Thursday, 22 August 2013

Home sweet home!

I’m tired but it’s been a great few days since I’ve been home. The day I got home, I went and surprised Matthew after mum came and picked Olivia and I up from the airport. His mum told him he had to stay in because the gas man was coming, so he opened the door expecting to see the gas man but got worse - he got me! hehe. He was a little shocked about that, but I made him get ready and come to mine. I was upset he didn’t really seem excited, but that’s Matt all over. Emotionless. I like to think he was happy to see me, but who knows!

He ended up coming over and instead he has been here for the last two nights. On the night I got home we went for a family meal to pizza hut to catch up with everyone. The best part about it though was that we picked up some Ben and Jerries on the way home! Woot woot. Oh how I have missed western food!

The pangs of missing Asia are yet to settle in due to the excitement of being home... give it a few lonely days at home and I'm sure I'll be pining for more adventure. 

Monday, 19 August 2013

Home blues.

It’s awful feeling so crap. We both feel like we are slowly going insane at the moment and I can’t cope with that. I just need to be home, right now, in my own bed. These past few hotels make me feel mental. 

This new hotel we checked into, the other side of Khao San Road has little light again, but walking around hot and bothered with our backpacks trying to find another hotel wasn't our idea of fun so we checked into another relatively ok looking one. Both beds are extremely uncomfortable and now I just want to cry as I’ve had no sleep. It didn't help that somebody had started a fight outside our hotel at 5am yesterday - I ended up yelling out the window to them to shut up because some of us were trying to sleep and they had no regard for any other travellers.

We have been unable to change our flight and I’m hot and bothered with a painful back and not enough money to last me to Thursday :(.
Right now I just can’t wait to be home! I miss my bed, my laptop, my iphone, food, just being someone stationary for a week. I guess Cambodia made me ready to come home as it sucked so much, whereas I’d never want to go home if I was in Vietnam. I miss Vietnam more than I miss home.
**update 8:30pm**
We spent the whole day trying to sort out earlier flights and... WOOHOOOO! WE DID IT! However we ended up paying £150 to change it from Friday to tomorrow (Tuesday) - It still seems worth it though because Bangkok is a total nightmare and we can’t wait to leave it! At the same time it seems utterly ridiculous as that money could have lasted us a whole week in Vietnam. I really wish we had spent longer in  places like Ho Chi Minh City.
**Update 11pm**
I went to the market this evening to buy the final pairs of elephant trousers, fake handbags and a fake Rolex watch for my mum and dad. They're so cheap it's ridiculous. 

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Bangkok bound.

Today we finally left for Bangkok in hope there would be more things to do there. We were sadly wrong. We did however travel by a really posh bus and I had wifi most of the way to keep me entertained. 

We visited Khao San Road for the first time and yes, it's mental. There are people everywhere drinking, Tuk Tuk drivers persistently offering to take you to the latest Ping Pong show or ladyboy show, and there are countless vendors attempting to flog everything and anything. However, at this moment in our trip, all we wanted was a beach to relax on, not meeting people who would repeatedly ask us of our age, our occupation, what route we took etc. After 9 weeks, that conversation gets a bit repetitive quite frankly. It's sad to say this, but I think I'm travelled out at this moment. 

We choose awful accommodation, we had pre-booked the rainbow hotel, opposite Khao San Road, but the room has no windows, the roof is falling down and it's disgustingly musty - It definitely doesn't make us any happier! At least our room in Siem Reap was nice. I feel like I'm suffocating here. We're definitely going to move accommodation tomorrow. Instead, this evening, we've just strolled around trying to find anything to take our mind of the emptiness of the room. We eventually found McDonalds and were relieved to have a decent tasting burger for once! First world problems eh...

Friday, 16 August 2013

Rain, rain, and more rain.

There's little to report today as we stayed in the whole day as it poured it down with rain. Boooo. 
Sorry I haven’t been updating – I would love to say its because I’ve been so busy but in reality I’ve done nothing. I’ve just been very drunk, sleeping and buying gifts for everyone back home. We leave to Bangkok tomorrow, I'm hoping it'll be better this time.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

A-level Results Day.

Results day…. Olivia and I spent the whole morning refreshing the internet trying to see our results - I was pleased to find out I had been accepted to Warwick but I was truly devastated by my results. I was 1 UMS off an A* in Politics, 4 UMS off an A* in History, and my English… well, I got an A in the exam which I was thrilled with, but it still wasn’t enough to get an A overall. Economics I managed to get re-marked and that went up to an A too. 
We were both rather miffed by our results so spent the day by the pool sulking and decided we weren’t even in the mood to go out and party in the evening. That was… Until I decided to get a portion of chips from the bar and was chatted up by the bar tender, Paul. Eventually he convinced us to come out and we met up with a load of others and played several drinking games. We didn’t leave for the strip until 2:30am! Of course, I ended up being totally smashed and it made for a very funny night when we got back at 5:30am.
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Stupid Ring of Fire rule where you can’t show your teeth!

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Me looking far too happy with Paul. 
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Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Angkor Wat temples.

Despite original plans to see sunrise in at Angkor Wat, due to our drinking the night before we delayed this. Also, others has told us it was too misty in this season to see anything.

Around 10am, our tuk tuk driver (rented for $15 for the whole day), came to pick us up from our hostel and take us to Angkor Wat. Entrance to the temples cost $20 for a whole day pass. This seems ludicrously priced given that it's probably the most expensive thing we've brought since we've been here. However, since it's such an infamous historical site and tourist attraction, and that it costs so much to maintain, we obliged and entered.

The first site we were taken to was the main one, actually named Angkor Wat. The problem was, much like the other tourist attractions in Asia, it was so overrun with people that it lost some of its beauty. It was hard to imagine the civilisation that lived here with so much noise in the background and the sound of endless photographs being taken (though I shamefully contributed to such). At one point, my heroic moment of the day, was saving a ladies flip flop from a monkey who had cheekily stolen it from her handbag as it was in a plastic bag the monkey thought it was food! I had to chase after this monkey to get it back!






The cheeky monkey!
We ended up leaving around 2:30pm as we were templed out and the heat was really starting to get to us, we were tired and hungry! We gave the tuk tuk driver a tip and hopped on out for a great lunch at the hostel.

In the evening we went to the famous Siem Reap night market to pick up a few goodies. I ended up getting Matt a nice tie-set. Originally the lady had asked for $12, but I didn't even want it that much, as I continued to walk away she kept going lower and lower until she got to $3 and I couldn't resist. Even if it isn't that nice - for $3, who cares! I also bought myself a small elephant statue, an elephant bracelet I fell in love with, massage oil and a laptop case made from recycled materials.

We ended up stopping for a foot/ leg massage. It was $1 for it, and was honestly the best thing ever! I wish I could have them all day everyday. We left a hefty tip and got on our way back to the hostel where we anxiously stayed up for hours discussing the possible scenarios for our A-Level results tomorrow.

The amount of elephant trousers I now have though is ridiculous, they take up most of my backpack!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Butterfly Cafe in Siem Reap.

I’m very hungover in bed right now. Olivia had to move rooms and so this is the first time we have separated! It wasn’t that bad as we were both so tired we went to bed early. I took 2 valiums to aid sleep as I knew my roommates would all come in very drunk and wake me.
During the day all I did was chat to my new roommates, these two French guys and this French Canadian girl. I went to the butterfly cafe with the French Canadian girl. She was very very strange and deep/ philosophical. She accurately guessed my star sign though - that was weird.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Pub Street Siem Reap.

Today we got a 6 hour bus to Siem Reap. We left at 12:30pm, giving us enough time to sleep in and eat, then arrived at 7pm, the bus we got on was 100x nicer than we had ever expected. There was so much leg room, air con, wifi (though very slow), snacks and a bottle of water free etc. we eventually decided though we didn’t like these as much as our other buses because there was no where to put your legs up! Booo.
Anyway, when we got there got a quick tuk tuk to ‘Siem Reap downtown hostel’. Siem reap doesn’t really seem like a city either. It appears the only reason they got that title was because of having such an important historical landmark for Cambodia - Angkor Wat. At least it was cleaner than Phnom Penh.
After settling in, getting a few beers, we made friends with 3 Danish girls and decided to check out pub street. Exactly as it sounds… A famous street known for all it’s bars and clubs. We headed to ‘Angkor WHAT?’ first as we were told by everyone we had to go there. After losing everyone, downing too many beers and chatting with a load of British boys, I got a tuk tuk back to the hostel at 2am to find Olivia solidly passed out.
In my extremely drunken state I ended up skyping Matt with no recollection of the conversation and later finding out I said I could time travel, that I wanted to be a frog (then made him make frog noises for a while), and just generally embarrassed myself and made no sense. Whoever says people tell the truth when drunk are clearly bullshitting because I’m afraid I can’t actually time travel :(.

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Saturday, 10 August 2013

S-21 Prison.

Today we walked to the Genocide Museum which is also the S-21 Prison where people were held before being transferred to the Killing Fields.
We had a really pleasant walk there in the sunshine, a lot longer than we thought but that wasn’t a problem as we stopped for ice cream and photos along the way.
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Independence monument.
There wasn’t much to do at the prison, but it was really sad because everyone that was killed had their photos taken before they entered and they were all lined up inside. It was devastating knowing all these people had their lives taken from them and many would still be alive today otherwise. 
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We then got a cheap tuk tuk back to the hotel where we narrowly missed the storm and spent the rest of the evening in the internet cafe watching the skies open and pour their entire contents onto our street.

The Killing Fields.

Today once we were ready, we allowed the persistent tuk tuk driver to take us to the killing fields at midday. When we got there it was beautifully sunny, but before we knew it, it was chucking it down with rain - classic us. Worst luck! I ended up making a load of notes at the place, and it was just shocking. I can’t believe I had never heard of the whole affair beforehand. How was I so ignorant to this all when it is one of the most disgusting things I have ever heard about.
1 in 4 Cambodians were killed by their own people - imagine that situation in England… It was just so saddening. I’ll be writing a HUGE bit about it on my history and politics blog later. I’m going to ask Clark to go in and do a presentation on it for history society because I’m lame and I just really think people should know about the horrors that went on… Maybe I’m just stupid and the only person who hasn’t heard about it - idk.
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When we returned, it was the bumpiest ride ever. It was more bumpy than white water rafting! We were taken down a load of super run down backroads with so much litter and just… junk everywhere! They have the coolest traffic lights out here though - the green man is animated and he runs across the road. It’s so relevant because you have to run to escape traffic :L. The amount of odd smells you come across whilst in a tuk tuk is also very disturbing. People carry the weirdest thing on tuk tuks, whilst we’ve been here we’ve seen people carrying a pane of glass for a door whilst driving along… the base to a piano, a whole load of polystyrene, chickens… etc. You name it - they fit it on their bikes! I haven’t the foggiest how.
Anyway, off out for dinner and drinks now. Finally going to try out the night life! xxx
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**Update midnight**
Well… that was a fail. No wonder we haven’t really been out here before. There is no nightlife. If there is, we can’t find it! What a crap capital city. We went out for pizza on the waterfront then headed to dairy queen for the best oreo icecream and walked for ages to try finding a busy bar. My aim of the holiday has now become the ability to down a beer…. I hate beer in England but some of the stuff out here is actually bearable! So yeah, had a few beers and met some girls who said they’d take us to a good place but it turned out to be crap so we left pretty quickly and instead ventured home as nothing interesting came up on the way.
I’ve decided I’m really going to miss Olivia, we thought we’d be sick of one another by now, but we just get along so easily - mainly because we’re both so lazy. I mean, I’m really going to miss drinking with her, and all of our inside jokes that no one else will understand. (Preparing to move, NO Rules!!, Idk does it matter? Just drink!, A baguette now! Etc) who am I going to wildly dance to ‘lose my mind’ with or remicise about the crazy nights out we had or strange moments like her coming in and cuddling between Jonas and I or the french guy who when she asked ‘can I practice my french’ replied ‘no but you can practice sex!’ Hahaha. Charmersssss.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Quick getaway to leave our troubles behind in Sihanoukville.

Sihanoukville has been a total and utter disappointment.  We woke at midday and decided to book the closest bus to Phnom Penh after seeing the amount of rain that still plagued us. We’re bored because there's nothing to do during the day here but watch people chain smoke, read or sleep. This place is useless without sunshine. Classic beach area. The next bus was due to leave at 1:30pm so we raced to get ready, headed to Ernie's burger, got the usual jumbo hot dog and cheesy chips with a cookie for lunch and sat patiently waiting outside our hostel, Utopia. 
We were most likely scammed, but they told us we’d missed our bus and we had to get a tuk tuk to the bus station. It was suspicious because before we were told we had even missed it, the tuk tuk driver kept telling us he’d give us a lift to the station… he must have some deal with the hostel because when we got to the station, it still didn’t arrive till 2:30pm and it was empty, suggesting they don’t ever pick people up. Oh well, if that’s our only scam so far we’re doing well! The question you're asked out here by other tourists is always ‘have you been ripped off yet?’, as if its an unavoidable consequence of being a westerner in Asia. I think we’ve just got lucky so far, we’ve heard lots of stories of people having things stolen, tuk tuk drivers pulling out bats or guns etc. Just another day in Asia I suppose.
We’re due to arrive at 6pm, but god knows how accurate that’ll be. Nothing ever runs on time here.
**Update**
For once we were on time! Got a tuk tuk but all the recommended hostels were entirely full so we ended up in a random hotel in a random location. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but every room after last night is an improvement. We’ve sunken to the lowest we can go, I’m sure of it! This room has no windows though and it is dark, stuffy and has a foul stench. At least it's not too dirty.
This evening after grabbing some food, we dozed around and watched TV. It’s only 75 cents for a double vodka and redbull though so I may have to try that out tomorrow night! We walked down to the supermarket and got a tub of ice cream and a pack of cookies, and made our own cookie ice cream infront of the TV. What an eventful night hey!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Serendipity beach - I wish!

There isn't much to report today, as usual it's chucking it down and we're not able to do anything on a beach in this weather! We therefore checked out of ‘wish you were here’ in search of a more lively atmosphere downtown. We were loosely recommended Utopia by the stoned owner, however he told us in reality, we shouldn’t bother heading out of Otres beach to Serendipity beach… I see why now.
We got a tuk tuk to Utopia and dorm rooms were 60p a night, or for a VIP dorm room that included thicker mattresses and air conditioning, you could pay £1.20. The mattresses are more like those gym mats you roll around on in primary school. You can imagine what this place is like at such a cheap price. The reception is littered with signs that say ‘no complaints’ or ‘stop whining’. We decided we wanted a private bathroom so were willing to pay slightly more in the end. We paid £2.40 each and checked in to what I can only describe as the most vile place I’ve ever stayed in my life. Times like this I’m grateful I bought a sleeping bag liner because the sheets were disgusting, littered with more cigarette burns than I could count. All the switches on the wall were falling off with wires exposed and mould grew in the corners of the ceiling. Yuck. Life of a budget backpacker hey!
We decided not to linger long in the room and went in search of food. Luckily just across from our hostel was ‘Ernies burgers’, with the friendliest Canadian guy I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. He gave us free cookies because he felt the cheesy chips didn’t come out as he wanted. We went back there for dinner too. We then found a supermarket, bought some vodka, mixer and hair dye and spent the day dying my hair. I then finished the book I was reading and Olivia and I had great fun being total losers playing drinking games by ourselves. It was really strong vodka for £2.60 and we ended up feeling rather tipsy after a simple game of higher and lower and 2 drinks.
We went to join the party scene but it was pretty uneventful. We heard a horrible tale of how a guy a few years a go at this hostel jumped into the pool whilst it was under construction without water and died from brain damage. We stayed out for 2 hours before getting so bored and returning to our rooms in an adequately hazy slumber.
Ernie’s.

'Wish you were here'.

We boarded a bus at midnight and it was supposed to arrive at midday, however we didn’t get here till 6:30pm. By here, I mean Sihanoukville, Cambodia. The bus journey was actually the best I’ve been on so far, at least up to Phnom Penh anyway. It was a different type of sleeper bus, chairs were tilted up more which was annoying but two were next to each other so Olivia and I could just spoon to save space or sprawl out more. As soon as we boarded I took two valiums and slept up till midday other than the quick jump off for passport control that was a lot smoother than Vietnam! But yeah, had to change to a shitty sitting bus when in Phnom Penh so I just read my book and took a nap for the rest of the way. I’m reading ‘lost girls’ by Andrew Pyper, its ok, but I’ve already almost read it which is a shame.
Arriving here was the weirdest thing ever. I won’t lie, from first impressions, I hate Cambodia. However, that’s a very quick judgement bearing in mind I’ve been here a few hours. Food is really expensive, there is nothing remotely near where we’re staying and its chucking it down with rain.
The hotel bar we're sat in, 'Wish you were here', is pitch black playing reggae music with a thick layer of smoke laying heavy in the air clouding my lungs. You just fall back into giant soft chairs that eat you. A drowsy feeling sweeps over you but I know that when I return to the light I’ll be unable to sleep. The atmosphere of the place is very trippy, joints are sold for $3 down the road, but because of the rain, and the owners unwillingness to be seen as a drug dealer, he is giving joints away for free… Which would be great if I didn’t make me want to fall asleep even more!
The huts are really similar to the ones at Spicy Pai, in that they’re kind of open, so as a result of the rain, the frogs are going crazy. It’s beyond annoying. Oh well, off to bed now I guess!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Chu Chi Tunnels.

Today we rolled around till midday and went to subway for lunch after bumping into welsh number 2 again (6th time?). Crazy how that works, but yeah, then headed back to the hotel for 1:30pm where we got an hour and a half bus to the Chu Chi tunnels with a tour group. We met two nice american guys on the bus, one of whom's father actually fought in the war which was pretty cool.
The place itself was one of the most haunting and disturbing places I’ve ever been to. I felt sick and close to tears at many points, in particular the booby traps the vietcong used on the americans, responsible for a large percentage of their deaths. They were just… so creative. They reminded me of traps in the film saw, but I had to keep reminding myself it wasn’t a movie, it is real life. They are so well hidden… some drop you into a hole and pierce the sides of your head as you slowly bleed to death… some of the traps killed instantly, some took minutes, some hours. The worst ones that took hours meant they were able to call for help… a friend would come running only to fall into a trap right next to them and die with you, knowing you were responsible.
I discovered today that I don’t do well in small spaces… I almost had a panic attack crawling through one of the tunnels, it was so hot, I didn’t know how far the next exit was and I just hated every second of it. How 20,000 people used to live in those underground networks amazes me… I seriously wanted to cry I couldn’t cope. I didn’t go in the first smaller tunnel, the entrance was about the size of a shoebox, no wonder the americans took years to work it out!
My ‘get me out of here, I’m going to die’ panic face.
We got back at 7:30pm. After I had my pizza hut and Olivia had her thai food, we got manicures as we had 4 hours to kill before our midnight bus came. It was a weird experience because it was so awkward, they didn’t speak to us or one another other so we just sat their in silence whilst they took almost 2 hours to do our fingernails! There was some serious work put into it.
We then went for a stroll and ended up bumping into the two americans from the chu chi tunnels we’d spent our day with. One of our new favorite things now is clearly just meeting just two older guys and spending the evening with them chilling out. They’d bought a keg looking thing, and so invited us to the table for some drinks. We spent the remainder of the evening just chatting, one has just graduated a 7 year law degree, so we spoke about that. It made me laugh, he was from California and had a fake ‘weed licence’, I mean, fuck off is that legit! Turns out it is… He can just walk into the weed stores and buy it!
This evening the police caused a lot of trouble on the streets trying to take away bar stools from those sitting drinking on the street. It started a dramatic fight but was soon over. The guys ordered a shisha pipe but we had to leave for our bus before it arrived. Turns out welsh number 1 and 2 were on our bus again! WEIRD.
Upset because I had almost finished it.
Beer we got on the streets.

Monday, 5 August 2013

The horrors of warfare.

I am literally in the worst mood ever due to quite possibly the worst hostel ever. I say I fell in love with HCMC, that is the city, not our hostel. NEVER EVER stay with Hanoi Backpackers 2/ Lofi Inn. Awful experience, avoid at all costs.
We didn’t receive our bed sheets till gone midnight and then we had four Spanish people knocking on our door trying to come check in at 3am, before deciding they hated the place and leaving - disturbing our sleep. At 8am we had air conditioning repair men come in meaning we couldn’t get changed in our room. We were the only ones in a 10 bed dorm, defeating the point of a hostel as we wanted to meet others to party with. The bathroom was also disgusting and we were all together fed up and attempted to refuse to pay for the room in a furious rage. In the end, we reluctantly paid and sulked out, promising to write a bad review on every website possible.
During the night one of the girls at the hostel had her bag stolen from her - HCMC city is the worst for crime. If you have a bag on your shoulder, a bike will come past and just grab it off you and speed into the distance - nothing you can do. We felt so sorry for her as it had the keys to her larger bag, her camera and her money in - thankfully in Vietnam you have to give your passport in when you check in. It was also her birthday the next day! Worst luck ever. The taxis are also often rigged meaning that we were really cautious of getting one.
We ended moving to a really nice private room for the same price on party road with a balcony overlooking the hectic chaos that is Saigon. We rolled around, watched TV and then decided to go on a trek to the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants museum (i.e. American War Crimes museum). Along the way we came across the market from last night - turned out we were in the wrong place and it was a day time market, not an evening one! It was filled with every fake good you could ever want and people everywhere shouting ‘Lady, Lady, what you want?’, it gets very annoying very quickly!
There wasn’t much to see at the palace so we walked to the Notre Dam Cathedral. We were very tired by this point as it was a bloody long way and we took a long route round but we struggled on towards the museum. The museum was just shocking, I found myself welling up on every floor. The crimes the Americans committed were just appalling and although the museum was very biased, (in fact, it even wrote clearly that the ‘gulf of tonkin’ used to justify the war, was a myth made up by the US government’), it didn’t detract from the sadness. 2 million civilians died and very graphic pictures of this was shown. ‘Only’ 1 million soldiers died.
There was also a section on the effects of agent orange - again, mortifying. It was horrific seeing all these deformed children and those screaming for help after an attack had occurred. The facts and figures were beyond disturbing. Words can’t express how horrid it all was. I wish everyone could visit it to see the real horrors of war :(.
Reunification Palace (where the Vietnam war ended)
Me and my best friend Ho Chi Minh.
Notre Dam Cathedral.
'May Peace Prevail on Earth' from the War Remnants Museum
We ended up getting a taxi back to the hotel and watched ‘The smurf’s’ film, when we got dinner we ended up bumping into Dan Lak! From Koh Tao, 6 weeks a go now. How crazy is that, just on the middle of the streets. We agreed to meet up with him later in the evening and just our luck - we strolled across him again in a bar so sat down with his friends. The guys just shotgunned a lot of beers, the rate at which they could down them was seriously impressive. I met a lot of lovely people and got merry. One started rolling a joint in the middle of street and just lit up passed it round. Nobody battered an eyelid despite the smell. It’s as if drugs aren’t illegal here (which they are - just to clarify) haha. 
View from our hotel balcony. 
Eventually I crawled back to bed and watched films till 4am, one of the 9/11 attack which was really sad! Then fell asleep…

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Welcome to Saigon.

We woke at 6am in order to get to the bus meeting point for 7am, but the staff were so unorganised and useless I don’t think we left till 8:30am. At one point they just dropped us in the middle of a random street after taking our ticket away! Eventually, 5 minutes late a bus pulled up to get us, let us on without a ticket. Some customers were going mental over this.
I ended up sleeping solidly till midday which killed a lot of time, then dozed in and out of sleep and did some reading. We eventually arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon to locals), at 7:30pm, very stressed out and in the pouring rain so entered the familiar food chain, subway, in order to get wifi before we set off on an adventure to find the hostel we had booked.
When we got to our hostel, (Saigon backpackers), they told us they were full at this venue but were taking us to ‘saigon backpackers 2’, shifty. We ended up at this place just round the corner called the ‘Lofi inn’, nothing like the pictures. But tired and stressed out, we said ok and went to our room in which the maid was lying on the bed playing on her phone. Ok… So we settled down and decided to walk to the market in the city, it was a relatively long walk and was a huge let down, I did buy a ring and a necklace though and discovered a pizza hut and burger king on the way. We got an ice cream from BK on the way home and realised how hectic HCMC could be.
At one point, on the party street road… I was about 2cm away from having my toes ridden over. It’s an exhilarating and scary experience crossing the road, it actually feels like an achievement when you’re still alive at the end of it! The amount of people trying to fit down one tiny road with so many stools on the street astounded me. It’s a really busy place, it reminded me of Hanoi and so I fell in love with it…

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Stung by a jellyfish!

This morning we got picked up at 9am for our trip snorkelling, the boat was very full, mainly with Chinese families but there were a few people our age hidden at the back who were French and didn’t really chat to us a lot. The first ‘island’ we arrived at was just a load of decking floating in the water, we grabbed our scuba gear and after a lot of confusion and a very unorganised mess, we headed to the water where everyone else was. I put my foot in the water two seconds to test the heat and a jelly fish wrapped itself around my foot! It stung like a bitch and tears came flooding to my eyes as I tried to comprehend what had just happened. It whipped up one foot and wrapped itself round the other. 
Afterwards this meant that I was too scared to go back into the water in fear of it happening again! Not a fun moment. So instead, we grabbed deck chairs and just sunbathed waiting to move on to the next island.
At the next ‘island’ there was a load of people fishing and that was about it, we got off to get a drink and went back to the boat for lunch… All of which I hated naturally. Soon after, the boat ‘entertainment’ began, and it was another surreal moment in the life of a backpacker. A Vietnamese man came running out dressed in a skirt and a coconut for a bra making rude gestures. Olivia joked that we should  get up on stage and be the Beatles…
She spoke too soon. In a matter of minutes they had us along with two other British guys Simon and Paul who we had been talking to for a while. We all danced crazily to yellow submarine and pretended as if we knew the words. Songs were played from different nations and those nationalities hauled up on stage to dance too. It was hilarious and we fell in love with Simon and Paul.
The floating bar then came out… so you just jumped from the top of the boat and then they gave you a floater and a drink that tasted disgusting… but you could order more in the middle of the sea haha. It was good fun. Turns out Simon is a 27 year old teacher who teaches RS to people our age. At times it made it kind of awkward knowing we were the same age as his students, but it made me realise that not all teachers are losers. I can imagine Hurley similarly doing such an activity haha. The water in this area felt funny too, it was like you had pins and needles all over your body, there were little things stinging you everywhere, may have been microscopic jellyfish. It was very uncomfortable.
We then arrived at the final island we had the chance to go into the aquarium, but it was expensive and looked pretty pathetic so we passed up the opportunity and got chips instead! When we got back to the hotel, I dragged Olivia to the ice cream shop from yesterday and oh my god. I’ve never felt so bloated in my whole life. I really shouldn’t ever eat that much. We decided to walk it off for a bit, but then we saw Simon and Paul in the distance so creepily stalked them to catch up and ended up showing them ‘Good morning Vietnam’ pizza place where we forced ourselves to share a pizza. I actually thought I was going to explode.
Afterwards we headed out to a bar with them that seemed to just be playing my itunes. It was fab. Simon, Paul and I were bonding over old school pop/rock type bands like P!atd, or Hadouken! or System of a Down etc. It made it so perfect that I didn’t want to leave. However, due to the early rise bus (6am), we left around 11pm, came back watched a film and slept.
On a side note, it's very common for Russians to visit Nha Trang and so all of the shops have their titles also written in Russian - it seemed very strange to do so.
Jellyfish stings. Pictures don’t show how bad it was!
Simon and Olivia.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Movie day in Nha Trang.

Some of these buses drive me crazy, they’re never on time when you need them to be, and they arrived two hours early in Nha Trang opposed to the two hours late we expected so we rocked up 4:30am, it was awful. We ended up having to hop onto the back of two dodgy looking motorbikes who wouldn’t let go off Olivia's bag, and went to check into the ruby hotel we’d booked for tonight.
Of course we weren't able to check as it was only 5am, however, with a little sigh of relief, found check-in was 10am, not midday like most hotels. Instead of having us lounge in the lobby, the guy was lovely and gave us keys to the bedroom for the staff on the top floor with no-one there obviously, so we went up there and slept a little longer. I felt slightly uncomfortable with it so couldn’t sleep as well. Eventually at 10am, we were allowed to check-in. I'm currently watching a really good film, I don’t know what its called but its fab.
**update**
Today I also watched War horse, went to the beach decided I was too sun burnt from Hoi An so headed back swiftly and allowed Olivia to continue working on her tan. On the way back to our hotel I found an amazing ice cream shop where I got a waffle, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Despite my hunger, I was quickly defeated, it was wonderful though! I came back, slept then we ventured out to ‘good morning vietnam’ pizza restaurant. The pizza was so amazing! Afterwards we watched ‘skyfall’ and slept. Very uneventful relaxing day.
Off snorkelling tomorrow, £6 for the day, lunch included and transport.
image
Pouting as hard as ever. I haven’t pouted in a while, I’m sorry. I actually really miss my make-up case back home. I’m craving another shade of lipstick. I definitley need to buy some new lipstick when I get home, I’m running low!
And dude… I’m tanned, woohoooooo. Browner IRL.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Never under-estimate the power of the Vietnamese sun.

It’s a very very very depressing thought that I only have 3 weeks left of travelling before I fly home.  No. I don’t want to come home! I wish I could go home for like… 4 days, then fly straight back out and spend another 3 months here. It’d be perfecttttt. If only. One day hey! I will return here. I will do it!
Last night I began dreaming about this bikini I saw in a tailor shop yesterday and woke up seriously wishing I hadn’t left it so late thinking they’d need 24 hours when we leave today. But, we got ready super quick and got a taxi there, and they could do it! Woohooooo. It is only costing me £11 for the set.
I haven’t gone to pick it up yet, but even the model one fit so snug, they’re making a new one with all my measurements and adding slightly more padding hehe. I now regret not bothering to get out of bed and get more made because my bikini top alone at home cost £20. Cheap cheap! (as they love to say out here).
We then headed to the beach, got sun lounges and just chilled. The weather was great because it wasn’t REALLY sunny, slightly overcast but the weather you’d burn very quickly in. Instead, we spent a perfect amount of time in it, and managed to get very tanned again! We’re now very happy girls. The lack of tan and sunshine that has plagued us through Laos and northern Vietnam is now disappearing. I can only hope Nha Trang has the same to offer.
We lounged around in the hotel lobby for ages today (which is why I was able to catch up on my blog), because our bus arrives at 6pm and gets us to our next destination at 6am, but we didn’t want to lounge at the beach all day, and I need to collect my bikini at 5pm anyway. Not looking forward to this bus journey, but I’m so tired that I hope to sleep the entire time.
**Update midnight**
So, I went and picked up my bikini and I’m kind of upset because I preferred the model one I tried on! Bottoms fit better though. No extra padding in the top though, booo. Problem was, our bus left in 30 minutes and I still had to hail a taxi home, so no time for alterations :(. That said, its nothing my mum wouldn’t be able to easily sort out :).
By the time I got a taxi back, we went straight to pick up point where they made us wait for an hour after trekking to the bus station. Southeast Asia never runs on time. I’m just glad its a sleeper bus, despite being stuck in the worst seat next to a couple in a triple row. I was so tired and burnt when the bus came I was almost crying that’s how much I wanted to sleep, so, for once in my life, despite crap conditions and the loudest horn ever, I fell asleep for six hours! (I did wake up a few times though). I’m still sleepy now but I’m going to take a valium to ensure I sleep the rest of the journey, I can’t deal with his horn.
I didn’t realise how burnt I was.
We’re in lots of pain, very burnt, waiting for the bus.
My Bikini I had tailor-made for £11!