NOT MANY SLEEPS!!!!!
While the idea of coming home is nice, the prospect ofworking in 4 days is pretty depressing (no offence Gail and the team!)
Saigon has been amazing! We went to the Cu Chi tunnels which was a highlight for Stu. Stu went through about 130metres of the tunnels where as Marcelle only managed about 15. They were so narrow at one point that Stu was on his hands and knees, and couldn't see anything, and the temperature was unbelievable! Hard to believe that the prospect of capture or worse by the American soldiers was so bad that they had to go to these measures. Very moving stuff! Google them if you get a chance...
On the way out we sampled rice wine with a pickled snake in it. You now know that we infact WILL drink anything!
After that we went to the War Reminents Museum. I can't even go there with you about it. I am tearful just thinking about the stuff we saw in there. The blatant disregard to human life was unreal. Stu gave a speech last night to our tour leader about the Vietnamese people and how amazing and beautiful they are, and how they have just embraced us. You would never ever know that someof those absolute atrosities happened to them. Of all the nations in the world, this one was the least deserving of the things that happened to them. We have seen definate proof that agent orange was abundant here and that it has left devastating results on some people. We thought of you Janeo when we went through the museum because we know that you would have appreciated it with all of your knowledge.
On to happier things though...
Last night was our final night with the tour group. We had a lovely dinner and then went to KAROKE!!!! A room to ourselves + a few crates of beer = a great night! Mine and Stu's best moment was "Islands in the stream". Dancing, and actions and all! Stu's best solo moment though was "Say You, Say Me". A dedication to our tour leader who only knew Lionel Richie songs and "Eternal Flame" by The Bangles because they were slow and he could understand the English! Funny stuff!
Today we did the MOTHER of all shops! We brought a pink suitcase and literally walked around Saigon buying stuff and filling the suitcase. Vietnamese people are pack horses and one guy was so horrified at out packing skills that he unpacked the whole thing and repacked it for us! They had more North Face jackets so I got 2 more and Stu got one. Timberland boots, NEW CROCS! Lmao! Chanel handbags, DVDS...the list goes on! We are pretty happy with what we got :o)
We are sitting in hotel reception drinking local beer while we write this, but an early night for us tonight because tomorrow is our last day.
We might blog again fromSingapore because we are there for24 hours.
We have decided to have an open door policy on Saturday when we get home. Come over from mid afternoon and see us and have a drink. We can't promise anything coz we might be jet lagged, but it could end up at the pub? We will just take it as it comes. Can you all please let everyone know - Bry can you be in charge on letting Shan and Andrew know? If they're around? Or haven't read this? Lol! All are welcome and all are welcome to stay the night too. We would LOVE to see all of you!
Lysh...Yes to the 19th, are XLR8 playing that night? Haven't forgotten your smokes either, just fix me up on Saturday, on my doorstep where you will be waiting ;o)
Pamo, thanks in advance for the pickup, don't worry about bring jackets, we have millions :o)
Love to everyone, see you really soon!
Marcelle and Stu
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Yo! (we think that means 'cheers' in Vietnamese...)
Since we last blogged we have done a few weird things...
We caught the reunification express train (during the day which sucked! 9 hours!) to Nga Trang which is where we are at the moment. The night we got here we went to The Sailing Club to have an infamous 'Jam Jar'...2 Jam Jars later neither of us can remember much of the night, but there was a lot of probably bad dancing, and a 2am home time...Apparantly its the vietnamese vodka that they put in them...1/4 of a bottle in each jam jar and a bit of orange juice, but you would NEVER know! It totally crept up on you. We are almost ashamed to say that we got THAT drunk off 2 drinks...but we did...
The next morning, we had a boat ride...Yes a boat ride, we should have listened to Tu (our tour leader) when he told us NOT to get the 2nd Jam Jar lol! It was all good after the anti nausea pills kicked in ;o) Stu jumped off the top of the boat and went snorkelling, and he got a massage and Marcelle got a pedicure. Bliss! Had a lovely lunch out there and came back in the afternoon. Last night we went to a novel restaurant - they brough mini BBQ's to your table and you cooked all sorts of meat and fish etc on them to your liking. Very smokey and noisey but a fantastic night! Back to the Sailing club after that, but only beers this time. They had a fantastic House DJ on and we brought his CD - Janeo you will love it!!
Today we had 13 motorbike riders pull up to our hotel to take us tiki touring. We went to a hindu temple first (AVERAGE!) and then to the mud baths! They were sooooo good! We are all soft and silky smooth! You have to shower first, then lie in the mud bath, then bake the mud on in the sun, then shower it off, then bathe in a mineral pool, then shower again, then swim in a mineral pool. All of the pools were hot as! Lovely experience! We then got back on our bikes and went to a Buddhist Orphanage. The kids were on Stu the minute he walked in! He was lifting them up and throwing them around - fantastic photos! We then had a vegan lunch which we had to make a donation for. It was interesting, some nice food and some not so much...Then back on our bikes to go and see 2 GIANT Buddha statues. Pretty cool stuff.
We are just about to go and board the reunification express train again. We get into Saigon at 4am! Blah! We have to kill 4 hours in day rooms with 3 other people at the hotel because we can't check in until later...its going to be painful! The we head off to the Mekong Delta for the day. Should be good stuff to report.
Not long now guys! We are a bit bittersweet about coming home because we love Vietnam so much, but we are looking forward to seeing everyone and playing with our dogs! (and Frank!)
Love to all!
Marcelle and Stu
PS...To whoever was asking, Marcelle finally found Ralph ;o)
Friday, July 4, 2008
Oh, and apparantly "Yum" in Vietnamese means horny...so maybe we should stop using it at every restaurant we go to...we only found out today, and we have been here a week...thats 3 meals a day, which have all been pretty "Yum"...you do the maths and try and work out how many people we have offended...
We just realised that we haven't actually blogged for awhile, so we will take it back a few dáys...
We started our tour back in Hanoi, there are 13 people on it and everyone ís really nice. The first day of our tour we caught an overnight sleeper train to Hue. It was absolutely amazing compared to the trains in India! We had to share our room with a random Vietnamese guy and he got pretty dark with us for putting our feet on what we thought was our bed...oops! It actually went really quickly and we both managed to sleep which was good.
We got into Hue at about 9am, our hotel was pretty flash! We caught a boat down the river and went to see some pagodas and tombs (once you've seen one, you've seen the, all!). The rest of our tour went for an afternoon motorbike ride, but we already had a wee one so flagged it and went back on the boat on our own. We had to wake up the crew when we got back to it which was embarassing!! We went and had lunch at a floating restaurant- they had eels in tanks that you could have cooked for you...yuck! We went out for dinner with our tour group that night- Stu had a never ending set menu.
The next day we travelled by (HOT) bus toHoi Ann, and we have both fallen in love with this place! People are friendly, easy to get around, fantastic shopping and beaches. And our hotel has a pool! Yay! We have visited areputable tailor here and Marcelle is having a 3 piece suit made - trialed it today and its lovely! and Stu got them to replicate his fave pair of levis...you have no idea! They look like the real deal, so hes getting 4 pairs made for US$35 each! Bargain! Marcelle also had some sandals made for US$10 each. We had lunch in a back ally street stall and it was by far the nicest meal we have had! We had rice paper rolls which you fill with various stuff (seafood, salads etc) and then roll up and dip into different sauces. So good! Stu had the lady there waiting on him and making his rolls for him and feeding him!
Last night we went out for dinner and got on the booze. Our tour leader got pretty munted and it was hilarious! He wasdrinking Jack Daniels on the rocks...yuck! When we were walking home people would yell out"Hello" to us and he would sing back "Hello, is it me you're looking for" (Lionel Ritchie) and he also played a bit of pool cue guitar...nothing funnier than a chubby wee drunk Vietnamese man!
Today we hired bicycles and rode to the beach through the country side. It was lovely and we really felt 'amongst' it. The beach was beautiful and we had a swim and a lax before biking back to the hotel and going to get a clothes fitting at the tailors. We did a half day cooking course today (Yes Pam, I know! Stu ACTUALLY did a cooking course!) we went to the market and learned about the fruit and veges and herbs and we brought some Vietnamese kitchen 'tools', and then took a boat cruise down the river to see the fishermen. Our teacher was great, trying his hardest to work on his slang...some of it made ZERO sense! We both did pretty well, we made Eggplant Claypot, Seafood Salad in a pineapple bowl, rice paper, rice paper rolls and learnt how to make fancy garnishes. Marcelle was told she was top of the class for the garnishes...some things never change (*Cough* Dux of Richmond Primary School). We got to eat it all as we made it and then they made all the dishes for us as well so we were chocka!
Marcelle is very VERY sunburnt so we arehaving a laxey night tonight, and trying to keep cool.
The language and the people here are hillarious, I will give you some stories...
Today we were at the beach and a lady was trying to get us tobuy her Chinese Zodiac necklaces. She looked at my insect bites and said "See! Shit happen to you because you not have one of my necklaces, if you had one of my lucky necklaces, shit not happen to you"
When we were at the market, our guide explained Fruit and veges like lettuce and cabbage as "Same Same but different". WTF!
When we were on our bike ride today, one of the girls on our tour lost control of her bike, and rode into a bush. An old lady biking past who was pretty old thought it was the funniest thing she had ever seen and was cackling away! I guess to her its an every day thing...riding the SHITTEST bike you have ever seen through pot holes...Gold!
Well that is about it really. Tomrrow we catch a day train to Nga Trang, and hopefully to some surf for Stu!!!
We are loving it here, it might beat Africa...not sure yet though.
Missing and loving everyone!!!
Marcelle and Stu
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Jesus Jane! Its called "Stu and Marcelles Big Trip" not "Jane Fest!" Just joking, its nice to hear from you and hear about how Bryn is getting on :o)
Well as you all know, we are in Hanoi. Our tour technically starts tonight, and we will be travelling by sleeper train to Hoi Ann tomorrow night.
We decided to go to Halong Bay for the night, as it wasn't included in our tour. We left our hotel room booked as it meant we could leave all of our stuff in it. After much deliberation about which of the 50 million tour companys to go with, we decided on Indochina Sails. It was a 3 hour drive to Halong Bay, but well worth it! The boat was beautiful! 3 floors; accomodation and dining. There were about 20 other guests on the boat with us which was a really good sized group. The rooms were lovely! Everything was catered for, robes, hairdryers, the works! On the first day we got a 7 course lunch! Little tastes of everything. The meal was going swimmingly, with the crew doing really well catering to a vegetarians needs - vegetarian spring rolls, crumbed tofu, creamy pumpkin soup, all garnished to the hilt! Until the grand finale...Stu had grilled fish with glass noodles and I was given a lovely big bowl of steaming, microwave cooked...Baked Beans...beautiful! We both got the giggles and just couldn't stop laughing. The crew all stood there and stared at me but I just couldn't stop...The anti climax of it all!
The scenery from the boat was breath taking! Many many limestone cliffs jutting out of blue water, Islands everywhere, just stunning! We went to a floating fishing village where 600 people lived. It was unbelivable! Some of them had pet dogs! Little kids would row up to our boat and try and sell us shells and stuff. We went to Ti Top Island and Stu and I spent the whole 2 hours in the water, it was our first swim of the whole holiday! That night there was the most amazing thunder and lightening storm! Pretty impressive from a boat in the middle of the water. For dinner Stu ate only meat and seafood...4 plates of it! Not a single vegetable! Pam are you proud? They made up for the baked bean incident by making me my own sperate meals, while everyone else had buffet. Pretty sweet. The next day we went to Surprise Cave which was pretty cool, a bit of a hike though! And then we ported back at Halong City, and came back to Hanoi yesterday afternoon.
The whole way to and from Halong, we had a guy in our van who was Thai, but had an american accent, and a erm...hired looking 'escourt'...and all he did was talk on his Blackberry about how Jean Claude Van Damn (or 'JC' to those who know him...) wanted to shoot a film at his beachhouse in Bangkok and how he was taking him there when he got back from Vietnam. I swear he rung every damn person he knew and told them! It was a tedious 6 hour round trip...Not a great claim to fame we decided...I mean, name one reputable, Jean Claude movie...And didn't he go to jail for beating his wife? Whaddaguy!
Anyway... the eating here has been unreal! We went to the flashest restaurant you have ever seen in your life the other night, and all up for entrees and drinks, it cost us about $30NZD. So cheap!
Last night we went to a couple of pubs...the first one was exactly like Watts Road, except everyone was older, and you had to pay for the beers...the 'band'...well...ummmm...the guiatarist, although flamboyant, seemed to think he was a lot better than he actually was, and had somehow convinced his band of this too. It was all very fast, with little feel and little actual talent. The bassist and the drummer kept a good back beat, but that was about it...
The second pub was called Seventeen Saloon, need I say anymore?? The bouncers all stood round with their thumbs in their belt loops, with cowboy hats and chaps on. The 'band' was a bit better this time. 2 female singers wearing little to nothing, but one of them could actually belt them out. We were waited on and Stu even got the eye from a couple of 'colourful' ladies. Needless to say we kept our distance. When the band finished they started thumping out very bad trance music, that was our cue to leave. I am feeling slightly worse for wear today as that was our first big night out in a while, and we are still on the Malaria pills which make 5 beers seem like 10! Excuses huh ;o)
We change hotels today, as our tour starts from a less flash one than the one we are currently in, so we are off to pack again.
Hope all is well with everyone, Lysh how was the date?
hi mummy (stu) and hi bry
Yep, thats your lot Pam and Bry! Lap it up!
Love and hugs to everyone!!!!
Marcelle and Stu
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Did you like that title Jess?? :o)
We made it! And it is ALL that and a bag of chips!
As you know, we left the horror story that was India (my insect blisters are still healing!) and flew to Singapore early. From one extreme to another...we stayed in a luxery hotel in Singapore which was fantastic! Went to Hogsbreath Cafe for tea - Stu got his Jalepeno and cheese steak - and then on to the Hard Rock Cafe for drinks and watched an acoustic covers band...BLISS!!!!!! Flew into Hanoi this morning and we love it! Our Hotel is really nice, and not too far from central Hanoi. We ventured out today for dinner etc and loved it! Dinner was by far the BEST Vietnamese (sp?) food we have ever had! $20 for 2 entrees, 2 mains, 4 big beers and 2 waters. Cheap as when thats a fairly high end restaurant by Lonely Planet standards! It was a restored house converted into a restaurant with all brick interior and dinky wee stairs. Really nice!
You drive on the right hand side of the road over hear which is weird, and there have been a few near misses when crosing the road :o/
Stu brought the 3rd season of Prision Break for NZ$4.50! There are so many bargains to be had! We resisted shopping too much tonight, as we have 4 more nights here, and don't want to do it all in one.
We are planning to go to a Seafood restaurant tomorrow where Stu gets to actually pick a live fish, and they cook it for him. Classy! I might buy them all and set them free! Free Mahi Mahi!
Not much more to report since we have only been here since 1pm! 8 hours...
Hope all is well with everyone. Good luck with your date Lysh. Remember that you will never pay for milk if you can get it for free...;o) JOKES!!! Let us know how it goes!
Love and hugs and missing everyone (especially Stella with her dumb wee face!)
Marcelle and Stu
Monday, June 23, 2008
Yo to all my homies.. We have decided to make our way back to Singapore today, basicly we don't think there's much left for us to do here, as most things are shut on mondays in India. We made a call to The Flight Centre this morning and they have hooked us up with flights a day earlier.
we will spend time in Singapore instead,which will give us time to visit Sentosa Island etc.. and they have a Hard Rock Cafe/HogsBreath Cafe, which serve the biggest steaks known to man-kind... respect!! so damn excited...
sounds like you all had fun over the weekend? days don't seem to matter much for us as we lost track way back in Africa.. its weird to even comprehend work. (the sign of a good holiday)
well thats about it really... you may have noticed that it's not Marcelle typing, she does a way better job lol
peace out and respect!!