Wednesday, 25 June 2008

On the move across the Mekong.

29/5 - Up and at 'em. Well up, I dossed in the room for a while, did a few exercises, few being the main word here, then fell asleep again. I must have been tired. Dung woke me to tell me she had booked me into another place on An Binh, an island on the Mekong and is on her way to pick me up. Panic shower and pack and we're on her friends moto and off to an island in the Mekong. It sounds very romantic, an island in the Mekong, but I'm not so sure it matches up to Phu Quoc. It is a smashing island though and big, this Mekong is huge. There is a 2nd ferry to An Binh, which I didn't know about, so it shows how big it is, or stupid I am. No postcards to Mick this time. The place I am booked into is smashing. Dinner bed and breakfast for $11 dollars. It sounds too good to be true. I'll let you know. I wish I had known about it earlier. I am getting well looked after. This place has loads of bikes, so I hired one and went for an explore. It's a tadge hot, but nice when the breeze hits. THe island is a maze of roads and rivers and somehow I ended up at the other ferry. I'd stopped along the way for Nuoc mia, sugar cane drink, and was hassled by a few kids for money, no problem, no money. Almost everyone who went passed as I sat drinking, smiled and quipped to the owner of the place. I was going to try and weave my way back down some bak paths and alleys, but thank heavens common sense kicked in and I went back the way I had come, this time stopping for tra da. I picked a bit more secluded seat this time but still drew curiosity.. It's still blistering hot, so I plodded back slowly. I don't make it over many bridges, but most people stop and get off. There's a neat little village around one of the bridges. It looks very poor, but has a very posh church. If I wasn't melting I'd have a look around. I've spotted an internet place in the middle of nowhere, so may call back tomorrow. Back at the ranch, I sat in the breeze to try and dry off before plonking in one of the many hammocks and when I did plonk, I crashed. It is becoming a pasttime. Shower and another swing in the hammock before dinner. The dinner was a banquet. Whole fish, prawns, pork, chicken, spring rolls. I had to tell them half portions tomorrow, it was outrageous and delicious, so much soit was back to the hammock with a beer and blow me if I didn't nod off again. I cant shake this cold off, so have been ordered to rest up tomorrow. I think I can probably manage that.

Still walking the streets of Vinh Long.

26/5 - I didn't fancy hot breakfast or bread today, so strolled to the market to pick up a pineapple. The market is about 50 metres from the hotel and now spills over to outside the hotel. I strolled on to a cafe that has a good people watching spec, to have a tra da, iced tea. I passed Dan the American from the other day along the way. He was sat on a bench reading a paper, outside his in-laws I guess. I said Hello and he blanked me, tried again and his head twitched. Strange, I thought. Never one to be put off, I stopped and tried to got an "Oh Hello", then back to his paper. He must have thought I was after his lottery money. A very strange going on, but never mind, better off out of that one. Off for my tra da. The cafe was peaceful, hen students started turning up for a drink, some park their motos out the back. THey sit for quite a while, in fact longer than me. I left them and went for an e-fix. There was a lot of flirting going on, I felt a bit out of placeand even more so when I spilled my tra da dregs as I got up. Wandered back for a midday kip after the e-fix, dont slag me off, I'm getting up at 5.00, well waking up then. I'm getting into S.E. Asia mode, about late considering I leave in a week or so. Up and out for a wake up stroll and bumped into the lottery lad. I offered to buy him a drink, but I think he just likes to say hello, sit a while and field all the comments from the locals about his pet Englishman. I bought a couple of baguettes and headed back to the balcony with a beer. Half way through the 2nd baguette, the crown on my front tooth dropped out. Now I am a real bonny lad, a proper ladykiller if I ever saw one. It did make me laugh when I looked in the mirror. It could scare the touts away too, but I doubt it.

27/5 - Early rise a bit of exercising, not much. I am doing a bit and feeling better for it. I just lack the discipline to keep it up. Down to reception to scare them withmy new style smile. The lady gave me directions to the dentist, but I know better regarding me and directions, so I took a moto for 20p. I'm first in the queue, but an hour early, the receptionist at the hotel was wrong, he opens at 8.00 not 7.00. I did a bit of log writing, I'm an expert waiter nowadays. When I got in the dentist smiled at the broken crown, then got to work. A new post, a bit of grinding, some glue and Bob's your uncle, less than a fiver. No wonder UK dentists are rich. It cost me over 100 quid for almost the same in the UK and it still dropped out. Keep checking the blog for how long this one lasts. The holiday insurance is a bit of a joke. I have to pay the first so many pounds, but it never gets passed that in Asia. I am happy at that though, I don't want any big hospital bills.
Back along the riverfront, picking up a nuoc mia, sugar cane drink, then plonking on a shady bench, watching the Mekong flow by and the boats busling along, al sizes, carrying all sorts. Ony my way back to the hotel Mr Trung spotted me. I met Dung through him. I managed to duck the English lesson for today, but have a 7.00 am appointment at the cafe, tomorrow. Did a bit of this and that and nothing much, had a wander around and back for some kip.

28/5 - Up for some early market snap, pork and noodles, before meeting Mr Trung and Mr Phuc. It's a bit of a struggle trying to converse, so I didn't try too hard, then Mr Linh came along. Trung and Phuc, sit here for 3 hours a day. It's relaxing, but 3 hours is a killer, so I excused myself after 2 before they hatched any plans for the rest of my day. I did some e-stuff, then had a kip. I've picked up manasianbird flu on Phu Quoc, so you can imagine how sorry I'm feeling for myself, hence the kip. It's actually just a bit of a sniffle, I'm just lazy. I've been trying to eat 3 meals a day and put some weight back on, but it is hard work trying to eat 3 meals a day in this heat. I wandered a bit more and watched the rush hour, it's prime time viewing, then I had a meal, I ordered Bo luc lac, all I know is that it is beef. This is a return visit to t his restaurant, they are very friendly and the Bo luc lac is very nice. I can tell you now it is fried diced beef with rice and salad. I headed forome yet again, stopping to watch the sunset by the river. I'm on a date tonight, so I'd better shower, not doing so cuts down on the touts, but I doubt it is good for a date. We went up to the Mekong bridge and pulled over. It is beautiful up here. It's a main highway, but loads of couples pull over for a romantic moment, in fact so many that there are street endores pu here. It was too cold to hang about, the wind whistles by up here. Back to town for some more beef, Pho Bo, beef soup and more, then I got dropped at the hotel. It was pointed out that it is very noisy here and she's right, so a plan is hatched to move me to An Binh, a nearby island, but it floundered when the hotel was full.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

More market snap.

25/5 - Another day strolling, e-fixing and dossing. Got myself some very slippery noodles on the market for breakfast, but watched the locals to find out how to eat them with chopsticks, I eventually got them from my bowl to my chops, instead of the table. There are free top ups on the broth too. I guess this is where the Yanks got the free drinks top up idea from. The ice tea on this stall was a bit naff.
I checked out the meat market. It looks pretty good, no refrigeration, but the meat looks good and fresh. It was probably killed this morning. I picked up some chom chom/rambutan and went off to eat it in the shade by the river. 2 young girls came to say hello, selling lottery tickets, quickly followed by 3 lads. Why is it nealry always the lads who are th buggers? Surely I wasn't like that! There was some language tuition, in both directions, the inevitable ask for money, again from the lads. Eventually they moved on, so I headed off along the river. I've been trying to get into the 3 meals a day routine of the Vietnamese, but when it is hot I never feel like eating. The meals are not huge, like in the UK, so 3 meals is about right. I bumped into one of the lottery lads twice more as I wandered. I think he looks upon me as his pet Englishman. A bit more wandering and eating and back to the hotel to listen to the karaoke. Some really are brave to get up and sing wlith the voices they have. If I ever get cajoled into it, I'll do the Lee Marvin version of Wandering Star. You don't know it???? I bet Mr Google does.