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You are planning a trip to Vietnam and are having difficulties deciding where to go and what to do, what you cannot miss and what to skip. From the feedbacks of our customers, Cheap Vietnam Holidays would like to recommend some activities considered by travellers as must-do's when you are in Vietnam....

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Its all about the Benjamins

 

Oh the fun i've had in Vietnam so far! My saawnthaew to get to the Vietnamese border got two flat tyres and took 6 hours to do a three hour journey, so that i arrived at immigration just in time for the Vietnamese lunch break, que one and a half hours sitting reading at the border. Not the best start. But at least i got into Vietnam ok. 

What i hadn't counted on however, is the lack of civilisation on the other side. It seems not many people use this border crossing, and now i know why. Walking down the street from the border, its obvious i am literally a walking dollar sign to these people, and the attempts to take as much money from me begin straight away ( i had been warned in advance about this in Vietnam) with everyone in the street offering a motorcycle taxi to the nearest town. 

I had been told that the bus wouldn't come today, but that there was one 
tomorrow, so i checked into a hotel here and killed time for the day. During my time killing i wandered around, got invited into a chinese looking house for a 'toke' on his water pipe (absolutely every male smokes these pipes here, even the teens) and had some tea. Pretty uneventful day here.

Woke up in the morning to find out that, guess what?... thats right, 
there's no bus today either, but the guesthouse guy has convieniently 'arranged' a car to drive me hanoi for $20. Not believing this was a good price from here to
Hanoi, i declined, and in trying to negociate he was having none of it, and his car left. Then it dawned on me,' im in the middle of nowhere, there basically is no public transport, and what transport there is is owned by these scumbags. Basically i have no bargaining power and im fucked. Didnt want to wait another day here so i agreed to a $10 (far too much already) motorcycle taxi to the next big town, where i should be able to get to Hanoi from here for about $6 max. 

So i arrive in the next town, and the screwing continues. Guess what, there are buses in this town:- all owned by one fucking family! 'Oh no, Hanoi very very far, twenty dolla' TEWNTY FUCKING DOLLAR, I JUST PAID 10 TO GET FUCKING HERE, I COULD GET FORM HANOI TO SAIGON FOR CHEAPER!' They also offered me$10 to Thanh Hoa, from where i could get a bus to Hanoi, but by this time i figured that they'd just screw me there too, so i opted for the Hanoi option (turns out they actually only drove me to fucking Thanh Hoa anyway, then paid $3 for a bus from there to Hanoi and stuck me on it, pocketing the rest. Bastards. You never know when to do it yourself and when to trust someone, and obviously my luck means i pick the wrong times to do both, and always get screwed. Oh well, i believe in Karma now, so they'll get theirs!). Not feeling too great about Vietnsam to say the least at this point. 

However i did get something out of all this, as the daughter of the family 
spoke some english and said that her school was having the equivalent of their post a level leaving party, and that she would like it very much if i would come along tonight, then i could stay at hers and get a bus with her bastard of a father/bus driver tomorrow. Being the stig i am i thought this sounded pretty cool, and also that as I was paying $20 to get to Hanoi, i might as well get something back (told you im a stig!). The party was very surreal, loads of giddy Vietnamese schoolgirls using what little english they had learnt to tell me that they loved me (apparently the blue eye/blond hair combo works wonders here in asia), loads of giddy schoolboys asking me the most basic of questions and laughing hysterically at my answers, and loads of drunken teachers trying to get me plastered (and one trying to come onto me, a male teacher that is). Was pretty good fun. One downside was that i ate tons of this white food after being told it was tofu, only to find out it was made from pork fat, sorry not made from pork fat, but basically was pork fat. Nice! Didn't feel too great about all that. 

Returning to the families house, i arrived at the end of the family meal, 
and got a further insight into Vietnamese culture. Family is very important here, especially at mealtimes, when people from all over town seemed to be turning up to eat and drink. They all seem to really take great pleasure in mealtimes, and much rice wine and beer is compulsory for any male present, despite their protesting against it. In traditional Asian style of the host offering more than the guests want, one guy was getting pretty drunk so the families' father proceeded to feed him more drink than he could possibly handle, until he was barely able to do anything except hug me, which he then proceeded to do for the rest of the night. Why this keeps happening to me i'll never know. 

An aspect of Vietnamese culture i was fascinated by was the seeming lack of respect for women:- when the meal was finished all the men left the room in the state that it was (their meals are basically huge banquets, and its quite acceptable to make a hell of a lot of mess) and proceeded to a friends house to drink beer and smoke, only returning after giving the wife sufficient time to clean up all the mess on her own. It was as if they were saying, 'well if i don't see her having to do all this work on her own, then its not happening.' Nice!

The family asked me where i was going after Hanoi, and it turned out that Vanang (the daughter of the family) was also going to be in
Dalat around the same time i was. The father then began to insist that i phone her to meet her, and tried desperately (and in vain) to programme her number into my phone. Then the terrifying thing happened. They asked if Vanang coud join me in Hanoi, then Halong bay, Sapa, etc all over Vietnam, Cambodia and the rest of my travels, then 'accompany me back to england!" AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! 

This was folowed by several minutes of awkward silence with them staring intently at me, whilst i pretended that i didn't understand and occasionally broke the silence to mutter something in a quivering voice. Eventually i got the courage to say i didn't think this was a good idea, at which point they all burst out laughing like it had all been a joke, however they weren't laughing hard enough to convince me it was a joke and i then went to bed for the night, absolutely terrified. The next morning i left for Hanoi

 

 

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