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!
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