Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Knees up mother brown

Yeah, I got bored of company and had to tie them to a railway track. I probably would get away with it too if I hadn't put it on the blog

Fishing boat off the coast of Nha Trang

Alcohol and water? Perfect combination, hand out free shots of a something that tastes like crap to everyone!

So me and Tom rented a swan canoe and took a trip on a lake together, what's not manly about that? Ok, quite a lot but it had to be done

Elephant Falls, Dalat. So named because all the mossy rocks at the bottom resemble elephants

This guy was one of the most absorbing people I've met and I could only understand about half of what he said.

The old Kho man from a Lat Village plays the Kambuot

Ok, so the blog has a different look to it this time because that is what this computer has decided. After a bit of fiddling around and swearing I have decided that the computer can have it's evil way. Until next time...

Anyway, since the last blog we've been blazing a trail up the east coast of Vietnam. By blazing a trail I mean taking our time to stop and visit all the best places of course. Since I can't check my last blog for some reason (aren't computers great and never at all frustrating?) I can't remember if I told you about our trip up the Mekong Delta. Some vague light of recognition in my cobweb addled mind says I did so I'll skip to Mui Ne. Actually, I've just remembered I mentioned that already too, so on to Dalat. (Something says I should never have a career in a position of life or death importance. Like Homer Simpson running a nuclear power station).

So, Dalat, yes. Dalat was the first time I've had to wear a second layer of clothing in a long time. It was up at fairly high altitude so it's possibly the coolest place, temperature wise, in Vietnam. Which isn't to say it's cold because this is Vietnam, not the UK, but all the locals were wrapping up warm in scarves and thick coats when it was still around the 20 oC mark. While there we went on a tour with an Easy Rider, one of a group of guys who owns a motorbike and drives about the town looking for people such as ourselves to offer a less touristy kind of tour to. Normally I don't accept offers from suspicious looking bikers, this is Tom's pass-time but the tour turned out to be amazing, especially the Lat village that we went to. I could have listened the old guy there (pictured above) all day, he had endless stories about being a doctor during the Vietnam war and all the local customs and traditions. The village that he was a part of are a catholic minority within Vietnam, a predominantly Buddhist country, I think influenced by the French. And, this is the best part, when he got married he cost his wife's family 5 buffalo! Seeing as we don't have many buffalo in England I may put my price at about 7 horses or 16 badgers.

More bizarre was a place we stopped called Crazy House, an ongoing project to build a hotel that looks like a warped nursery rhyme. The owner and creator is the daughter of the man who was Vice President when Uncle Ho Chi was in charge back in the 1960's. We were told she went to study architecture in Moscow and then began this hotel in 1990. She may well have studied architecture in Moscow but I imagine she also indulged in a side helping of Hans Christien- Anderson and more than a few hallucinogenic substances. We saw her wandering around at one point and if Little Red Riding Hood was 50 and wearing a lot of make-up then this is where she lives.

Now we're in Hoi An, after a slog of an overnight coach journey. We came from Nha Trang, nice enough place but nowt to do other than the beach and a boat trip which was as much a booze cruise as anything. Ask the Australian guy that was carried off the boat with his shorts round his ankles at the end of the day.

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