Wednesday, 25 November 2015

A Little Bit Of Asia

Hey again!

I'm back from a glorious three weeks in Vietnam, and sort of raring for the rest of the year.  What's left.

First things first, turns out Asia was pretty kind to me on the scales front, and for pretty much the first time ever I came back from a trip lighter than I left.  Yep - that's right - I actually lost a couple of lbs on a holiday, instead of gaining them.

And no, that wasn't down to a dicky tummy or any particular effort watching what I was eating.  Instead, I ate exactly what I wanted, drank beer and smoothies /milkshakes when I fancied them and generally relaxed in a soul-deep way that felt good.

It was a pretty hectic couple of weeks, as we visited eight different places over the three weeks (plus a couple of return stopovers so we could loop back round on our route), so we saw loads but the beach days I'd sort of hoped for were a bit lacking.  There was still time to unwind and let anxieties go though, whilst soaking up such an amazing culture.

(Mekong Delta, Po Na Towers, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Marble Mountain, Hai Van Pass,  Hue Imperial Citadel - selfie and palace gate, Halong Bay - our boat and selfie).

I'm kind of feeling really positive about things at the moment.  I'm back at work one week before my current contract ends and then I'm potentially taking December off work between contracts - I'm sorting contracts out at the moment, but it's looking like it might work out that way.  Shaaaaaaame.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015


It's been a busy but lovely first week in beautiful Vietnam.

It hasn't been at all what I expected in many ways, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, and in other places it's definitely exceeded expectations.

We've now gathered the fourth and final member of our group on a fly-through trip back through Saigon, and we've traveled up the coast North to Nha Trang. I'm writing to you from a stunning beach bar overlooking a golden beach, blue sea and white parasols. The fan above me is sending a nice cooling breeze down on my head.

The first week had it's ups and downs. Saigon was hectic, as you'd imagine, but interesting. The Mekong Delta a region of poverty, cottage industry and unexpected glimpses of lush quiet waterways amongst the hustle and bustle of the floating markets and the few cities. After that we travelled to the island of Phu Quoc for a few days of peace and quiet. We definitely got that, along with a bucketload of rain (it's right on the cusp of the transition from wet season to dry at the moment) but we sneaked in moments of sun around the pool on the garden of our little resort, and found a friendly beach bar down the road run by some lovely Kiwis which was a great place to hang and play cards, drink beers and tropical milk shakes and watch the rain and sunsets.

We also hired scooters for the day, but it turns out I suck at turning corners and once we'd got lost in a random town way off the tourist track I managed to topple off at a crossroad and had to be rescued by some very helpful local guys who jumped up to grab the bike off me and help me up. They were so sweet and bought me water to wash off the dust (and some blood) and offered me some salve for my grazes and somewhere to sit until the shock passed. People are good.

Even more amazing were the people we'd hired the scooter from, who far from charging us an arm and a leg for the cracked sidelight and scratches on their lovely shiny scooter, charged us about £10 and were more worried that I was ok and kept apologising. See people truly are good.

Nha Trang where we are now is far more traditional touristy resort than we've been too yet, and I wasn't sure I liked it, but we went to a stunning 2nd century temple yesterday and then out of town to a spa with the local natural mid baths. This mini utopia cost us a whole £8 for the day and the place was enormous and luxurious, whilst still relatively quiet. Coupled with today's beautiful beach bar location, I feel better disposed to this town now!

Tonight we're catching an overnight sleeper bus (sure to be an experience and adventure) to Hoi An, 11 hours North. Hopefully I don't murder anyone on the bus if the famed karaoke / Kung Fu TV is too loud!

Goooooooood Mooooooorniiiing Viiiiiieeeetnaaaaam!

Ha!!! I've been waiting to say that for months. Although it is fact evening as I type this, but we'll ignore that small inconvenience, shall we?

So yeah. I'm currently in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City, if you want to be official about it) and enjoying the first couple of days of holiday. Three whole weeks

My encounter with the scales before I left put me down another lb which I'll quite gratefully take, although given the amazing food we've had out here so far, I could well come home the size of a house!

It's massively hot and sticky here which is a bit of a shock after the gloomy autumnal UK so I'm trying to get used to sweating my tits off all the time - there's a lovely image for you, eh?

We left Saturday afternoon and just arrived Sunday lunchtime, so whilst trying to avoid jet lag, we've so far walked around the city, visited a Buddhist temple, driven out to see the Cu Chi tunnels used in the war with the Americans. Oh yeah, and I fired an M16 automatic just for shits and giggles. Loud. Very, very loud. 

Tomorrow we're heading off early for a couple of days in the Mekong Delta .... which will probably be even more humid than the 697% humidity here in the city. The joy. 

(Written last week but delayed posting due to wifi!)

- Posted from my iPhone