Vietnam Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
I left Brunei around 7.30pm, kissed my parents and little nephews goodbye (I miss them already!) Luckily the plane was not full so there was an empty seat next to me...room for my handbag (yes, I am setting a new trend now, backpack with handbag). Next to the empty seat was a Vietnamese woman (she's an Australian now, migrated there when she was 17, so she told me). She's travelling with her family (husband and a 2-year old boy and her mother-in-law. So I decided to take the chance to learn a bit of Vietnamese short phrases:
Vietnamese 101 for a total idiot:
Jiau - Hello/Bye (Reminded me of Aloha in Hawaii)
Sen Loy - Sorry/Excuse me
Bang kuay hem - How are you?
Ya - Yes
Khaun - No
Ten - name
Toy - my
Hwuk tek - nationality
Yoop de - help (for emergency cases like a broken nail)
Jiau buoi song - good morning
Jiau bu toy - good evening
Kai ze - what?
Ergh dau - where?
Key nau - what time?
Kam heng - Thank you
the lesson lasted for about 30 minutes before the lady decided to move to another seat so she could sleep (i felt insulted lol).
8.30pm - I am in Saigon! Weather here is pretty much like Brunei. Since I arrived at night so there was really not much to see then except for the sight and sounds that I am not accustomed to...MOTO-BAI! There were like motorbikes and scooters everywhere...I hired one to take me to my hotel...the guy asked for the address and suddenly his face changed...Q7! (he made it sound like I just gave him an impossible mission). Very far! far?!...what's Q7 - nope its not the new audi SUV it means district 7...and its like 45 to 50 minutes away from the airport.
Now you see ladies and gentlemen, Saigon is divided into several districts (up to 10 i think). The airport is in district 1 or Q1 and my hotel is in an area quite far awar. And I didn't know that when I booked my hotel room. 14 US Dolla! first transaction of the trip. 14 US dollar...for a very bumpy, polluted, yet exhilirating taxi ride...on a "Motobai"...45 minutes later we got to the hotel, and I never walked the same anymore. I guess the most impressive part of the journey was seeing the people rode their bikes (men, women, men and women, women and men, women and a puppy..yeah a puppy LOL). Some even had a deep conversation with other bikers while on the move (now that is something I don't see everyday in Brunei...people drive cars there, with their airconditioner on and windows fully shut..oblivious of who's in the next car).
That was enough adventure for like one hour of my stay in Vietnam. Tomorrow, I need to book another hotel in Q1 where it is closer to everything.
I am still not sure how to describe my adventure in Vietnam yet. The traffic is always horrendous with motorbikes, cars and trucks trying to fight their way through the narrow road. The people are friendly and helpful (so far with a price too) and it seems like wherever I go (especially at tourist attraction places) I seem to have an invisible label on my forehead asking the locals o put extra charge on me. Amazing!
I have to change my plan a little bit. Instead of going to Nha Trang on the 18th, I will be leaving tonite (19th) on the 11 o'clock train. My tourguide has been thoughtful enough to give me the nite train so that I can sleep my way to Nha Trang (6 to 7 hours trip!). Will be staying in Nha Trang for a night then fly to Hanoi on the 21st. Will stick to my original plan on visiting Blue Dragon on the 22nd (need to inform Nadine again to reconfirm my visit). After the visit, hopefully I will have time to go to Halong Bay. My tourguide advised me to join a grouptour bus as it is cheaper. Not really sure how long it will take for us to get there (I think he said 6 hours...that's rather daunting). Plan to stay in Halong Bay for a night then return to Hanoi the next day and fly to Saigon on the 24th. Stay in Saigon for 2 more nights then fly back to Brunei on the 26th.
YES LADIES and GENTLEMEN...I'M CUTTING MY TRIP SHORT. I will be back in Brunei on the 26 December 2008.