“We’ve found a place where the weekend’s long” (Ziggy Marley). The weeks in Thailand have flown by. I really need to dig in my memory, as the days started to look the same. In the morning we spent hours on our balcony, enjoying our full breakfast spiced up with reggae music and exotic fruits. We transformed in two easygoing souls. We even let the waves and tides determine what we would do next. Surfing or hanging-out somewhere, doing whatever.
We’ve pretty much uncovered every corner in Kata Beach and managed to escape only three times. The bumpy bustrip to Phuket Town bored us. The Muay Thai competition at the Bangla Boxing Stadium in Patong happened to be our only cultural moment. And a perfect night out ended up in Karon. A hilarious Kiwi couple, the two of us, a bar full of lady boys and a rocking Thai cover band turned out to be a very amusing recipe!
Let’s say we’ve enjoyed a real holiday. Nothing spectacular, despite the escaped croc who was preying on every beachgoer’s mind. Let alone our surfer’s mind…
The Kata break fully recharged our travel stamina. We could’t wait to get on the road again! Even our dreams at night confirmed our eager to travel. The first weeks our brains made over hours dreaming about things like home, work and saying goodbye. The last week it was more fun and all about traveling and our bucket list. Does it mean we finally digested the rollercoaster that comes with going on a world trip and letting go of almost everything? Who knows… 🙂
Anyway, it’s time for some new adventures! We headed back to Da Nang. Firstly, to continu our overland trip and secondly to make up our mind about Vietnam. Vietnam has not stolen our hearts yet but deserves a second chance.
Vietnam is in a high speed development. It must have changed a lot in the last ten years and likely to change again in the next ten years. Giant resorts emerged from the ground. We’ve seen kilometers of advertising billboards lining up the coast for more to come. Cosmopolitan bubbles are being constructed in the main cities, while time still stands still in rural areas. It’s developing fast, maybe too fast…
The tourism industry grew exponential and I don’t think it will stop. Vietnam is relaxing visa regulations, the hardest in the Mekong region, and not to forget it is suprisingly cheap. Top tourist places are overloaded with a melt of Chinese, Aussies, Russians and Europeans, who are hassled by street vendors, irritated by honking scooters, and frustrated about lousy tours. I don’t get the point in standing on a not so spectaculair scenic point with hunderds of others, all waiting for their touring bus to leave to the next mediocre high light of their daytour. Luckily for us it was a way to get from A to B.
That said, outside the top touristic places it’s much more enjoyable, but still, is it charming Vietnam? The nature is beautiful, people are nice, rich history, endless coastline… perhaps it was just us in a desperate need of a Kata break.
So Vietnam part II, it is! We arrive at the end of the day, we are welcomed by the honking scooters and crash down at the first crowded restaurant near our guesthouse. The local menu is taken away from us and we get offered far less meals in English on a piece of paper, probably for a higher price. We don’t complain it was only €7,40 for a simple dinner for two! Doubtful we choose, while the locals are busy drinking and toasting out loud around tables overloaded with food. Hmmm…. We suffer a bit of a Vietnam food phobia. It drives us crazy, in particular after all the tasty Thai food! All was fine until we met Jim weeks ago. Jim lives in Vietnam for 13 years, runs a snackbar and shared with us all the horror food stories he knew. I’ll spare you the details but let’s say that during the famine after the war people got very creative. This goes further than eating dogs and exotic delicatesses like frogs, fertilised eggs and chicken feet, which is not really specific to Vietnam. Besides, the Dutch ate Tulip bulbs during the “Hunger Winter” and many nationalities will probably skip the raw haring we love so much.
Some spinage, noodles and a beer later we call it a day. The next chapter of our world trip starts early. Well, was planned to start early as trains are less punctual than in Russia. No hurry :). We enjoy to be on the train again, the rocking motion, people jumping in and out, the green sceneries, the vendors who come along. A lively happening.
We also agreed to forget Jim’s food stories. There is no point in getting paranoia and moreover we need to eat something on this ten hours train trip!
We go to the limit straight away and follow the locals. When in Vietnam… We try the cold sausages on sticks and some unidentified meat the vendor puts in our hands. They’ve traveled the train up and down all day long and did I already mention the cockroaches who are walking up and down the train too? I’ve stopped counting at cockroach number five… It was a lot to take in but the meat was quite tasty, I must say. We will see if there are any consequences tomorrow 😉
We around the world is back on track!