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Good evening Vietnam December 16, 2006

Posted by Amanda in Uncategorized.
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We are flying out of Vietnam tonight after almost a month. So it is time for a bit of reflection on what has been an interesting and, at times, frustrating few weeks.

Hoian and Sapa have been real highlights. Hoian was a great place with excellent food and a laidback atmosphere. We returned to Hanoi from Sapa yesterday and despite some terrible weather it was a really fascinating place. We managed to do a walk to the villages and the scenery was spectacular.

Hanoi is confusing to navigate and the noisiest place we have ever been. I can’t say we will be sad to leave even though it has been quite an experience. We fly to Bangkok tonight and we are looking forward to the peace and quiet! Yes we are talking about Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. The traffic and horns here are crazy!!! You can’t hear yourself think.

One thing that has really got to us has been the hassle throughout Vietnam. At times it has been very tempting to write an entry titled “Vietnam rhymes with scam”. Whereever you go in Vietnam, you are constantly approached by people trying to sell you something- motorbike rides, cyclo rides, food, cigarettes, accommodation, tours, souvenirs etc etc etc. It is a neverending barrage and often you get followed and badgered. They also use the technique of asking where you are from and trying to engage you in conversation in order to keep you talking and sell something. After a couple of weeks (or days!) you don’t want to make eye contact or speak to anyone because it is virtually certain that they are trying to make a sale. We have found that we have not had conversations with Vietnamese people as we have had in other countries because of this. It is really very sad.

Unfortunately this annoyance also goes hand in hand with not getting what you pay for. You are told that breakfast is included in the room only to arrive and find out it isn’t. You get completely ripped off in a taxi that has a bodgy meter. You book one class of train sleeper only to get there to find out you are in the lower class- it goes on and on. We haven’t had these problems elsewhere in Asia as much as here.

Of course this is just our experience and there must be a lot of trustworthy, friendly Vietnamese people but we have been left with a bad taste in our mouths.

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