Sunday, 19 February 2012

In Israel, we have twelve of these.

Well Hello Everyone! It has been a while since my last blog - time seems to go quicker than I realise out here! Since I last wrote there have been all kinds of adventures and crimes - murder of lizards and theft of pants to name a few. When we got back up to the room after the last blog we were met with the sight of a lizard scurrying out of sight. I know this probably makes us wusses but we didn't want to sleep with it in there! Told reception who didn't seem to care too much, so took our own measures and chased it into a hole which we then covered with surgical tape! At this point a grumpy man armed with a can of cockroach spray and a flip flop marched in and released it from the little prison and chased it round the room until it got a few too many smacks on the head with the flip flop and it left our little family forever. Still covered the hole with some more surgical tape, just in case it had any vengeful relatives lurking around. While in Hoi An we also had a set menu - traditional Hoi An food. Oh my gosh it was blooming gorgeous! Definitely the best meal we have had so far, but don't worry we took a picture of every single dish plus the menu, definitely going to try and re-create some of those when we get back!However, in spite of these good times there was more drama to come when our laundry was returned and 3 pairs of Sean's pants and 2 pairs of socks had vanished! Reception man (aka lizard killer) did not seem as responsive to the news as we had hoped - no finger prints taken or anything. Would have been slightly better except for the fact that we were due to get on a coach at 730am the next morning! This proved to be a dramatic half hour - Sean stood watching the reception for any sign of them trying to track down the stolen goods, while I was dispatched to the bus station to wave frantically at him if we had to go. At 745am, a van (yes, a whole van) arrived bearing the pants. Disaster averted, as luckily the bus company runs on the strange time zone that people seem to operate on over here so was a bit late too! The bus was to Hue, and went along some beautiful scenery and coastal roads. Went through a high pass but don't worry, overtaking was still rampant on the narrow, winding road on the edge of the cliff. In Hue we went on a boat tour of some famous tombs and other landmarks, such as the citadel. Tour Guide performed a rendition of some traditional Vietnamese folk songs. And then warbled his way through Unchained Melody as well. We are still not sure why but it seemed to make him happy and we got it all on video. Also went to see a martial arts performance which was really good, spent some of it peeping through my fingers as they held blades against their exposed throats but no one was harmed in the making of this blog. Very strange man in Purple trousers/waistcoat ensemble spent the majority of the tour boasting about how much better stuff is in Israel ('we have twelve of these bowls, and each is carried by twelve bulls'). Best bit came when we were on the Perfume River and another tour boat overtook us - Japanese lady going to the toilet, only to discover that even with the door closed there was a 6 inch gap. Plus the door was see through. Got more of a view than we payed for! Only got better when someone else came to use the toilets and was shocked to find her in there and proceeded to have a discussion with her about it - very happy that these bathroom issues are not just happening to me! Immediately after the boat trip decided to get the FINAL sleeper coach to Hanoi. Busiest one yet, but we were at the back so actually next to each other this time - Lord of the Rings on the ipod, happy days. Then to Hanoi. Definitely the loudest place we have been so far. And the rooms here are more expensive too. Found somewhere after a while but they seemed to forgot who we were each time we came in and out, and had a very relaxed attitude towards things like looking after the key to your room. Final decision to move came when we discovered that every time we flushed the toilet the room smelt like a dead body. Went and bought some jeans as it is pretty chilly here (fleeces are coming in handy!)and went to the Temple of Literature. Mainly were just finding stuff to do until we went on our Ha Long Bay trip - had to spend a fair bit on it but we had done our homework and found a reputable company, which is not massively easy around here! So thursday morning saw us off on one of the trips I had been most excited about. And to make it even better, as we sat waiting for the mini bus a fight broke out between two women on the street. Ninja Kicks and slaps everywhere, one ofthe women had a meat stall so the other one was throwing her pots and pans around. Culminated in a massive lump of meat being lobbed at the others head and landing in the road. true to form when the fight was over the meat went back on the shelf don't worry! $ hours later we were in Halong City - what appears to be a collection of hotels. Got a little ferry thing to the boat where we would be spending the night, and a seafood lunch mmmmmm. After that we cruised around the islands for an hour or so until we reached 'Surprising Cave' which is like a grotto of stalagmites and tites that all look like various animals and creatures (provided you have a small amount of imagination which luckily we did!) Alicia - the bins there were all in the form of five foot penguins!!!!!! In the afternoon we went Kayaking - I was terrified and wanted to go in the rowing boat but gave myself a talking to! We kayaked into the lagoon and saw monkeys clambering around our heads - so amazing. I won't even try and describe the overall trip as it is too difficult, Pictures will be uploaded soon! Second day we climbed to the top of an island (nearly killed me!) but we were rewarded when we got back with TEA AND TOAST AND JAM!!!!!!!!! Made me very contented, although pined for a bit of hovis and peanut butter! Returned to Hanoi that evening and had been accidentally upgraded to a gorgeous room in our new hotel - still blooming cold though alas. On Saturday we got our first moto to the Museum of Ethnology. Probably not interesting enough to report on in detail but good enough for two anthropology students! The moto ride was good, not as scary as I thought. Although it wasn't until the way back that I noticed his petrol light was on, he had no mirrors ANYWHERE and then he started trying to tell me something about what I can only assume was a huge pineapple?? Not helped when he could tell I didn't understand so started to text it to me on his phone as he drove along. Unfortunately I cannot read Vietnamese so we will never know the riddle of the pineapple. Next day we went to Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum. Pretty Creepy, first dead body I have seen! Very very busy and serious - I got in trouble from an armed guard because I was walking with my arms crossed - never mind we had been queuing outside for half an hour! had to check in our rucksack at one place, then later get a scan and a little bag for your camera, then later still check in your camera, all before you could go in! We must have been in there all of two minutes, and spent the remainder trying to find where our various items had been stored or moved to. Signposts? No, that would be too easy. Today is our final day in Vietnam. Have checked out and killing some time before we get a taxi to the airport and return to the warmer climates of Bangkok. We have just realised though, that we have got more money left than we thought we would, so if you don't mind we are going to stuff ourselves now! Lots of love and snuggles. xxxxxxx

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