Monday, November 10, 2008

Mekong delta blues

Back home (just - thanks to Qantas)! A 'ticketing error' on their part led to a missed connection in Sydney and we didn't get home until the early hours of today - I am not going to work.

Plenty of stories to tell but I just want to sleep and wonder around the house zombie-like, revelling in the joys of a large cup of earl grey tea. Vietnamese tea mostly came in thimble-sized cups or was served with sweetened condensed milk.

The final few days were spent exploring Saigon (aka Ho Chi Minh City). A friend had warned me it wasn't as interesting as Hanoi but I really enjoyed it. It wasn't as crazily disorganized as the capital but had plenty to see and do and an air of sophistication that escapes Hanoi.

The War Remnants museum (previously known as the War Crimes museum) had a gruesome display including bottled remains of infants disfigured and deformed due to agent orange exposure. I was shocked that some were born as recently as 1996.

We also had a boat trip up the Mekong which involved a night in a traditional riverside home. The evening passed relaxing in hammocks on the porch, chewing on stir fried snake, slatherin on mozzie repellent. Then came time to sleep: imagine seven people in one room on agonizingly small stiff camp beds, boats thundering past, muddy water sloshing under the gappy floorboards along with a cacophony of outboard motors, snoring, farting, coughing and nigh time mumblings - oh and a baby crying, a dog barking and roosters crowing all night. Everyone got up about 5am and wandered around looking shell-shocked. The next night back in a 3 star Saigon hotel we didn't complain about the impossible to stand up in shower - it was heaven!

More blog catch ups when my sleep-meter is back to normal.

P.S. I am elated about Obama and slightly depressed about John Key.

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