Koh Phi Phi, (pronounced pee pee) as in pissing.

Internet here is rubbish, wifi non-existent, paying money for this so must be quick.

In paradise.

We are a stone’s throw from where ‘The Beach’ was filmed. We are going there tomorrow to draw Leonardo DiCaprio’s in the sand and let the sea wash his beautiful face away.


It looks a bit like this.




Banana feed fest leads to forlorn keeper.

Sugar-cane romp in Chiang Mai’s jungle.

Step ladder nightmare leads to trunkitis.

Elephant spine enters you upon movement.

Steeper than it looks.

They only responded to commands with swearing in it.

Washing dirty elephants of their nasty sins.

Squirt buggers.

And you will know us by the trail of elephants

We have spent the past 2 days in Chiang Mai in North Thailand. Although we have had an amazing time, we did none of the conventional things you are “supposed” to do here. We didn’t visit any temples or hill tribes, but instead, became at one with nature. However, Pez insists he became at least three with nature.

On Thursday we hired a motorbike to drive around the city and go to Chiang Mai zoo which we heard some great and not so great things about. I can tell you it was officially great. The zoo is built on the side of a mountain with lush greenery, streams and waterfalls and the animals have so much space. First, we visited the pandas, where they have successfully managed to breed and saw the 1 year old baby sleeping and it’s mummy munching on bamboo shoots and chunks of wood. It was so incredible I cried a little. Some of the other highlights were tickling a slow loris, feeding elephants and watching the array of primates in their open air play area.

We also went to two shows at the zoo. The first was the seal show, where they jumped through hoops, clapped, played basketball, did jumps in the water, balanced ping pong balls on their noses and other bizarre tricks. Although I am not sure how I feel about the animals doing tricks, I have to say it was bloody entertaining. They also were fed lots and lots of fish after every trick and looked really healthy so hopefully they enjoy it? The second show we went to was the zoo’s animal bonanza. At the start of the show a little pig ran out to pull on a lever that dropped a sign saying welcome to the show, then a big red bird slid down a zip wire to mission impossible music. Then 2 birds raced on little pedal bikes while an otter was picking up litter to put in a bin. As all this was going on a voice on the speakers was saying enjoy the natural wildlife show. I don’t think there was much natural about it. After the show, Pez got a photo taken with one of the birds on his shoulder, who then did a poo down his back. Revenge to the customers who watch this madness?

Yesterday, we had what was probably my best day travelling so far. We visited an elephant conservation centre where they have rescued 15 elephants from captivity and exploitation. Most of them were very healthy and happy since being at the park, but one who arrived last month is still in a sorry state. Physically, she is fine, but she was abused at a park that made her dance for hours on end so she still sways her head nearly all day. The carers are hoping that she will stop this soon when she realises she doesn’t have to do this for food anymore. First we got to meet all the elephants and give them food. My favourite was the female baby who was born last year. Although, she is huge in comparison to humans, she looks tiny surrounded by the enormous adults. Next, we practiced climbing on and off the elephants, which is very hard word by the way, and practiced how to guide them with Thai words to go, stop, turn left and right and lie down.

After lunch, we rode the elephants into the jungle. Pez and I were really lucky as we got Mamoon, the elephant with the 1 year old baby. I was at the front on the way up, being the “driver” and Pez on the elephants back as the passenger. When we got up the hill and climbed down for a break, the male baby was trying to mount our female baby. Being 1 year olds, they had no idea what they were doing, but he wouldn’t give up! The way down was very steep and hard to stay on but an incredible experience. When we got back to camp we took our elephants into the small lake for a bath. It was brilliant! The baby was so playful doing spins in the water and all the elephants spraying water everywhere. The babies loved having a water fight with the humans. At the end one of the carers had to stay in the water and collect all the elephant poop. I don’t envy his job!

We have woken up today with aching muscles, but it was all worth it.

Vang Vieng nude men, Luang Prabang rude phlegm

Vang Vieng, the nicer side of town.

Bad Boyz I

Bad Boyz II, the communist’s revenge.

Luang Prabang, face temple.

Old hut full of shiny.

Carl’s evil twin brother, David.

Escher schmescher. He got nutin’.

The suspect, or the victim?

Dirty mares.

Noony gets arty with monky.


Luang Prabang, our last breath in Laos

Luang Prabang! Seven hours on a bus is fine. Seven hours on a bus 1000 metres high on mountainous windy roads that twists and turns like a… twisty turny thing? The drop off the side would have resulted in a slight twinge in your back, roughly forty yards from your head. 12 people neatly tucked into a minivan and 12 people crawled out at the end. Luang Prabang is very picturesque, small and quaint. We mooched around until we came to a mountain that claimed to be really high up and have ‘views’ of the city. 15 of the 400 steps up and Noony stopped, claiming to be dying. I think I annoyed her by running gleefully up the steps whilst my lungs silently burnt through my chest and my brain told me I was going go die. We didn’t. If anything, we made it to the top to find the promised view, some fighting squirrels, a deformed cat and pair of butterflies doing it. Tube to tube – they were at it like passionate mime artists. We took dirty, voyeuristic photos. Noony goes red just thinking about them.

We stayed at the top for just under an hour as we could see the landing strip in full view and i wanted the geek in me to watch a plane land. It did, and the squelch and screech of the tyres proved it. We walked down, didn’t die, and made our way to Joma, a fantastic cafe chain that is dotted around Laos. It is run by Laos people and some profits go back into the community. We have stolen their menu so if Noony’s dream of owning a cool cafe comes to fruition, we have a menu set exactly to what she’d want.

The weather wasn’t too good and it rained the day we wanted to go visit the waterfall and cave. But we had our flight for Thailand booked so regrettably we couldn’t stay longer. Shame. The cave looked really dark, they gave you candles to walk around. I was going to woo women to a candle lit dinner. All i needed was food and a blanket. And Noony to point out other pretty women for me.

I don’t know what it is, but the plane journeys are getting scarier and scarier. My logical head tells me that 40 flights a day and an untarnished track record for 13 years means that Laos airlines is safe. The pessimistic side tells me that when the horrific turbulence hits the small propellor plane, the engine whirrs down and it nosedives a few hundred feet and tilts violently to the left, its not a good idea to mock Noony as she recites the Hail Mary repeatedly.

In conclusion, propellor planes are bloody scary.

We are in Chiang Mai now. Thailand smells.

Really bad.

Goodbye Laos, you were wonderful.

Putting the fun into panofunramic photos. (click for big)

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Sokha Resort Beach, Cambodia

Dalat, Vietnam

Dalat, Vietnam

Marble Mountains, Hoi An, Vietnam

Imperial City, Hué, Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Khong Phapheng, 4000 Islands, Laos

Luang Prabang, Laos

The seventh circle of Vang Vieng

We departed from Williams house to start part 2 of our Asian adventure. The bus from Vientiane to Vang Vieng was only 5 hours so our shortest trip yet. We turned up at our guesthouse that we booked for £2.50 a night, and we got exactly what we paid for. It was a mess and on the ground floor where we couldn’t close the windows so we quickly left and found ourselves somewhere much nicer for only a pound more a night! The main attraction at Vang Vieng is “tubing” – getting in the inner tube of a tractor tyre and floating down the river. You can stop off on the way drinking at bars and swinging off ropes and zip lines. A health and safety nightmare. A woman died last month by missing the water and landing on the rocks.

The clientele were, luckily, our favourite type of tourists. Men who wear nothing but a t-shirt on their head and boxer shorts and calls anything that moves c***ts. Women who think they’re pretty enough to wear micro bikinis and walk in the middle of the road ignoring the traffic. These people don’t read up on where they are, ignoring any cultural rules and forgetting they are guests in a communist country. They stagger about with plastic buckets of cocktails and litter whatever they don’t need on them. The premise of getting pissed with your mates isn’t what bothers me. That’s fine. Its the ultimate lack of respect they have for their Laos hosts. The cheap guesthouse didn’t help either when in their guidebook their openly stated that taking opium or sleeping with prostitutes in the room is fine. This is viscous circle which will only get worse.

The mountain scenery was beautiful.

Anyway, we took a 7 hour bus further up north to Luang Prabang. All the people on the mini bus were griping about the same thing, although they were all in their fifties. I think that just means we’re… wise?

Luang Prabang looks just like Hoi An in Vietnam. Very picturesque and quaint.

Sorry, y’all for the lack of posts. We spent a lot of time at Wills so routine went out the window. Now that we are on the move again, its much easier to let you back into our lives.

Photos probably to follow.

Christmas in Vientiane

Christmas shopping.

Not sure who would want this. (me)

Vroom vroom!

Will tipped forward this painting to look behind. With hilarious consequences.

Laughing with the artist about said consequence.

Thankful it was fine.

Christmas tree?

House lights.

Gifts from England.

The perfect final addition to my suit.

Will really wanted this.

Will really wanted this.

Starter for 10.

A farmer has two hens, a white one and a white one…

A happy eater.


…and a dance.

Pakse and 4,000 Mekong Islands (I’m sure there aren’t that many)

We’ve been in Laos now since the 15th December and having a jolly good time with Mr William Moss. There will be photos to follow of our Christmas in Vientiane, but first we will write about our time away in the south at Pakse and the 4,000 islands.

We took a bus from Vientiane at 8 am and 16 bone-shaking hours later we arrived in Pakse. We only had 2 full days in the south so decided to do a full day tour of the islands. We had our own private mini van, driver and tour guide who took us to Ban Nakasang, where we caught a motor boat (a narrow boat with an incredibly noisy diesel engine on the back) to Don Khone island. We hired some bicycles and toured around the island with our guide. It was my first time on a bike for at least 10 years and took me back to the rides we used to do around the villages in Cocking. After races and dodging chickens and dogs galore we made our way to the south of the island to take another motor boat across the boarder to the edge of Cambodia where we sat and watched some Mekong dolphins playing in the water. We then went back to Don Khon island for lunch and visited the Li Phi waterfall. Li Phi literally translates to “ghost trap” as the waterfall was used to build contraptions to catch dead bodies floating down the Mekong during war time. Lovely!

After catching a motorboat back to the mainland of Laos we visited the Khong Phapheng waterfall, which is the biggest in South East Asia. We clambered over rocks and climbed down to the waters edge. I cracked my knee on the side of a rock, but it was nothing that a bit of germolene and a plaster couldn’t fix. We will also post some photos of the islands later.

Photos to boot

This is the stuff dreams are made of.

Boring view.

Not kidding. They follow you. “Hello, you buy?”

Authentic cooking.

On Monkey Island

“My name is Guybrush Threepwood and I’m a mighty pirate.”

Noony was there


Post-Cave. (not Grinderman)

Halong Bay, Vietnam

So, we have a lot of catching up to do. We have been having too much fun at Wills to write anything. Shame on us.

First, I will write about our trip to Halong Bay, which was stunning. The place really lives up to the legend that it was created by dragon footprints as it has a magical atmosphere and the perfect blue water with the giant towers of rock just don’t seem real. When we first arrived we went on a bamboo boat around the bay and went to a floating fishing village and visited a floating school. And yes, they literally are floating houses/buildings on bamboo and industrial floating devices. There were a number of dogs on everyones boats and on the decks of their house which we were wondering whether they are for security or food…maybe both?

Noony has gone for a shower so I suppose I better take over.

When we returned from the bamboo boat we were invited to join a cooking class on our junk boat. This was one of the things that swayed our decision to use this specific tour operator. What excitement! To learn ancient traditional cooking and utilise this knowledge for when we get back home. I shall share with you the secrets taught to us, handed down over the generations.

Wet finger
Rub finger over rice paper
Roll up ready-made spring roll mixture
Hand to cooking teacher for him to cook.

The free glass of red wine made it fun though. Noony was incredibly proud of her spring roll, to the point that rejected any photo that didn’t have all 65 of her teeth showing.

After eating a shovel load of food, (I tried squid and prawns and pork, oh my) which Noony tells me was delicious, we found out it was the Captian’s birthday. Free beers were pushed into our hands, we politely got drunk. The captain asked who had iPods, so we got ours and after playing some party hits, the other table turned to Noony and asked, “Are you the DJ, because this music is terrible.” If there’s one things I’ve learnt, it’s ‘know your audience’. They weren’t even happy with Van Morrison, so quite frankly they can piss off forever, snobby nosed old hags.

Our cabin was impressive and the bathroom, stunning. James Bond would have done fine here wooing, intimidating and euphemising with all the Swedish wood. We thought we had the life to live here. Except… There were two problems: the first being the horrific rumbling of the diesel engine that constantly roared below us. The bed vibrated and I’m sure moved about the room at night. That might be the sea sickness, it might be the moss I ate on the side of the boat. But needless to say sleeping was tough. The second problem respectively was much much worse. Not only were we above the engine room, we were also adjacent to the kitchen. And out of the woodwork, like clockwork, cockroaches would infest the room. We killed twenty. If you don’t know Noony, (she’s saying hello) there are two bugs she just cannot bare, a phobia to the point of madness. Decrepid, non-sensical madness. She didn’t sleep the first night at all after finding cockroaches in the bedsheets.

In the morning, we asked if we could move. Noony, white as a cockroach covered sheet, put her assertive foot forward. Their answer was simple: no. There were spare rooms but they wouldn’t move us. Knowing that we would have to sleep in there for a second night put a mild dampener on things.
Moan over, boo. Here’s Noony.

The day began very early, not that it mattered as I didn’t sleep a wink anyway, with us heading off on a smaller boat to get some kayaks. We had a double kayak and set off around the bay to find a nice secluded beach. Pez sneakily sat in the back and wasn’t paddling half as much as me. Cheeky bugger. We mostly sat on the sand and chatted with some other tourists we found but others went for a swim in the cold blue water. After kayaking for most of the morning we had lunch on the small boat while we sailed to Monkey Island. If any of you are familiar with the computer game, you would be severely disappointed. However, the view from climbing up the rocks was awesome, and there were plenty of monkeys. One stole someones sock and taunted him with it and put it on as a hat and then a glove. After most of us chasing the monkey across the beach we finally got the sock back. The monkeys even tried to take someones back pack and Pez was attacked by one. He put up his fists and made a grumble noise and I think the monkey realised how ridiculous he looked and gave up swiftly.

I was particularly upset at this point in the day as it was time to return to the junk boat and our dreaded cabin of bugs. Luckily a girl on the tour lent us a mosquito net which put up at least a psychological barrier to the cockroaches, if not a physical one. I still hardly slept but at least I closed my eyes. The following morning Pez and I were really happy as we knew we didn’t have to sleep in the room again and were shortly heading back to the mainland after a visit to the “Amazing Cave”. The cave looked like something out of The Labyrinth or The Dark Crystal and was pretty amazing. (Photos to follow)

We had one full day left to spend in Hanoi on our return and Pez and I decided the best way to spend it would be visiting a dead dictator. For 41 years dead, Ho Chi Minh looked awesome. Unfortunately, there are no photos to follow on this one as there is some crazy dictatorial rule that no pictures are allowed in his mausoleum.

Merry Christmas

Happy Christmas everyone. Will’s Internet ran out so we’ve come to an Internet cafe to say that everything is fine. We had a jolly day yesterday. We will update tomorrow as we are travelling to Pakse in the south of Laos.

All is well.

Hope snow isn’t getting in everyone’s way. The 30 degree heat here means we have no snow. Shame.


it works…it wohuurksssss!

come back soon.


Hip Hip Hué!

We have now arrived in Hanoi which we will write more about later but first we haven’t mentioned anything about Hué yet…

So, what can we say about Hué? We stopped in Hué for 5 days as our flight to Hanoi was much much cheaper if we stayed an extra day or two. The hostel/hotel we stayed in was fantastic, but very very weird. When we turned up to check in, we were given steak and eggs, little did we know that was just the start of the feeding frenzy they enforced upon us. Over the 5 days we were given rice parcels, omelettes, a pizza, cakes, watermelon, coca nut, etc. Our room was lovely and quaint with a tiny wooden bath. Not a clever idea engineering wise as it leaked very badly and poured water all over the floor. The eccentric owner (who reminded me a lot of Ozzy Osborne, not for his looks, but for his post-drug abuse mental state) took quite a shining to Pez and laughed at anything and everything he did or said. We played quite a bit of chess in the hall as it rained non stop so when we left yesterday he gave us a print out of a chess board on paper and a chess set to carry with us on our travels!

In Hué, the most we did was take some long walks along the river and visit the Citadel. Quite an impressive site, but not as well restored as we had hoped. The grounds were quite beautiful and more impressive than the buildings, with a moat filled with coy carp and stunning trees lining the water. Just a side note, fish are stupid. When we raised our hands to take a picture every fish in the water assumed they were being fed so lifted their heads out of the water and opened their mouths. It reminded me of the joke Uncle Alan always used to say about every fish being called Bob!

Most evenings we spent perched on the door step of the hotel next door to ours with a lovely chap named Dutch Mike. Huda beers in hand, most conversations led to the best of British comedy. It was nice to share a mutual appreciation of Monty Python and Black Adder. Although, I have to blame Mike for fuelling Pez’s obsession with getting a motorbike!

Hanoi has been a bit more eventful. We have visited the famous Hoàn Kiêm Lake, the Hóa Lò prison Anne wandered about the Old Quarter. The lake is a respite from the crazy traffic of Hanoi and a bit of a paradise for young lovers! The prison, which has mostly been converted into a hotel/shopping centre complex, is a communist propaganda account of the humane treatment of American air pilots. Of course the only perspective is from the Vietnamese and the video showing them being allowed to make Christmas dinner and play basketball is a little cringe worthy. The Old Quarter is insane! It is like walking through a maze of people, bikes, cars and vendors. I love that each street is named after what it sells though, e.g. Silk street. Pez insists that consumer electronic street was the most popular in the 1890s. If only it was named in English rather than what looks like funny euphemisms. Our favourite street is “Hung Dong”!

This evening we went to the Opera House of Hanoi to see a collection of classic chamber works and fancy romantic action, including some ballet and opera. We had a private booth which was invaded by a Vietnamese man half way through the evening. Pez asked him to leave, but as he spoke no English he stayed standing behind my chair, breathing on my neck. It was infuriating. Thankfully, he left after a minute or two of his own accord. The performance and the Opera House were quite stunning and as I have never been to anything like that, it was nice to be initiated in Vietnam!

Tomorrow, we are off on a 3 day tour to Halong Bay, spending 2 nights on junk boat. I am super duper excited and will write more when we are back in Hanoi. Although, apparently the boat has an Internet connection which baffles me.

We have abandoned our audience

But you don’t mind. Do you? Hello?

We have spent 5 days in Hué, but rain stopped us from doing very much, lame!

About to get on to a plane to Hanoi this afternoon so once we are settled, we’ll let you know what’s been going on.

On a side note, if anyone would like anything from Asia that they want shipped home let us know and we will try to accommodate. Apple fans should appreciate that items sadly are not cheaper here so don’t ask. Boo. Other tech is cheaper though. So get thinking y’all.


Hoi An. Some photos.

Have a spin on my propellor.

Should have left my radio controlled race car in the hold.


Japanese Bridge


Travel in antiquated style


I could see Noony's face taking this. Either jealousy or sadness at how camp I look


A'top of the marble mountains


Yep. We were those guys.


Beach Matrix.


We were in Vietnam in December 2010.


I like the lining. eh?

This charming man (in Hoi An)

Peter thinks we have died. We haven’t. Far from it. We are in fact alive, but not kicking, I’ve bloody done my back in this morning leaning over to turn the alarm off. Noony laughs at me when I move slightly, go “schhh, oooooooh”‘ and have to sit down for a minute.

We haven’t written about Nha Trang, the seaside resort of Vietnam because it was an absolute wash-out. It rained constantly for the three days we were there. We were going to have a sand building contest and let you, our friends and family, victoriously vote for mine. So yes. Nha Trang nothing to say.

We arrived three days ago in Hoi An, (not to be confused with Hanoi, an up and coming destination) and we think it has been our favourite place so far. Noony says it has been exactly how she imagined Vietnam to be. Rustic riverside architecture, vintage boutiques, and quiet roads. Hoi An is famed for its tailors and yes, I bought one. A bespoke charcoal suit with matching waistcoat, dark blue lining and five tailor made shirts, the only shirts I have ever worn that is a skinny fit but I can do the top button up over my Robert Wadlow of an adams apple. It works out at about 20% of British bespoke prices so i am happy. It is currently being shipped back to England via seamail. Inside the container also is a day’s worth of shopping which I shan’t speak off. Noony wants it to be a surprise for our return but mainly we don’t know how you’ll feel about matching crocodile skin swimming caps as your christmas presents.

The only thing we would change about the town is the unrelenting sales techniques; if only they knew that leaving you alone might encourage you to buy something rather than standing by the door, shouting “come in please”, and showing the slightest interest means they invade such intimate personal space and generally hover over you like flies on Noony’s face. It was such a deterrent that the only shop that didn’t show any interest, we bought everything in it. Not sure what to do with the Grandmother though.

We rented a motorbike for the day from the hotel and drove to the Marble Mountains, (think Ayer’s rock, flat lands with a big stone in the middle of nowhere.) then stopped off at the beach for lunch. With the amount of souvenir shops selling marble goods, they will soon only be able to call it Mountain. Having looked like utter western morons outside the hotel where we couldn’t find the lock switch to open the seat to get the helmets (in the ignition hole), not being able to turn the motorbike on (you need to hold the brake) and trying to pull away for the first time with Noony on the back, I couldn’t have felt more useless. But after about 30 seconds it was fine and great fun. Noony says she felt safe, even when we side-skidded through the middle of a tanker and flipped over the ramp before the lorry exploded by the red sunset.

Photos to follow shortly. Head to Hue tomorrow morning. Tata for now.

Delightful Dalat

Hello from Dalat, Vietnam!

We left HCM City at 9am on 25th and a mere 8 hours and 320 Km later arrived in Dalat which is a small town in the highlands on a plateau 1500m above sea level. It is cold here! For the first time we have broken out our hoodies from the backpacks! The town is also known as “the city of eternal spring” as the weather is always the same between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius, which means there are all kinds of fruit and vegetables growing all year round.

The hostel we are staying in is lovely. It kind of feels like staying at a relatives house as everyone is so friendly. The room is basic but perfect. On our first day here we did very little, other than wonder about the town. Pez and I tried Vietnam’s version of pizza, which is odd to say the least. The base is made of sweet pastry! Pez ate most of his anyway!

Today, we went on an “easy-rider” tour around Dalat, which is basically hopping on the back of a motorbike. Last night, I was really worried as I have never been on a bike before, but to my surprise it was a smooth and relatively slow ride. We set off at 7am, Pez on the back of a girl named Sun and I was on the back of a guy who did not speak any English! First we visited a cricket farm and then were offered a plate of deep fried adult crickets with chilli sauce to try. I am ashamed to say neither of us could bring ourselves to eat any. I tired and picked one up but one of it’s legs was sticking out of the batter and I just couldn’t bear it! Sun thought we were really odd for not wanting to try but she was happy enough as there were more for her.

Next we visited a silk farm, which is my idea of hell. Silk worms galore hatching into hideous white moths. Ick. Thankfully, none were flying around so I contained my fear. Each cocoon is a tightly wound bundle of silk which they dunk in hot water and unravel, then use the reels of silk to make scarves, ties and gowns with a Victorian style loom. I bought a silk scarf for £3!

Dalat is most famous for the waterfalls all around the area, most of which are overrun with tourists. Our tour was a secret run by the hostel as they go to the areas without any other people around. We went to a waterfall called the Elephant and climbed down into a cave under the fall (and got absolutely soaked!). It was incredible!

On the way to visit a local village tribe in the hills, we stopped to look at a coffee farm. Sun told us that coffee was selling for 45,000 Dong last year but now it is about 25000 Dong. She said that the drop in price caused a lot of people to commit suicide as they lost a lot of money this year. When we got to the village we met Rot, who works at the hostel where we are staying. We stopped at his parents house who made us tofu and noodle soup. Pez did very well to try lots of it. I thought it was delicious and ate 2 bowls! Then Sun provided us with heaps of local fruit. We tried miniature apples, water apple, dragon fruit, and a load of others that I don’t know how to pronounce or spell! All things I have never heard of and nothing whatsoever like fruit in the UK. Some was savoury, some was like powder on the inside. After lunch we walked further into the village and sat with a family who make handwoven silk. It is so intricate and much more skilled than the loom in the factory. It started to pour with rain and the children playing outside came running in. The grandma picked up one of her bamboo sticks and thwacked them all viciously. We didn’t really understand why!

Finally we started the journey back, and stopped at a mushroom farm halfway, where they grow mushrooms called elephant ears, you can guess why! The journey back was exhausting as we didn’t stop as often. Our bums and backs are completely broken! Hopefully we can sleep it off tonight so we are repaired for the bus to the seaside town of Nha Trang tomorrow morning.

Spending some Dong on the Viet Cong

And I'm gonna be... High... As a kite

Oh hello there!

Vroom vroom


Noony's roots are showing. Eh? Boom boom!

What’s that Robin Williams catchphrase again?

So we arrived in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City to you communists) after an absolutely exhausting 15 hour bus ride. The border crossing was less hassle for us, but for the poor French buggers that put the wrong date on their visa, their border crossing was less than successful. Ho Chi Min is huge. It took an hour to get into the city from the ‘suburbs’ and the amount of motorbikes is staggering. 6 million of ’em. All trying to dodge around you as you risk life and limb getting from pavementless A to B. This city has a much nicer vibe than any in Cambodia. Y’know, like religious iconography but with a Saved by the Bell vibe?

After taking a day out to sleep for 16 hours straight, we took the chance to walk around the main district of the city. We walked up past the cathedral to the War museum. Very anti-American, but to be honest, they weren’t cool were they. Photo evidence showed us. Obviously the Viet Cong didn’t play nice either, but still. Pretty horrific war. The photo journalist requiem room with photos by Capa among others lay next to the children’s play room? What? Anyway, the museum was full of artefacts from the war and was very interesting. A new instalment was put in the day before to show the effects of agent orange. Poor babies. Their remains were kept in formaldehyde for our enjoyment. We got a late dinner and retired early as our war theme continued the next day.

Today we set off at 8am to Cu Chi tunnels, the huge network of tunnels that the Viet Cong had built as a stronghold for Saigon. Our tour guide was called Pxi, “as in cofFEE, which is also like me, black but sweet”. As he sat in a plastic cup at the front of the tour bus we travelled for well over an hour to the tunnels. The tour included walking round over the tunnels and sitting in a hut to watch an overtly anti-American propaganda war video where the “crazed devils bombed these peaceful people”. Actually, that sounds about right. They have a point. Not that I’m easily influenced or anyfink.

There was an opportunity to go into the holes, but they were so small, a western tunnel was expanded to 50cm wide by 120cm high rather than the 22cm by 30cm of all the other 200km. There was a chance to get in a V.C. hole and noony prodded me forward in front of our group. Having lost a stone since being here my lesser protruding belly merely touched the sides. Noony’s and other women’s child bearing hips didn’t stand a chance. There was a display of all the ingenious floor traps that were laid out for the Americans. Much more than bamboo spikes covered gently with leaves. No, no. Intricate rollers that pierce you as you sink further in, and weight bearing contraptions that cut you the more you struggle. The SAW franchise has nothing on these mentalists.

After walking round and being very well informed by Pxi, when a spoon wasn’t in his mouth, we went to the shooting range. A buck a bang! There was a choice of weapon from AK-47, carbines, heavy machine guns, I went for the M16 and bought 10 rounds. I was expecting it to be a bare table with resting weaponry, an open field and a barrel of hay, but to Noony’s utter relief, there was a sense of refined order in how the shooting happened. We were led down a bunker path to a range where the rifles were all fixed facing down the range. All you had to do was hold on and fire. Bit of a shame really. I’d like to get back into shooting, but maybe not with a war relic.

Celebrating my blood thirst with an ice-cream we somehow lost our group but found them at the foot of the western hole. Noony and I were third and fourth down the hundred metre long black tunnel when 15 metres into it the woman in front, panicked and unsuccessfully tried to turn back. Every 20 metres or so there are exit points to climb up and Noony said at the next one that she was leaving through one. I carried on to the next exit point then left as my legs were giving up shuffling along on my squatted ankles with a full backpack. After finding Noony, both drenched in sweat, she said she, understandably, panicked when the woman in front started freaking out. But enough about that, how the Vietnamese did it in a space much less, with bombs, rats, army dogs, ticks, bullets and crazed devils.

So, after playing goodies and baddies for the day, we retreated to our hostel. Tomorrow we head for Dalat to look at nice scenery. Bye for now. Photos and videos of today to follow.

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