Set adrift on muddy bliss

Can Tho Travel Blog

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yet another wild beast attacks at my feet...

The Worst Hotel Room In Vietnam


En route to Phu Quoc Island it was necessary to over-night in Can Tho. My bank account was looking decidedly malnourished, so I decided to go for the cheapest accommodation possible.


The place I found was about $5 per night, which seemed very decent as it was close to the harbour where I had an early ferry transfer next morning .... AND the Lonely Planet recommended it on account of the friendly staff.


To be fair they weren’t wrong: The staff (singular: a lone Vietnamese girl who could have been 12 or 22, it’s impossible to tell) smiled broadly and constantly through the horror of my stay.


First of all my room was up 4 flights of stairs which were so steep I had to use both hands as well as feet to climb. (….with a heavy backpack on board too!).


Cheery Girl happily swung open the door to my room: The small square space managed to be both dingy and bright at the same time. It was situated in a corner position of the building which allowed the sun to penetrate the large, scabby windows for almost all of its’ daily loop around the earth. The effect was a swoon-inducing heat that hit me in the face like an angry slap. Instantaneously comatose with lethargy I couldn’t summon the facial muscles to ask if another room was available, and so with a wide smile Cheery Girl left me to certain rapid dehydration.


Limply, I put on the fan and blew the hot air around. This did nothing to dispel the heat but did send pretty ripples over the red nylon curtains wrapped tastelessly around the room.


I poked my head into the bathroom & quickly realised that it would be a bit of a struggle for the rest of my body to fit inside too.

The ‘room’ was the size of a telephone booth in Pygmy-land, into which a rickety toilet bowl and wall hose had been ingeniously squeezed. Even the air in here was hot, damp & peeling.


Mortified, I flopped onto the bed and instantly regretted it. The bed sheets, which on further inspection were brown nylon, rose to meet me in a static embrace. Instantly bonded by fizzy sweat, I had to detach myself with a slow peeling motion.


An hour later (because that’s how long it took to swim through the thick, humid air) I managed to clasp my wallet & sunglasses and head out onto the streets in search of a cool can of Tiger Beer, or six.


I walked along in a shell-shocked daze……. Surely brown nylon wasn’t a real thing?? It’s like Darth Vader & the Dark Side, or Spiders that harvest babies in your ear canal…. Scare stories certainly, but not anything that could ever actually really exist in the real world…?


I only managed one can of Tiger Beer, which was not enough open my imagination to the fantasy of cool linen, so when I returned to my room to sleep an hour or so later, it was a long, sticky night that lay ahead.


More Torture


Early next morning I caught the Super -Dong! Speed-Ferry (don’t ask) to Phu Quoc Island. Lucky me got a seat only 2 inches from the on-board TV, which played Vietnamese music videos at high volume. 


If you’ve never had to endure a Vietnamese music video, consider yourself blessed.  They manage to be painful in every possible way. Typically there’s a very plain looking bloke in soft focus wearing an army uniform and wailing out some moralistic ballad that necessitates slow-panning scenes of either:

1)          His family cooking rice in their humble home, or

2)          His virginal girlfriend wafting through fields of corn whilst gazing at the horizon, or

3)          Some comradely action, including chorus warbling, with fellow soldiers.

Silk Loom


At one point on the journey love-sick-soft-focus boy took to the stage hugging a big white teddy bear and sung with such an insipidly pained expression that it seemed possible he might just keel over & expire from his own awfulness. Sadly he didn’t.


I was so traumatised by the Nylon Incarceration and Commu-Pop-Hell that when I finally arrived at Mango Bay I was stuck down with a killer migraine and spent the first day lying on my bed with eyes closed trying to breathe quietly.


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yet another wild beast attacks at …
yet another wild beast attacks at…
Silk Loom
Silk Loom
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My sunnies prove popular.. (I acc…
Can Tho
photo by: alanmica