely dark, it was very hot and with bad air, and in general utterly f*cking horrible! As soon as the people in front of you were quiet (I was last, because the girls were afraid they would be left behind) it felt as though you were completly alone and you had no idea where to go, because the only light in the tunnel was blocked out by the people in front of you. It took forever to get through the tunnel, and it didn't help when the women in front "got attacked" by some bats, they started screaming and refused to move. When we finally got out of there, I was dirty as hell, pouring sweat and in general very tired. Good thing they don't have those squat toilets in Vietnam as they have in Thailand, my thighs hurt badly for two days after this, I could hardly walk up the stairs in my hotel... =)
I'm shooting with the AK-47

After this, we relaxed for a while and tried some stuff the VC used to eat, and then walked around the area a bit more and were shown some traps that the VC used during the war. Then we went to the shooting range, were we could try some real weapons, but it was very expensive - one dollar to shoot one bullet. I tried the AK-47, and it was fun, I wish I could have spent a lot more money there :)

More culture

HCMC operahouse by night
Can you repeat that please?
When we return to HCMC, I go to a cafe with the swedish girls I had met in Hanoi, and they asked me if I wanted to join them on the theatre later that night. Sure, why not. Why would have been a better question :)

In the evening, we eat dinner together, and then walk to the opera house. For some reason we are the only foreigners outside the house - and we are even more alone inside it. It feels as though all of the vietnamese people are looking at us wondering what we were doing there. After about five minutes, so do we... We had hoped for some nice songs or at least a simple classic story with cool costumes. It was a play about every day life at a factory, with some jokes and a love story in it. That much we understood, before we left the place :)
Not the best invested 70 000 of my life...

We had a laugh about it afterwards though, while we had a beer instead. Very nice and funny girls to hang out with by the way! Too bad they left the next day...

... the next day

Yeah, like I wrote, the swedish girls left and I was once again alone. Being very tired and having legs that didn't allow me to do any walking made me stay in a lot and watch TV. I managed to get some breakfast around noon or so, but after that I pretty much just stayed in bed. In the evening I did some Interneting though, and when I was going to get some dinner I ran into Mikey, an english guy I'd met before, Johan from Sweden, and a couple of english girls that I had met a few times as well. They invite me to join them in a bar for a few beers, and who can say no to that? Unfortunatly for me, they had stopped serving food just when we got there, so beer would have to do instead of lunch/dinner. Oh well...
Had a nice evening, watching Mikey kick everyones ass by the pool table - he was extremly good. Too bad these guys were leaving the next day as well...

And more culture

After another day of extensive pain in my legs, I felt I could actually do something again. I got on a cyclo and went to the War Remnants museum (it used to be called the Museum of American War Crimes...), apparently they wanted more american tourists, so they changed the name and the signs in the museum to be less... frank. That did make it quite interesting though, with a lot of pictures and leftovers from the american war. Not that I was surprised over it, hard to be that when you have been to the museums in the north, but the VC obviously did no bad things at all during the war... bah.

Plane used during war
A statue called 'Mother'

The palace
After a couple of hours in the museum, I go to the next one - The palace, where I actually get a english speaking guide to tell me about it. Not the most interesting place in Vietnam, but worth the money I guess. The museums here are cheap to visit :)

In the evening I surprisingly enough end up in a bar, drinking beer with a couple of maniacs from England. Very nice maniacs though, and quite funny. They were heading for Angkor Wat. Again. The first time they had been there for a week, but been to drunk to see the temples... :)

The next day I go on a shopping spree for a while, before meeting up with the dutch girl Petra again, that had arrived in HCMC as well. We eat dinner together and then drink beer at the same bar as I had been on almost every other evening so far in HCMC... Nice place though, called Allez Boo or something like that. I recommend it.

Mekong delta

A late night in HCMC, an early morning the next day... At 8.00 I get on a minibus that heads south, towards the Mekong delta. After a few hours on the bus, we get on a boat out on the river and visit a place with different fruit plantations. They also make candy out of coconuts that was quite good actually. After that, we sit down and try their fruits while listening to the locals playing and singing for us... beautiful... :)
When the singing is over, we go to a smaller stream and sit down in small boats to be paddled down back to the Mekong and the big boat again.

Our next visit is in a place where they make honey, and we get to taste it straight from the source - just dip the finger by the bees! Tasted good though. We also got to drink tea and alcohol with honey taste, before playing with their pet snake.

They take us back to the pier and we get into the minibus again. In our bus there is a couple from England, a girl from Canada - and five swedes (A swedish couple, two swedish girls and me). *sigh*
After a long ride on bad roads we finally arrive at our hotel for the night. I get to share hotel room with the canadian and swedish girls... it's not as interesting as it sounds though :)

Mmm, tasty!
Just put your finger down here...
Is that a python around your neck?

The next day we have to get out of bed early, because the boat leaves at 7.00. After breakfast and a short walk down to the pier, we go out on the river and visit a fishfarm. Some hungry fishes there I can tell you, I started wondering if it was pirahna fishes or something...

Then we visit a small muslim village, testing some of the clothes they make and look at their synagoga. After a short visit there, we are joined by another four swedish guys, and then head for the cambodian border. It takes us about three hours to get there, a pretty boring ride after a while - not the most comfortable boat I've been on. After crossing the border on the Vietnam side, we have to wait for another boat for an hour - go the cambodian side of the border and get a stamp in the passport - and then the boat heads north for a few hours in pouring rain. My next ride is two hours on crap roads, in a really bad bus - and the worst seat in it. Hard, almost no back on it, everyones backpacks behind my head and one in my knee... and I ended up between two swedish people. They (ok, we...) are everywhere! :)
When we finally arrive in Phnom Penh, I'm just grateful to be alive. Who cares about the time being 19.00 instead of 15.00 as they told us in HCMC? Phnom Penh seems more interesting than I expected it to be, but this night I was to tired to check that out...

That looks heavy... poor bastard
Hungry fishes!
Reason enough for me to stay swedish...

Posted in: Travel , Vietnam by mdk @ 7:01, November 1, 2003 | TrackBack


Fun reading. Sweden rocks!!! hehe ;)

Posted by: JoA @ 16:21, December 19, 2003

Well, next week I'd actually prefer to be in Sweden, spending christmas here doesn't sound like that much fun. Hopefully I'll find some swedes to spend it with though, shouldn't be that hard :)

A lot of the people I've met on this journey so far was just out for a few months though, going home this week, so it seems like most people want to spend christmas at home. Oh well. I'm trying to get in contact with a couple of swedish guys I met on Koh Lanta, the plan is to spend christmas with them somewhere in Malaysia. Right now I'm breaking the law, since my visa expired yesterday, I just hope they don't throw me in jail... ;)

Posted by: Martin @ 3:47, December 20, 2003

Hej Martin!!
Här vräker snön ner. Just nu ca 3dm å snöplogen har precis varit här=). Hoppas allt är bra med dig å att du får en jätte bra jul.
MAssor av julkramar Kajsa

Posted by: Kajsa @ 23:04, December 21, 2003

Tjosan Kajsa!

Aah, lyx! Ni far en vit jul alltsa, det var inte illa

Sjalv hoppas jag pa regn har i Thailand, sa det kanns som en "riktig" svensk jul! ;D
Allt ar kanon... efter diverse strulande vid gransen mellan Thailand och Malaysia idag sa lyckades jag till sist ta mig tillbaks till Thailand igen.

Ska fira jul pa en o som heter Koh Lipe, blir nog skont tror jag... riktigt lugnt stalle ska det vara i alla fall.

Tack for halsningen, och jag hoppas du far en kanonjul ocksa! Ha det bra!

*kramar tillbaks*

Posted by: Martin @ 15:15, December 22, 2003

Åsso var det då åter dags för den svanska vita...mindre vita julen. Men i år var det faktiskt nära då det var vitt ute fram t.o.m. inatt då regnet tog över.
Vi ska nu snart iväg och fira Julafton vol. 2* hos Johansson i slummen (nära Näset). Lennart är aningen närvös inför detta firande då de hotat med att dra med honom på midnatssmässan (det är svårt att sova i kyrkbänkarna...). Gompa står nu och glor över axeln och kontrollerar att allt går rätt tillväga.
Vad det gäller julfirandet får väl jag och Lennart klara oss själva vid humorns bottenskikt med det ska la vi lösa ;)

Ha det nu så gött i det något varmare regnet och hoppas att tomten i Thailand och Malaysia är lika snäll som den som finns här i Sverige.


/Gompa, Syrran, Pappsen och Svågern (samt lite pack i Nödinge)

* Julafton vol.1 utspelade sig i julklappspapprets land Nödinge där årets vinnare var Östen (vars presenthög var störst).

Ps. Ifall vi glömde nämna det så har vi...ÄTIT JÄTTEMYCKET GÖRGOD JULMAT!!! Ds.

Posted by: En drös med fölk @ 10:33, December 24, 2003

Ännu en dag av julfirande har passerat, stormen likaså men regnet är fortfarande alltför välbekant.
I gårdagenes firande ingick naturligtvis julklappsutdelning och när hälften av utdelningen var klar (en utdelning som sköttes av en ovanligt otrevlig tomte vid namn Victor) uppenbarades något nytt i rummet: julgranen! Nåja, paketen tog slut och då var det ju dags att öppna den gedigna skörden. Då visade det sig att en viss Herr McBack hade haft ett finger med i spelet, till mångas glädje. MEN VARFÖR VAR ÖLFLASKAN TOM!!!??? Nåja, den hade väl läckt ut via någon tulltjänsteman... ;)
Hursom helst vill vi alla (i alla fall den i går närvarande gruppen) tacka för de generösa bidrag som tillsänts oss. Å att Micke fick den enda film som innehöll en åsna var väl givet.
Nu var det ju inte enbart julklappar, godis och jättemycket gööörgod julmat som vi upplevde igår. Vi var lite smått religösa också då vi gick på midnattsmässan som ju vanligtvis brukar vara en mysig liten halvtimma fylld med vacker sång och stämning. Men nu var vi i Näsets kyrka och där levde man kvar på 1800-talet med nattvard, falska trumpeter samt psalmer som fick än att tappa julstämningen totalt. Å då har vi ändå inte nämnt den otroliga träsmak som spred sig upp längs skinkorna (inte julskinkan, reds. anm.). Slutligen, och då menar vi snarare äntligen, var gudstjänsten över efter 90 minuter vi sent kommer att glömma...eller göra allt för att glömma. Detta gäller dock inte de tre vise männen, eller snarare de två vise männen och deras ledsagare. Lennart, Olle och Margit avstod nämligen gudstjänsten till förmån för städning och kontemplation...dvs mycket julöl och godis.
Idag ska vi träna pendling, bodypunp (endast Lennart) och kalkonanrättning. Hoppas att vi lyckas bättre än en viss engelsk "böna".

Avslutande delen i denna Mankelliknande trilogi följer...

/Gompa, Lennart, Lotta och Micke

Posted by: En drös med fölk...igen @ 12:03, December 25, 2003

Jasa, ni fick ingen vit jul alltsa... trakigt... ;)
Det fick faktiskt jag, om an vit sand da iofs... men det sag nastan lite snoaktigt ut i kvallsmorkret!

Jag har inga som helst tvivel om att ni klarar av att halla er i humorns bottenskikt utan mig, tror faktiskt det skulle racka med en av er tom... ;)

Jag at ocksa god julmat! En halv grillad kyckling och strips, som visade sig vara mer sisadar 4 stycken grillade kycklingar (med strips...). Nar vi antligen fick var mat sa var det sa lojligt mycket att jag knappt orkade borja ata. Koh Lipe var dock en mycket trevlig o att vara pa, om det nu inte varit for alla svenska och italienska barnfamiljer... mest de italienska som var jobbiga iofs, varfor kan inte det folkslaget prata i normal samtalston utan maste se till att hela on hor dem? *suckar lite*
Jaja, i alla fall...
Det var inte riktigt sa illa som jag tankt mig... det var inte strom mellan 18 och 24, utan 18 och 06 minsann! Vilket iofs innebar att man vaknade svettig varje morgon, men man kunde iaf sova pa natten... om man nu bara hade gatt och lagt sig lite tidigare da vill saga =)

Dock maste jag saga att tomten har var ratt kass, han kom inte med nagra presenter alls faktiskt. Jag som trodde han levererade varlden over, men det verkar vara ett privilegium for rika vasterlandska barn *muttrar surt*

Storm? Regn? Sjalv har jag haft stralande solsken, 30+ grader varmt och harligt klart vatten att snorkla i.

Otrevlig tomte? Det var det varsta jag hort, ska man tolerera sadant? Dags att nagon lar honom lite hyfs! Sadan far, sadan son iofs...
Jaja, jag skamtar saklart bara! Skulle aldrig saga ett ont ord om en av mina favoritkusiner eller en av mina favoritmorbroder heller for den delen! :)

Flaskan var tom for att... tja... det var varmt den dagen i Ventienne nar jag kopte den? For att det var trakigt och tungt nog att bara den med sig i 1.5 manad anda... vill du ha fler ursakter? :)

Jag hoppas mamma lyckades hitta kapsylen ocksa, den ska finnas nagonstans den med

Hehe :)
Later som ni haft trevligt i alla fall, trots hemska kyrkobesok. Det fanns inte sa manga gudstjanster att besoka pa Lipe, sa det besvaret slapp jag automagiskt.

I alla fall... nu ar det snart nyar, jag ar tillbaks i civilisationen (dvs. jag har tackning pa mobilen och internet kostar inte 300 baht/timme (!)) och ska imorgon ut till Koh Phi Phi igen for att fira nyar med de svenska killarna jag var ut till Lipe med. Efter ett par dagar dar blir det sannolikt Koh Tao en svang, men jag ligger oerhort efter mitt tidsschema for tillfallet, sa jag for satta en javla fart snart :)

Mjaja... ha det bra, och tack for halsningarna!

Posted by: Martin @ 15:16, December 29, 2003

Gott nytt år på dig!

Efter att ha sovit till närmare 11.30 (!) har vi nu vaknat upp till en oherrans massa disk och en del dammsugning. Svårt att förstå att vi bara var 4 stycken i går.:-)

Vill också tacka för de fina julklapparna, kuddöverdragen passade perfekt i färgerna till vårt vardagsrum.

Som sig brukligt är lär det väl nu bli en klassisk slappardag i TV-soffan med Ivanhoe eller Sound of Music. Det ska bli riktigt skönt det.

Ha det gött.

/Lotta & Micke

Posted by: Zetterlinds @ 13:23, January 1, 2004

Ah, detsamma... gott nytt ar!

Ojoj, sa lange sov inte ens jag, var tvungen att checka ut vid 11. Betalade 1000 baht for en enkel bambu-bungalow pa en smatom strand pa Phi phi. Den lag iofs pa stranden, sa laget kan man inte klaga pa.

Min dagen efter innebar att krangla in sig till turistbyn, trangas pa en bat samt aka till Krabi och checka in pa hotell... men jag lyxade till det med en massage igar kvall, tillsammans med ett svenskt par som jag motte pa baten. Det var ratt behagligt, men blev redigt trott efterat :)

Alldeles for varmt for att interneta har, sa far hitta pa nagot annat... vi hors :)

Posted by: Martin @ 7:04, January 2, 2004


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