After a day of sitting round the airport, we finally got out of cambodia - flying vietnam air to saigon (ho chi minh city;hcmc). In typical cambodian style, the customs lady realised lim could speak khmer and held our passports ransom until lim handed over a small 'donation' - $2. it seems that in corrupt countries it can be better at times to be a dumb foreigner that doesn't understand the language - it makes you too much of a hassle to be a bribe target.
from the saigon airport we jumped the locals bus at 70cents each into the city. the cheap transport was good, but even better is simply avoiding taxi drivers. saigon was a real shock - busy busy city. you really come to appreciate simple things like a sidewalk for walking. i didn't exactly love the constant noise and hawkers, but it drove lim completely nuts. maybe because ppl kept assuming she was vietnamese and rattling of at her to buy stuff.
we walked around a few of the 'american' war exhibits, before deciding that the thing to do in saigon is drink.
the next day we high tailed it out of there on the way to some beachside vietnam; mui ne is a small beach-side resort town.
we are starting to get some back packing routines - we turn up on the door step of an internet or lonely planet published hotel. the next morning we walk around the neighbourhood looking for a room that meets our spec - clean, off the road (quiet), fridge, and aircon.
day 2 in mui ne saw us in a $20usd/night beach side bungalow with nothing between us and sand.
mui ne is a hotspot for kite and wind surfing. at one point lim counted 48 kite surfers in the bay. some of these guys were seriously good, doing the sort of jumps you see on those extreme sports clips.
i was absolutely itching for a good swell - apparently the beach gets good surfing waves. i had to make do with a bit of body surfing. the water was actually really poluted and dirty, it looked like the (many) resorts pump their waste straight into the water. i ended up with an ear ache.
we settled in to four days of learning to really, really relax. i've prolly not been this care free since i was ten.
lim is pretty relaxed, but her main concerns haven't changed - you can see her struggling with that ever present human dilemna - what to eat next?
eventually we managed to get motivated to leave our bungalow, we caught a couple of xe om (motor bikes) and taxis to a train station 30km away to grab a train. we camped out in a tiny train station for 5 hours; thank the heavens for cheap vietnamese whiskey.
eventually our train arrived - lim enthusiastically kept our bags safe whilst we tried to figure out where to board.
with the help of a local boy (10c tip required) we got away.
the train seats were 'hard sleepers', which means 6 bunks per compartment with no matresses.
after a heated argument with a nha trang taxi driver we got to the hotel we wanted. lim was more then happy to get into our nice (20usd) room.
the next day lim landed us a similar room, but only 8usd per night - go lim !
so, now we plan to spend 10 days enjoying this:
and watching lemur street on the animal channel:
(lim is almost in tears because gizmo the littlest young male has a hurt leg but his mother wont look after him and he may get eaten by a snake)