Up the Coast to Phan Thiet
Phan Thiet Travel Blog› entry 14 of 18 › view all entries
We're still alive! (So you can stop worrying now Mum!)
It's been a great trip so far, and our little Bonus is doing us well. We have only broken down twice so far. First, the seal went on the petrol filter - it was leaking petrol everywhere. Then we got a puncture on the back wheel. But, both times, the locals have come to our rescue. It never ceases to surprise me how friendly people are in Vietnam (contrary to the beliefs of the snobby Norwegian people we met just now). Within minutes of pulling over to the side of the road we already had a crowd of 7 or 8 kids watching us. Soon after, it turned into 15, then 20, plus two of the local mechanics. 40 minutes later and we were back on the road. Only to suffer a puncture 20 minutes down the road. But, once again, Viet kids came to the rescue and got us going again.
The drive out of Saigon (or, Ho Chi Minh City to the people round these parts - I made the mistake of referring to it as Saigon already) was crazy. The highway was so busy, dirty and smelly. A million bikes, trikes, Ox drawn carts and trucks. We had to stop and buy face masks. Nasty. But once we got past the thick industrial ring that circles Ho Chi Minh City, the beauty of Vietnam began to reveal itself.
We spent the first night in Vung Tau, which was one of the places in which we were thinking of looking for work (I think we have scraped that idea now). It's a small town, and very quiet. Very different from Saigon.
Then, on to Phan Thiet, were we have spent the past 3 days, and where we plan to stay until Thursday. Dave has some contacts here. Mr. Hung, Daves best friends Uncle (Daves best friend from the states is Vietnamese). He is a man of some importance round these parts, although I'm still not quite sure in what capacity that is. Then there is Mr. Hungs friend, Mr. No. Mr. No owns the hotel we are staying at. And of course, Mr. Cuong, the local English teacher, and a great guy. He invited us to his sisters house for a feast, followed by a little guitar playing and of course, more vodka.
It seems to be rather difficult to find any time of our own here. There always seems to be someone that wants to drink coffee (or vodka) with us, or to introduce us to some friend of theirs. However, after several hours of coffee drinking and talking this morning, we finally managed to get off on our own. Just Keishia, Dave and myself. We went for a swim. The water here is warm, as is the sun! I'm feeling a little burned. I think Mr. No is going to take us to some hot springs tomorrow.
It’s really nice in Phan Thiet. IT’s not too quiet, but not too busy either. A good balance. And of course there is the coast. It would be a nice place to settle down and work, but it seems impossible at the moment. Whilst there are schools where English lessons take place, foreigners are not allowed to work in State run institutions. Only in private language centers, of which there are none. It’s a shame. However, our contacts seem to run pretty high here, and in a year or two, it might be possible for us to open our own language center. The business would certainly be there, that’s no worry. Food for thought anyway!
Much as I love just lazing around doing very little, I’m looking forward to getting back on the road. The mountains await us.