Friday, December 19, 2008

Vietnam (part2): (Final curtain) Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence.. Merry X-mas friends!

Friends! This is it I guess, the blog has almost come to an end. Most of you are already out of the office heading back to Greece (for those away from home), the rest of you planning already the first few days of your holiday.
Same for me, it’s my last day in Saigon. Tomorrow I am in Hong Kong and the day after taking a flight to Johannesburg, to meet up with my family…
The trip of a lifetime is almost over. I don’t have the time or the energy or even the mental courage to think about this now – it will be too depressing and I still have a beautiful, sweet part, left out for the end. So I won’t say goodbye here, I just want to say thank you for keeping me company as much as you’ve said I’ve kept you. Four different people from three different countries sent me a mail the past 2 days telling me that this blog is also for me, like a diary. I realize it is and I will use it as such, amazing myself when I think “did I do all this in 3 months?”.

I leave you here with a lot of Vietnam photos that I’ve taken the past few days. Ready for the final voyage? Let’s go!

The Mekong Delta

An amazing 2-day trip to one of the biggest rivers in the world, this is the rice basket of Vietnam where the majority of it's food is produced, enough to feed 85 million people and still be the 2nd largest exporter of rice in the world. My trip took me through canals, floating markets, villages and schools, it even included a "homestay" where you get a chance to live for a night in (pretty good accommodation) with a Vietnamese family...

Crossing the Mekong to get to one of the towns...

Sunset over the Mekong River

Homestay, cooking with the family

The foreigners eating... :-)

My humble accommodation. Mosquito net a MUST!, right outside the door is the river. Blue/white curtain on the left is the shower (no toilet). Cold water only of course.

View from the window

Wake up call the next day (for those that wanted) 06:00 am, our guide took us walking to one of the villages

Ferry to cross to get to the village

Boat culture, the only way to move

Note that we are not standing (not easy to balance, now scroll up and see the Vietnamese :-) )

Welcome to Thuong Thanh Elementary school, where girls sweep the floor before the class starts and the boys help them out moving the desks around....

Our accommodation from the river side...

Toilet - no kidding, on the other side of the river

The floating market - everything can be bought as long as it is on a boat.

Kostas, Martin and Mr Hu our boat driver and guide

Early at the floating market...

The cutest saleslady in the floating market was this girl helping her dad sell soft drinks and water...!

Note the mast: Every salesman puts up on the mast the type of fruit he sells, this way you know what you are going to buy! Here watermelons

Loading a smaller boat

Now you don't need to know Vietnamese here. Our guide said: "He is supermarket. Sells eveything (note the 3rd word). Even SIM cards!"

Loading products to smaller boats

Boat traffic...!

Happy traveler

Lunch time for a little guy at one of the villages

One of the local girls... I love the dress (and her shape...) :-)

Of course it's a farm as well, they have pigs!

Even little ones!

Even bricks for houses are transported like this

Meet Jan and Lea, my 2 new friends, they live in Stockholm with their Swedish mom and Swiss (from Lausanne!) dad - I spoke in French :-)

Playing stone, pencil, paper, scissors with Jan. I could even say it in Swedish if you asked me 2 days ago!

Multiple hats, that's me, with Lea

Banana, on blue table (art)

Best coconut I've ever had! (also 25 cents!)

Kostas climbing a monkey bridge across the river

Even kids can do it (if their parents let them!) Here with our Vietnamesee guide

River is full of life, sometimes it ends up on your propeller

Fishnets. "For flying fish?", I asked

One of the few "real" bridges around

Jan checking out the other group


You know the feeling, when you've travelled for 3 months and slept in shitty 8-bed hostels with drunk kids, except for a few days where your friends around the world kindly hosted you? Do you ever get that feeling of being fed up and when you see that you've reached the end of your trp and still have your budget under cotnrol, you say "I want something different!".
Never happened to you?
Well, this is my reaction to this. I booked this lovely place, for 2 nights, a veritable paradise on earth - I would take my girlfriend there (if she was around, if she existed!)

The restaurant: please note the X-mas tree!

My bungallow, 10 meters from the sea - I let the windows open at night, you just heard the waves...

View from my porch

Blogging, tropical style :-)

Oh my God, is that the bathroom? My own bathroom, with my own shower?! (I want to cry!)

Room...and backpack in the corner

Fishermen pulling out a fishnet at sundown

U2 - Gone... (bye everybody)

You wanted to get somewhere so badly
You had to lose yourself along the way
You change your name, well that's okay, it's necessary
And what you leave behind you don't miss anyway
You can keep this suit of lights
I'll be up with the sun
I'm not coming down
I'm not coming down
I'm not coming down
'Cause I'm already gone
Felt that way all along...