Alla inlägg under juni 2017

Av Magnus Ekstrand - 19 juni 2017 11:16

We had breakfast with Bi and Tau. Went to the easytiger hostel to try and find Edward and Chloe that we previously had agreed to meet. We had however just said 8-9 am and no specific localtion. Needless to say we didn't have an easy time finding them. This ment we headed for the Phong Nam caves by ourselves. This was also a problem as you have to rent a boat to get there. The price is set for each boat, the main idea is that you should arrange to share it with as many as you can. Me and Martin had little succes doing that since almost everyone at the ticket office was Vietnamese. That is until Bi drove by. I guess he saved us some money by arranging for us to go with a younger couple and a pair of friends. When Bi spoke to the boatguide however it seemed that the tour would take two hours longer than we though, meaning that we probably couldn't also see the dark cave(Hang Tối). But we figured that two caves are better than none and set of to see the wet cave(Ke Bang?) with a 40 minute boat tour. The cave itself was very big and we started out exploring it by boat. Since the cavern festival was being held the place was cramped but you still could see most of it without people getting in the way(being long has its advantages). Next we went up a short walk to the stairs that led to the dry cave(Tien Son). It had our entire group huffing, but sooner or later we reached the top and Tien Son, which was however not all to impressive. After this we, reluctantly went down all said stairs again. We did however get treated to sugar crane water by Hon(the guy with the blue shirt) at one of the station. This guesture was kinda out of the blue but it didn't feel too akward. Going back to where we started by boat we realized we acutally had made good time and when meeting up with Bi and Tau we had a quick lunch and left for the dark cave. We made in time to be admitted to a slightly different way to visit caverens: An adventure park. First off we had a fairly long wait, gearing up with zipline gear, helmet and safety west. Then we waited 25 minutes-ish to go on the zipline. Having ziplined across the area you found yourself 20 m away from the cave. The twist was that you had to swim to the enterance, it was kinda fun. However we yet again spent some time to allow our entire "group" to arrive before we actually went into the dark cave. And that was it was. Entierly dark. You only had your light on your helmet to see by, it was super fun! Or would've been if my light had worked as it should - this ment I spent much time walking close to others(which you had to do anyway) in order not to fall or get cut(really sharp stones in places!). In the end it was a really nice experiance anyway. The tour ended with a mudbath inside the depths of the cavern and on the way out you could rinse yourself before exiting the cave. After this you kayaked your way to the exit area where you could go for some bathing, more ziplining or what they grandly named "obstacle course". We swam some and did the zipline before noting that we already probably spent too much time and that Bi and Tau was waiting. The ride to our hotel in Dong Hoi was probably the most uncomfortable ride. I guess doing all three caves in a day was a strech of what time really allowed. But we arrived safe enough and was glad to spend an evening doing little at the hotel.

 

Phong Nam area where the wet and dry cave is located.

1 or 2 weeks of cavern festival meaning that the price to enter the caves was reduced by 20 and 30 %. This ment that alot of locals came around.   

The boats that takes you to and from the caves.    

Enterance to the wet cave.      

Had a hard time getting good pictures, but managed some            

After you went inside by boat you walked out on a arranged track to where the boat waited for you.      
Starting our walk up to the dry cave.


  

View from top of the stairs!

Enterance to the dry cave!    

And some more stairs!  

While this cave was nice it didn't really shine as much as the wet cave. However it is good enough to warrant a visit(if you can endure all the stairs)     

Sugar crane water!  

Banh Mi as quick lunch before taking off to the dark cave.  

On the road again  

Some of the views going to the dark cave, we got no pictures from the cave itself as I couldn't bring a camera along.    

Our hotel and reststop for the evening in Dong Hoi.


Tomorrow we leave early in the morning for Hanoi by plane, after a day there we leave for Hanlong Bay which is sure to be beautiful! :)

ANNONS
Av Magnus Ekstrand - 18 juni 2017 16:25

So last night involved some decently nice and not so nice things that I didn't really bother to add on the other day. We met two new people, Cloe and Edward from the UK. Both nice enough that we spent about 30 minutes walking without direction in Khe Sahn while speaking of everything and nothing. Before that we had one of those annoying experiances. Martin and I had dinner with Bi and Tau, which both seemed decently drunk when we arrived(only this was a big sign for me). Next they insisted on getting us beer, which is nice, and proceeded to order things that we didn't really know what it was or if we really wanted it. Turned out to be a whole chicken surrounded by rice, the rice and chicken had been fried together(?) and made for a really nice taste. We also had a plate of cooked squid which we ate whole(poor creatures). It felt pretty brutal but tasted nice enough. Having a bad feeling about the dinners as a whole I spoke to BI. I told him that we really wanted to know the prices beforhand and also, if possible, any information on what we was gonna get for the price. This and that we couldn't finnish half of the things that had been ordered made him realize that he probably went a bit out of hand. In the end he ended up paying for the major part of the bill and he seemed genuinely about it.


But now for today. We left Keh Sahn and went along the Ho Chi Minh trail. The scenery was so far the best one we've had. I actually didn't mind that we didn't stop for lunch until 14:00. But then this was also all we did today. We went up to decent heights on the mountains(most 1600m over the seal), visisted "minority villages" and also bathed in local rivers and waterfalls before arriving at our desitation - the Phong Nam caves. So the area around the caves seems to have the same name as the collective name for the caves. There are three caves in total - water, dry and the dark cave. Each slightly different than the other one. But more on that tomorrow. In the small town we randomly met up with Elfie and Ninke who we went to the elephant waterfalls with. They was staying close by at a hostel which seemed to have a very extravagant reputation. It seemed that if you are a foregein backpacker and happen to visit the Phong Nam are you have to sleep at the Easytiger hostel. They invited us over to check out the bar and the music which ment we spent most of the night drinking and having a really good time. We also met up with Cloe and Edward at the bar and invited them over which made us a company of 6. Was very nice untill it became late enought that we felt like going back. It's not easy traveling on a tight schedule. You have little time for leisure and can't really cram too much extra into your programme. But for tomorrow it seems that we are doing all the three caves that are all to be very worthwhile! I will just upload pictures for now and add text later. As I said, at the moment it is a bit hard to find time for my blog.

 

First stop was a warmuseum outside Keh Sahn. It featured alot of remnants since the "american war" and the hasty retreat of the american forces. If you wanted to you could buy scavanged lighters, medals and common left behind of the U.S forces.

It also feautured a minor museum which(in my opinion) mostly served to glorify the vietnamnese, heroic, valiant, viginalt, brave, succesful, victorious(you get the idea) struggle while labeling the americans as feeble, weak and powerless. Example of this above. Sure there was also alot of facts to this museum, but you'd have read in between the lines to get an objective view.

 

Now there will be alot of nature. Most of them are taken on the west and east Ho Chi Minh trail, we went through a mountainpass called Deo Sa Mu which was very scenic.          

Dogs, cows, buffalo, people and wares laid out in the sun was a frequent occurance on the road. Bi drove maserfully and showed no real wear of yesterdays drinking.      

     

One of the rivers coming down from the mountain.  

Me doing 1-2-3 jump in said river.

       


The end, so tomorrow we'll do caves!

ANNONS
Av Magnus Ekstrand - 16 juni 2017 13:00

So today we started out getting collected from our hotel in Hue by Bi and Taú. They took us for a ride along the landscape around Hue and we also started our journey to Dong Hoi. However the distance from Hue to Dong Hoi is only 4 hours if you go the quickest way. Needless to say this is not how you spend scenic 3 day tour as a tourist. We drove by the city Dong Há at least 3 times and went about driving parallel passes to the same destination. We also visited several hiostorical and beautiful sights. Bi drove me and Taú drove Martin. I didn't really like Bi at the start. He had very specific ideas on how he wanted to go about things. He also neglected to tell us the prices before offering us any service that was not included in what we already paid for. These fees where however, very minimal and whatever he suggested was worth the cost. But it'd be nice to know before and not after.


We did however have some awesome syngergy when riding the bike. Be would warn me 5-10 seconds before a sign or sight would show up and then procced to slow down just enough for me to have a shot with the camara. That along with him looking out for us mostly made up for the earlier annoyance. After riding until 16:00 we rode for Keh Sahn where we checked in to our(included in the price) two star hotel for the night.

 

Getting picked up by Bi and Taú       

First stop, Long Hung church, really amazing history. Took a picture of the sign so you may read the whole story.     

Memorial place from the war, not sure of the name. Be didn't mention it.  

Groups took turns to procced onto the memorial altar that was in the centre of the area.  

Around was several monuments which spoke alot about the war, but this time we found no sign's to expain each and everyone as a singular piece.  

And the penguin tears, I noted at noon that Hotch's left eye was damages. Made my mood a bit worse, but I guess I'll be able to fix him up. Just have to figure out how.

 

Random Ho Chi Minh statue in Dong Ha.  

Buffalo roaming "free" on the ricefields.  

Be had us take alot of poses, both with bikes and by ourselves by a local beach.  

This was my favourite, one-two-three JUMP, just slightly out of sync :D  

Boats close by the beach we posed at  

Was treated this as pre-lunch snack. Risepaper with shrimp, tasted... wierd but good? Was wrapped in bamboo leaf and super hot!  

Some pictures taken while riding(today we make for 70-100 km/h), and yes I rode behind - photographing like the crazy tourist I am.    

Things the shows up not to seldom when you get to the smaller local towns. They use the road to sundry their wares.  

Yet more tunnels, these were however bombshelters and not made for fighting. Was promised that they'd be bigger than the Cu Chi tunnels.  

Sun us almost at zenit!  

Guide also showed us these flowers which folds its' leaves together. "Shy flower", very cute thing.  

The bombs that were dropped. If you divided the weight of the bombs used/person living in the area each indivudual was bombed by 7 000 kg worth of bombs. And yet they survived...  

The tunnels themselves, about 1.6 m in height, better than Cu Chi but still small...    

Each family had an alcove roughtly 2 square meters, this was all the space they had to live, sleep and eat in.  

Meeting hall where weddings, gatherings, stories, songs and events was held.    

And off we go again. We acutally passed where the boarder of south and north had previously been.

 

Where the colour of the bridge changes, that's the official mark for south/north.   

Also visited a cementary dedicated to the Viet Cong, corpses was gathered after the war and taken here so relatives and friends may easier find them.  

Views got better during the day      

Stayed at a local waterfall and I had a bath. I was however not the first one to try the waters as four or five locals already was in when I got there.  

Tried to patch him up at the hotel but I simply don't have the tools for it. Also I don't want to damage him any more than what damage there already is.

Av Magnus Ekstrand - 15 juni 2017 15:29

Today we spent the day visiting the imperial palace and several of the late emperors burial mounds. As gloomy as it sounds some of the emperors had used the areas as resorts before passing. As such they didn't just feauture the grave itself but also the leisure areas of an emperor. We did however learn very little about the areas and emperors themselves. We read the signs and even googled a bit but nothing can really replace the value of a guide. So to sum it up, we saw several pretty sights but would've like to have more context to them. AFter this we spent most of the time at the hotel, relaxing and gathering strenght for the upcoming three days ride to Dong Hoi. But loitering around at the hospital made me restless and we went to see a local nightmarket which was nothing special. It did however allow us to sea the beautiful sights of the waters of Hue in evening light.

 

Our ride for the day  

Huge flag/flagpole on the outer wall of the palace  
Admittance into the imperial city

The area was very large and feautured gradens, temples, guardhouses as well as the palace.

 

Every so often, no matter the place we were visiting you could feed the fish(carp?)  

I would love to tell you more about each picture and structure but as said above. We didn't really have anyone to tell us so we mainly enjoyed the views.         

For (very big) inscense(?)  

The gardens at the imperial city was also very lovely and well kept.       

Turtle!  

Locked and loaded.  

We did however figure out some things about the royal family. The four holy animals are: dragon(power), unicorn(intelligance, kindness and tolerance?, bit unsure about this one), turle(long life) and phoenix(peace and nobleness). Sacred symbols are apricot, orchid, chrysantemum and bamboo.    

The exit out of the imperial palace, our driver was always waiting outside to catch us whenever we came out.  

Khai Dinh Tomb, one of the less colorful tombs, atleast on the outside  

Still very impressive.  

All tombs had statues of commonfolk, warriors, merchants(?), nobles(?) and animals outside,  

Altar of prayer and memory, photography was allowed.  

Decoration was really well made and all the interior walls was in similar quality, the area was maybe 80 square meters in total  

Picture of the tomb itself, bad quality  

 

View just outside the Thien mu pagoda, river was really nice!  

The pagoda was however semi interesting, and as I said without context, the exterior is what you get.  

Hall of prayer and cermony behind the pagoda.

 

Next stop, the Tu Duc tomb. One of the more extravagant buildning complexes(exept for Minh Mang Tomb and of course the Palace). So extravagant that the actual building of the place consumed enough resources and manual labor to have the lower class in a riot. The riot was however subdued and the emperor's resort(and later tomb) compleated. They seemed to have a room/place for everything - One for poetry, another for concubines, deer hunting, thinking, eating and so on... What also left and impression is that Tu Duc's queen is burried separately about 300m away from his own grave.

     

Local fruit(Durian) which smells reaaally bad, but which is(according to Martin) supposed to be really tasty.  

Before entering the grave itself you walked by an area with pillars like this in every corner and a large slate about 4-5 meters high cramped with letters. Probably praise and the history of Tu Duc.  

Yet again bowls for inscense?  

The grave itself  

Last place Minh Mang tomb. This guy seemed to have done alot of good in his reign. All from improving quality of life for the common to stabilazing relation and easing out a ongoing war. While doing this also had time to get around enough to have 140 childing. Don't wanna try to follow that family tree.  

Like the imperial palace this place also held large plazas inbetween buildings. Made for a grand effect but also ment you had to brace the sun without shade to get to the next worthwhile thing seeing.  

More of the statues before the tomb.  

This place also feautured a quite nice garden.    

Nightview over the Hue river.  

Flag of imperial palace in the background  

Illumination of a random park, the lanterns really stood out!  


So tomorrow we leave with MC(riding behind our drivers) to Dong Hoi. There is an exact schedule to what is to be done tomorrow but to be honest I've not really had the time to read it since booking the tour. Guess tomorrow will be a bit of a surprise.

Av Magnus Ekstrand - 14 juni 2017 16:33

We rose early and had a very nice morning breakfast(especially considering this was a hostel and not hotel). After this we gathered our things and left for Hue. Irony had it that it was the same train, or at least trainidentification code as last time. But as said it was only 3 hours. We were seated behing a ground of merry Vietnamnese roughly at our own age. They were very loud but we didn't really mind. They also seemed to be slightly intrested in us and we both noticed that the girls in front of us took pictures with themselves and us(the kind of one that also happen to add rabbitears to the people in the photo). But as I said we didn't really mind. When we excited we both got a pat on the back and on the abdomen and some uniteligable vietnamese cheery sounding comment from one of the lads. No idea what that was about.


In Hue we quickly made it to the hotel, booked a cabride to take us to the five most worthwhile sights in Hue the next day. Then, still being tired and a bit under the weather(hehe) we rested in the hotel for awhile. Since I had been feeling a pain in my left ear since three days and it hadn't really gotten any better I decided to see what options there was. After only(...) wait time to my insurancecompany I found out that whatever option I'd have to pay up to 1200:- myself anyway. This made me reconsider my initial idea of having a collegue(doctor) check it up for me since I didn't really know where to start anyway. We did however pass a pharmacy where I entered and quickly explained that I felt like I had an ear infection. 5 seconds later i had a box of potent antibiotics(usually reserved for resistant bacteria in Sweden) in front of me(Spektramox) for only 120 SEK. I didn't buy it. Even though I'd considered that it may need antibiotic treatment just taking pills without certain diagnose made no real sense in the end. So I left the pharmacy empty handed but with idle thoughts about that bacterial resistance to antibiotics must be dire here for them to offer me Spektramox as a first line of treatment. Or maybe they just gave me whatever they'd know worked. either way it gave me an uneasy feeling.


After this we walked the streets of Hue with little direction. We visited two pagodas and watched a market. We also found a very large shopping centre(like the ones you find everywhere in Sweden) and browsed for awhile. Now we are back at the hotel just taking it easy, gathering energy for tomorrows tour around the city.

    

Dayview of some of the buildnings close to the beach in Da Nang.  

Time to board the train. Our former friends the military also showed up for this one. However no soliders in blue uniform this time. Not sure what the differance is.  

Train to Hue was slow and rocky, but had some pretty sights.     

 

Was picked up by the hotels driver which showed a not to uncommon example of Vietnamese  parking when leaving us at the hotel  

Out in hue, visiting the local streets. 

 

Some more nice views from the bridge.  

"Looks like Mälaren"  

Market!

market! :)    

There was many minor water channels passing through Hue.

   

The first pagoda.  

On our way back we met these guys. They knew enough english to ask our names, origin and how we were feeling. They also had that easy going attitude that you feel in the entire Vietnam, but with a childish take. Why not go up to two complete strangers, run around their feet for awhile and then start a conversation?  

Second pagoda, garden was kinda more nice than the house.  

Bridge to the main "Island in Hue" which surrounds the Imperial city(we are going tomorrow)  

Just a regular street in Hue with everyday events.  

First accident we've seen in Vietnam. No damage to the drivers. The MC seemed to be stuck however. 

Lastly I did something I kinda which I didn't, or don't  really don't know how I feel about. I went to the local hospital which was a large one to get a feel for Vietnamnese healthcare. While it was interesting walking the corridors and I even had a quick peak into the emergency rooom, I really out of place. Like a tourist gawking at peoples suffering, which was not why I was there at all. But I realized that is how it may very well seem to everyone I met. Also people was staring more than they had in other places and I got a feeling that my prescense really wasn't being appreciated. So I made my exit as switly as I could.


So tomorrow we will take a rented car around to The Imperial city, Thien Mu pagoda, Tu Duc/Minh Mang/Khai Dinh Tomb which are said to be some of the main sights in Hue. Having a private driver(and a car with AC) feels very nice as this will allow us to take our time. But a guide to expain what we're seeing would've been nice, but you can't have everything :).

Av Magnus Ekstrand - 14 juni 2017 05:00

So yet again we slept in, ate a very nice hotel breakfast and then went down to Hoi An to kill some time until our appointment with the tailor. By now most of our clothes fit us very well and no adjustments was needed. However the buttons as not attached and we were told to come back at 16:00. Which made for yet more killing of time in a city we already seen most of. We sat very long at a resturant we previously had visited. Martin drinking cheap bear and me having juice. Having decided that I atleast wanted to see som,ething more instead of just hiding away we braved the sun and went about exploring the minor streets of a smaller island in Hoi An. Two things was apparent, the prices for things dropped rapidiely and english signs was more uncommon. Also the streets was narrower and the buildning less grand. Children played in the streets with whatever the could find.


Slowly the hours went by and we returned to claim our suits. This time we didn't try them on and I guess we missed the opportunity for some stylish photos. I'll just have to show whoever is interested when we get back to Sweden.


Back at the hotel we ordered a taxi to Da Nang. The hostel we stayed at there was not as grand as the hotel we just left but had a nice feeling to it. When asking for a good local resturant we got a recommendations for a taco place nearby. Since we were hungry we didn't bother with it not being Vietnamnese food. It can also be nice to try something from western cusine with a local twist. After this we watched the raging thunderstorm that surronded, but did not reach, Da Nang. It made for some spectacular views but the thunder was too far away to be heard. We also went down to the beach which was pretty enough. People was still bathing and enjoying the semi-cool heat at 20:00...


Tomorrow we leave for Hue by train. Sadly is is the same train as last time but this time the journey is just 3 hours...

   

Local market at Hoi An.


In here they sold mostly vegetables and seafood. Very busy place.    

One of the smoothies I had, cost x 6 times of a beer (=12 SEK).  

Martin in one of his suits. Was the only decent picture I managed to take.  

Local school for english? It is very interesting that most children here, no matter how young knows some english. We had one one 11 year old tell us our due price in english numbers when shopping for a can of tea and water.


 

Sun was veeeeeery hot. We spent most time in the shade.

Reached the other side of the island and walked along the shore back to where we started.  

Shade, if you're not at a caffé or restaurant this is as good as it gets.  

Riverboats, less busy than usual. Totally understandable.


The sun was almost at zenit and our shades was maby 10-20 cm long.    
Picutre taken so my dad may see what kind of chaotic wirework they have in Vietnam.  

The place we ate at in Da Nang. Was very special, you had 3 alternatives for main ingredient and then four for sauce. You could combine as you liked.  

They also sold beer/soda for 4 SEK and Tequila shots for 10 SEk. THe gentlemen to the right in the picture seemed to have had about 7 cans each of beer. Didn't seem to affect them much however and their conversation about primary and secondary education was kinda interesting to eavsdropp on.  

Hotels just by the beach in Da Nang. Seemed expensive.  

Yet one more of the "point at things and have them cooked" market. Was busy with locals.


The beach at Da Nang was very nice. Sand was soft and the water luke warm. Also seemed to be under tidal influence as the parimeter for the water seemed to wary a couple of decimeter in waterhight.    

View from the beach. The other ends of the waters was nicely lit up.

Me and Martin standing around watching the showwork of a thunderstorm that seemed to surround Da Nang. Was too far away for the sound to reach us however.
 


Av Magnus Ekstrand - 12 juni 2017 18:02

  We slept until 09:30, went and had breakfast and then relaxed at our rooms until 13:00. This was partly because of us being very tired after the 10 h train and due to a growing headache(probably due to dehydration). After this we took the hotel bus to Hoi An and went about browsing the streets and had a full body massage before meeting up with our tailor at 17:00. Since yesterday they'd already finished the clothes we ordered and they suited us decently. Whatever adjustments that was needed was jotted down on a small pice of paper. The process ran very smootly, even so smoothly that I didn't have time for any pictures. Guess I'll upload some of the end results.



After this went down to the night market yet again. Now however it seemed like there was different attractions from yesterday. It was an international food market where people from different countries had set up their own kitchen to compete in a cooking contest. It seemed that the rules was that the main ingredient would be noodles that Hoi An was famous for. Other than that the participants were encouraged to use spices and ingredients native to their own country. It made for some really tasy stuff! I had two bowls, one from korea and the other from Corsica. Both super tasty in their own way. after this we loitered around watching the associated performances that took place in the background of the cooking contest. Made for a really nice evening!


 

Bridge in japanese style, number 3 on tripadvisor. No real idea why.  

Us walking about trying to pass time until the tailor.  

Semi good shot at Martin trying on his suit.  

Busy streets.

 

Food cour where the contest was held!  

Scene behind the food cour with ongoing performances.  

Busy steet outside the food court.  

One of the performances. Video below.


 
 

Corsica cusine. My favourite for the day!      

Meal from corsica, some tender meat. Fried/baked meat, noodles, sallad and what I believe is potatoes?  

More cusines  

In the background of all the stands was the name and face of the chief chef.  

Nighttime.  

River was lit up by candles that was sold from people of the street.  

Larger scene a bit further away from the cooking area. It seemed they were rehearsing since a guy was shouting instructions all the time. Still made for a spectacular show.

Careful with the sound on this one, might get a bit high halfway in.

Some of the performances on the minor stage near the food court. Was really nice to watch! Most seemed to be historical songs from Vietnam and Korea.


Stageplay from korea, actors spoke korean without microphone.


And that was it for today. Tomorrow we leave for Da Nang which is 30 minutes away by car and will be staying there until tomorrow when we take a train headed for Hue. No plans for Da Nang yet :)

Av Magnus Ekstrand - 11 juni 2017 17:19

We woke up 07:00 am and I went directly to the postoffice. Hoping to rid myself of my purschase from yesterday. Opening hours very clearly stated 07:00 - 19:00 even for holidays. But the closed door with a padlock told another story. So. Me and Martin had a real hotel breakfast with scrambled eggs, noodles, different types of meat, fruit and vegtables. After this we wen't on a tour of the adjacent islands. This was a somewhat surreal experiance as we were the only foreigners aboard. This ment some discreet, some not so discreet pointing and open amazement looks. We understood kinda quickly that we were now part of todays sightseeing. The guide however handled this smoothly, all messages was followed by a english(mostly somewhat shorter) translation. After the tour we went back to the hotel for a shower. They hd kindly agreed to stowe away our luggage until our train departed for Nha Trang. Also we had to towels and a quick was of which was more than needed since we'd been bathing in salt water. After this we went to the post office and I paid almost as much for shipping as I had for the paintings themselves. The way she hadled the package even tho I said repeateadly "fragile", "please handle with care" made me very sceptical if I'd recive paintings or puzzle pieces... But we'll see. It will take three months until we have the answer...



After killing time for almost 3 hours(coffe shops, just walking around) we boarded our train. Interestingly enough about 50 Vietnamnese soldiers also boarded the same train. About 15 of them in our coach. 20 minutes into the ride it became apparent that people really didn't care if they'd taken the seat they'd been assigned. This would surely be no problem on an average day. However this ment that many of the soliders(who apparently had seats spread through the entire train) went about making people move so they could sit. It is a special feeling having military soldiers and officers stalking about, some argueing between them and the civilians without actually understanding what's truly being said. We were also a bit worried that they'd come for our seats, but in the end they didn't. The train took about 10 hours to arrive in Da Nanh. We spent this time somewhere in between sleep and being fully awake and when the train arrived we must've been a horribble sight to behold.


While I was away to the bathroom Martin was approached by someone who told us they'd take us to Hoi An(where we had our hotel for the evening) for 350 000 VND. The price was cheap, this we knew for sure but I could not let go of the suspision that still lingered from Ho Chi Minh city. To say I spent the ride being very skittish would be an understatement. It did however turn out we picked a good guy and he did deliver us quickly and safely to the hotel for said cheap price. ALso it's not everyday you get a mercedes as your ride.


After this we checked in to our(four star) hotel and had lunch before leavning. We went straight to one of the in-between price tier tailors in Hoi An and made an order for a three-piece suit and some other stuff. I tried to haggle but faltered under the heavy buisnesslike stare of the small seamstress. In the end I think we ended up with a fair price anywy. The rest of the day was spent exploring the very historical and beautiful Hoi An. Many buildings are perserved from 300-400 years back and the river that passes the city makes for some beautiful scenery. We found som places alongside the river and had beer for 2 SEK a glas. When going back to the hotel we actually agreed to split up for awhile. Martin wanted to have another Beer and to speak some more with the english guy we had met at the bar. This ment I made my way back to the hotel on my own. I hadn't realized how nice it could be to walk at my own pace, staying at temples and shops for just the right amount of time. I ended up buying three silken ties after haggling the price to half the original amount.


After meeting up at the hotel we went back to the city by the hotel bus to eat dinner and see the night market. It was really lovely with lights, busy people trying to sell their wares and many performances.

We had some luck with the weather, but then again even if it rained it'd pass by really quickly.  

  

Our guide and our rallying flag.

Leaving harbour, picture of the boat later. 

 

Traffic was busy as usual, even at sea.  

Closing in at the first island.   Captains corner, mostly he stood openly smoking inside, calmly watching the water and driving.

First stop! You could either borrow snorkling gear for free or pay 500 000 VND for an hour of scuba diving. We snorkled.

 

While it was not "optimal" conditions we still saw alot of the local fish.  

Another boat, ours look just alike.    

This is how you travel abord the boat, decent but hard seats.  

Me and hotch.  

Before dinner we bought a bowl of sea urchin, didn't really taste much.  

Inbetween there was some karaeoke and me and Martin found ourselves singing jingle bells to an audiance of 30-40 strangers. Akward experiance, but then many of the other guest also sang and didn't seem to mind our broken voices too much.

 

Next stop! One of the floating markets.  

While lunch was included you could browse fish, crabs, lobster and other sea dwelling creatures that they had cought. I soon found out that pointing out some of the more interesting ones for Martin was a bad idea as this erned me the repeated quest from a local if they should fry the poor creature so I could eat it.

 

Seats transformed to a table.  

Included lunch.  

Before the next stop we randomly put anchor just outside the floating market. They then set up a "floating bar" where you could jump in for some free alcohol free(?) wine. They also put on party music which made for a very strange experiance, but being in the water floating about wasn't too bad.

 

Third stop. A local privately owned beach. 30 000 VND to enter. Water was nice but you couldn't swin more than 10 meters from the beach or some liveguardian came wistling at you.

   

So instead we found shade and enjoyed some of the local beer.  

Also enjoyed sugar crane water which was really tasty  

Fourth stop, an aquarioum with, yet again, too little space for the dwellers.  

The building was however quite impressive.  

Local paddling about in his/her circular boat, maybe fishing?  

Back in town we had some coffe at a coffe house as well as steak at a steakhouse. We both ordered medium rare thinking that it would be nice to try it out. We both kinda wish we hadn't but it was tasty anyway.  

The best picture I got from our wait at the trainstation, might tell you some about how tired I was...  

After the 10 hour trainride we aquired a taxi which drove us from Da Nang towards Hoi An. We went close to the water the entire way with some pretty scenery.  

Also saw ricefields close up for the first time.  

Our room for the next two days, think the hotel itself has 3/4 stars. For 125 SEk a night.  

Streets of Hoi An.  

Riverside with some of the boats.  

Really nice looking bride and scenery.  

Beer for 2 SEK! In vietnam they have a concept of "fresh" beer which is to be made and sold the same day. Otherwise it is thrown away. This makes it really cheap but if you're unlucky the place could also run out of it very quickly. In Ho Chi Minh city most places ran out before 3 pm.  

One of the streats in Hoi An.  

Temple which charged 130 000 VND to enter, I didn't go in.  

Martin catching up on the latest racing.  

Streets of Hoi An in the evening.      

Some local performers, tried to ask what dance/story it was or if it was a special occation but got no good answer.


  Short video of the dance, they kept it up for a better part of an hour.

Beside the riverbed was also som really nice latnerns!   

As well as a large scene. They seemed to be rehearsing, trying out the same steps and movements repeatedly.   

The bridge from further up during nighttime  

Got the feeling that more lanterns showed up the longer you stayed out...


To be continued...

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