When I read this story back I laughed. All memories came back so vivid like it was yesterday. 2 things you need to keep in mind before you arrive there: 1, have some Vietnamese dong on you 2, check the map properly 😁 But re,embedding now, Vietnam has so much to offer and we yet to find out…
*Today we travelled a lot. We got on the bus at 8.30am which took us to Vietnam. I got my visa sorted in Phnom Penh. Basically I gave my passport and 45USD for the hostel guy who took care of it. I got it back yesterday. At the border we had to wait till we all got our passports back and they also checked our bags. The whole thing literally took about 15-20mins. Maybe because we came by bus and the driver took all our passports so they checked them in one which got us through quicker.
We got to Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City at about 4.30pm. As we got off the bus, 2 people jumped on us if we need taxi. I still can’t get used to people getting in my personal space very aggressively, so I said no thank you. They kept asking where we are going and I said, we have a place thank you and told Rich to walk away. I took the iPad and tried to get some free wifi. After a good 5 mins still nothing. Went to a coffee shop and asked them if they know where that place is. As they had no clue, I used their wifi and we had a plan. According the map it took us about 1.5 hours to walk and we decided to walk it. Mainly cos apart from USD which funnily enough these people don’t take, we didn’t have anything else to pay with for a taxi. There are no tuk tuk’s here which is a big surprise and as we later found out, taxi isn’t that easy to get either.
We started to walk. It was another yummy 1.5 hour walk with my definitely more than 10kg backpack. It was hot and sticky as usual and as I crossed a street I basically got hit by a motorcycle. Before you get worried, I walked into him as I was looking to the completely opposite side cos it was a bloody ONE WAY ROAD! But he decided to ride on the opposite where I dint look -why would I- and I walked into him. My toe nail broke and he hit my knee but nothing more serious. He apologised. Did I say that I’ve never seen as many motorbikes in Cambodia? Well,triple it and that’s what you have here. It’s madness. Motorbikes definitely overpower the cars here. By like a 100. Even their own people are scared to cross roads… as I walked longer I slipped on a wet patch with my flip flop, fell on the knee I already got hit on and I felt nothing can be worse. Well……after a good 2 hours walk and arriving into a very strange place where there are only alley ways and in those alley ways there are only people’s flats, we decided to take a break and check the map. We were on the wrong side of the city…like an hour and 20 minutes wrong side…. we didn’t swear or we weren’t angry. I laughed. I was physically and mentally so tired I couldn’t do anything else. We decided to take a taxi. And guess what? Here you more like CALL a taxi rather than just take one from the street. I was ready to go into a clothes shop to ask them to call me one when Rich just got one outside. I showed him the address and off we went. We didn’t know how we are going to pay as we only had dollars. I was still amazed how could we go to the complete opposite way. Even the fact that we didn’t see not even 1 westerner didn’t make me think.. I thought it’s just cos I booked an outskirt hostel cos we had enough of big city centres. Well, that wasn’t the case..
After a good half an hour we arrived to the hostel. The guy did take dollars but couldn’t give back so we payed 10USD for the 7dollar price.
The hostel is ok, the receptionist doesn’t speak too good English but she tried. Turned out we can not pay with USD so we have to pay tomorrow. Feeling extremely hungry and I was desperate for water we went out decided that if we can’t use our dollars, we will take some out. Except that there was no ATM or there were 2 but one of them didn’t take visa, the other was locked up in a small box… great. We went into a shop and a very modern looking coffee shop but nothing, we couldn’t use our card. On the way back to the hostel, tired and thirsty and hungry and just annoyed, I stopped next to a restaurant looking place and asked a guy outside if they take card. His English wasn’t too good either but he also tried. We got to the answer and they did take card. And that’s when the magic happened. He ask what we want, I said water and a beer. But he didn’t get it so I went to the fridge and took them out. He then put into google translator on his phone -they are in the 21st century as well- what we want to eat. I put in ‘what do you have’? He asked, chicken? And put into translator BBQ chicken. We were impressed and said oh yeah. He then came out with one whole chicken -raw- and asked us if it’s ok. We didn’t want to play about so agreed to make a whole chicken. He literally got his whole family cooking, we got salad and chips first and then we got our BBQ chicken which was more like a roast chicken, they even cut it up for us. He was brilliant!!! The place called Gòc Pho. I love the guy and his family for what they did. It was like the best meal ever. Now we are dead in our room, not doing much. Just being happy that we met the guy and his family.
Even it started a bit bumpy, on the way to the wrong address, people smiled at us, older ones and youngsters as well. People said hi -especially kids- or just nodded kindly. They are very patient as they drive or doing business.. not even a loud word. I’m amazed by these people, their kind gestures and just how they are. Vietnam should be a good place for us -even though Rich hates Ho Chi Minh right now-. But make sure,whenever you enter a new country, have a bit of their cash with you. That was a lesson to learn today.
But let me tell you a little story before I leave you. Why do we have shed loads of USD? Well… Rich went to take some dollars out just in case. I don’t know what he did but he came back with over 400USD….according to him,he didn’t even put the desired amount in yet when it started to give the money out. And no, it wasn’t free money,it took about £300 from his account. So yes…we have lots of USD accept we can’t do much with it here. If we can exchange it, we wouldn’t need to take any more money during the entire Vietnam trip. The money here is the Vietnamese Dong. 1£= 27,390VND And it’s cheap here. We had that full chicken, a big portion of salad and chips, 2 water and a beer for about £10. Tomorrow is a new day, hopefully a slightly better one ☺️*