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Travelogues - Musings Of The Amused

Welcome to my travelogues. Here is where I will be keeping a record of my travels for all of you to read. Please feel free to leave a comment for me unless it is regarding spelling or general usage of words...I know I am no spelling bee and as long as you get where I am going with my drift it is all good. If I have time in between discovering new places and causing trouble...running amuck in general, I will reply to them!

Diary Entries

Monday, 21 November 2005

Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

Travelogue #7 - And I dub thee...the haggle queen of the north!!


We meet again, readers of the log!

I hope this email find you all alive and well...I myself am recovering from a rather sore throat, but no need to raise the alarms I have not been plagued by the bird flu, at least that's what I'll be telling customs on the way home :-)

It is with great sadness that I announce I am down to my second last day of Vietnam fun...Jules & I shall leave Christopher and fly to Hong Kong on 23rd for a few days of intense shopping and Disneyland before coming home...

As per subject line, I have become quite a haggling queen and have given the locals a run for their monet - literally...I have so far sucessfully saved Jules about VD$180,000. My tactic is simple...pretend I don't speak Vietnamese, use my fingers to indicate that I want the price to be lower and mumble "same, same" every once in a while...works like a charm! ;-p

We spent the last few days on a boat in Halong Bay which was great fun...we were on a tour with two other Aussie couples and some Canadians and they turned out to be alot of fun!!

Highlight of the Harlong Bay trip...
Yawning over a cave we visited in Harlong Bay that closely resembled Jenolan Caves till our tour guide Kong pointed out the penis rock formation...appropriately illuminated in red.
Finding out the sad truth about snowflakes from the Canadian girls that we were travelling with, then cursing Disney movies for falsely misleading me to my romantic thoughts of Christmas in winter.
As per above...finding out that no one actually roasts chestnuts on an open fire...
Wetting my pants from laughter because one of the girls turned to Jules and Christopher and said - I quote "Are you guys married or brothers and sisters?"
Piking out on a hike up a mountain with the tour and instead befriended a guy who owns a hammock in shade...which I made good use of while waiting for the sweaty group of mountain climbers to return.
Braved the open sea and kayaked with a stranger across Harlong Bay...granted I had a life jacket on...but it was the overcoming of the possibility of capsizing that I think deserves a round of applause...
Overdosed on tofu and cucumber as it is served with EVERY meal we have had for the last few days...
Cringed as Jules and Christopher squatted on a street in Cat Ba Island drinking locals home brewed beer whilst I had my neck cracked by a total stranger...it was only in retrospect that I realised I offered up my neck for cracking far too easily...
Fought every temptation to sing "Blame Canada" every time I look at the Canadian girls.
I think that pretty much summed up our trip to Harlong Bay...we will probably spend tomorrow wondering Hanoi aimlessly, then laugh at Jules's emotional farewell to Christopher before jumping on a flight to Honkers...can't wait!

Wednesday, 16 November 2005

Location: Sapa, Vietnam

Travelogue #6 - A Continuation...


Hello again,

Due to my lazy fingers and need of sleep, I cut the last travelogue a bit short...so here it is - a continuation of the last log. It will once again be in point form as I am in no state to structure paragraphs or be clever...

After our short stay in Hoi Ann, we flew up to Hanoi where we were to catch a train to Lao Cai then bus it to Sapa (Confused? No problem, that was all just useless information to waste your time!) In between arriving in Hanoi and catching that train to Lao Cai we had a few hours up our sleeves so we decided to drink it away at a bar...many "tiger beers" and "aftershocks" later (watermelon juice for me...), it was finally time to hop on that train so we raced each other to the station in a "cyclo" <--(a man riding a bike which is attached to large seat...kinda like a rickshaw) , once at the station I noticed Jules starting to act a little "funny"...she wa screaming and carrying on like an idiot and ran up and down the carriage trying to meet new friends - the realisation hit me...Jules is drunk!! We had a carriage to ourselves except for one man from Israel named Sammy. I think Sammy was rather taken back at our constant giggling and bursts of laughing fits but he was a gentleman enough to carry on small talk with us for a while. Jules then decided she wanted to give making friends on the train another go and dragged Christopher with her, so I made my bed and fell asleep.
I awake the next morning to find that Jules had been puking her guts up all night in our carriage ON (note the difference kids...she puked "on" not "in") a plastic bag and then layed in her own filth for the remainder of the trip...poor Christopher has the honor of looking after her all night while I slept merrily on the bunk below...lucky I did too, if I had a whif of Jules's vomit, I too would have chucked...and that would not have been very nice...poor Sammy could barely manage a goodbye to us before hurrying off the train...iI don't think Sammy enjoyed our company much.
After the dramatic train ride we had to stay over night in Lao Cai because Jules was in no state to travel...she was sprawled on the seats at the train station vomiting bile...people kept coming up asking us if she was ok and eventually the train station staff came up to check whether an ambulance had to be called...so we dragged Jules to a nearby hotel for the worst hangover of her life...
For those of you worrying, Jules is ok...she was actually clean of alcohol since that night in Hanoi till last night...we are currently in Sapa enjoting ourselves...not only have I climbed a mountain, I have also managed to hike 14km across rice fields and rocky terrains...today though due to heavy fog and sore feet, we rented a jeep to take us to nearby villages and mountains for sightseeing...word of advice - don't drive in heavy fog...
Now I am back at the hotel feeling rather tired and appalled at my own efforts with this email...but I am beyond the point of care at the moment so I will regret this later...so tired...so cold...

Tuesday, 15 November 2005

Location: Hoi An, Vietnam

Travelogue #5 - No more sweat...what the?!


Good evening fine readers of the travelogue!

Once again I bring you chilling tales from beyond the shores of Oz...yes children, I am still deep within the web that Vietnam has woven and am currently slowly clawing my way to what appears to be an ending...it is still a little farther ahead but it is definitely in sight...

Now where do I begin?? Ah...yes, I last left you in Cambodia (refer to travelogue #4) where I had the pleasures of travelling to the temples of Angkhor and catching up with Anne.

Since then I have spent a few days in a little town called Hoi Ann...it's a town renowned for it's tailoring skills...seeing a window of opportunity here, I quickly negotiated (sweet talked if you will...) my way into being measured left, right and center so that I can get a few pairs of trousers which do not either a) need modification by Edward sisscorhands b) need folding thrice over before I can begin to walk in them or c) cause me to trip over. The results were a success...watch me parade my sexy pants down the catwalk when I return...it'll leave you with gaping mouths...pants that actually fit me...it is not a hoax, I kid you not...

Something else that we did (or attempt to do in my case...) in Hoi Ann was to spend an afternoon at the beach close by. Someone suggested that we ride bicycles to the beach to which I stupidly agreed, forgetting the terrible traumatising few days involving crazy traffic in Saigon. So we all hopped on a bike, the smallest one they had was still a little too high for me so I had to stand on the curb to mount my bike...I really should have seen it as an omen that it was not meant to be...but no, stubborn me decided to prove myself and ride slowly but surely toward the direction of the beach.
Traffic in Hoi Ann is not as busy as it is in Saigon but the roads still lacked any use of rules...so to dodge people on mopeds at one point I had to swerve onto the pedestrian strip on my bike and knocked over a barrel before bouncing back onto the road...I was beginning to regret this decision more and more, the sun was glaring at me like I just said something vulgar...Jules & Christopher was zooming ahead with ease and long legs...I started to notice that I was swaying to and from and was having difficulty keeping balance...thinking that it was my inane inability to ride a bike, I called out to Jules to tell her I was not going to make it to the beach and that I am turning back to the hotel...so off she went with Christopher in tow to the sun filled beach side fun while I dismounted my bike and began a slow walk back to the hotel...a little way back, I stopped to buy a bottle of water and a man sitting on the side of the road pointed at me and laughed...I was already in a bad mood and his laughing did not help so I turned my head and attempted to ignore him. He then called out to me and pointed again...I finally realise that he was pointing to the front wheel of the bike and realise to my shock horror that it is completely flat!!
So that's why I have been having so much trouble maintaining balance!! I wheeled my bike to a hotel further down the road and told them what had happened, they kindly found a bike pump to pump the tyre back up but due to a puncture in the tyre, it went flat almost as soon as it was pumped full. so in the end I had to pay them to drive me and the bike back to my hotel...fun day at the beach indeed!!

We didn't stay too much longer in Hoi Ann after that biking incident...we have flown up to Hanoi and have then trained it to Sapa which is where we are now...I would tell you more, but my fingers are tiring and I am suppose to trek 14km tomorrow so I'd better get to bed...wish me luck!

Wednesday, 09 November 2005

Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Travelogue #4 - From Cambodia with love...


Hello boys & girls,

I lied...this email isn't actually from Cambodia...but I have been to
Cambodia and back and I did intend to send this from Cambodia so I
decided to forego the acuracy of the title...that's not to say that
you should start doubting all things I state in my travelogues...I've
made it a point to let you know that I lied which means I am indeed a
honest folk and deserve to be on Santa's good list this year...

Moving right along, I have been in Cambodia for the last few days and
those of you who know to Anne Done, we caught up with her over there
and she says a giant hello to you folks back home...she has broken her
ankle running around the poolside intoxicated (let that be a lesson to
you all...) but she is doing well. I have taken plenty of photos and a
little video, when I work out how...I will email the footage of Anne
to you guys so you can all see what mischief she has been up to!! And
if my technical brilliance is not enough to work out how to email you
that footage, you shall just have to wait on the edge of your seat to
see her...

So what else did I do other than Anne you ask? Well, in point form...

* I befriended our taxi driver - Mickey. He is 26 years of age, not
yet married, shares a flat in Siam Reap with a taxi driving friend of
his, he pays USD$40 per month in rent, the taxi he drives is owned by
his parents and he speaks good english...he is also very ambitious, he
reads up on history of temples in angkor...in the near future, he
hopes to become a tour guide. He also goes by the alias Jimmy or
Trevor. Great as he may be...alas, he is nothing compared to my sweet
sweet cabana boy...oh how I yearn for him...*sob*

*I got naked in front of a little lady (Yes that's right baby!! I
still have it in me to be a raging dyke!! That's one for the home
team!!) I did not intend to get naked...I was only wanting a massage
at child labour prices...but she took me to a darkened room echoing
the brilliance that is Celine Dion...in the room there is a matress
which she asks me to lie on...she proceeds to ask me to derobe
myself...what happened next was a blur...I just remember feeling
pleasantly vulnerable and been touched in places that no stranger
should be touching...an hour later, I left that room in a daze feeling
slightly sore but wanting more...

* Also had my fortune told by a seer...she was freakishly
acurate...she began by telling me that I spend too much money...more
than I earn in fact, to which Jules hurriedly agrees...she then
proceeds to tell me that I have alot of girl friends and that I like
girls as more than friends...now that stumped me a little...I sat
there dumbfounded not knowing what to say while Jules sits there
cacking herself...a rather embarrasing few minutes if I do say so
myself.

* Was abused by a young boy whom we did not buy postcards from...he
kept telling us to f%^king this and f$&^king that...I told him that
swearing makes baby Jesus cry but then realised that he would have no
idea what I am talking about...

Oops...it seems like I am short on time once again...the internet cafe
is closing...just so you know, we have traned it up to Hoi Ann and
will be here for a few days...so till next time, miss me like a lost limb!!

Saturday, 05 November 2005

Location: Mekong River, Vietnam

Travelogue #3 - Sweating Is An Artform I Have Perfected


Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to the premier of "Travelgue - Episode III". Yes folks, it is that time again when I broaden your horizons with insight into this world...that's right...it is another one of Heidi's amazing travelogues!!! Brace yourselves people, critics have hailed it more sob worthy than "Zoolander", more action packed than "Pride & Prejudice", more drama filled than the all time greatest "Dude, where's my car?" yes this is truly oscar winning material...now sit back and enjoy the third installment of my creation - "Sweating is an artform I have perfected". Please save all the applause till the end of the email...

To make this easier for you to digest and alot quicker for me to type out, I have broken this email down into catergories...

Things that I find cool...
The people - the people here are so friendly...even those who are not trying to milk the money out of you! We've come across some really cute children who as you pass them will wave and say "herro"...I spent the last two days on a boat and ran a little experiment I like to call "How many people will wave at me if I wave at them first?". The results? 80% of people will wave back at me with a smile, 10% will wave back at me with an inquisitive look on their face, 5% will pretend they did not see me to save the embarrasment of waving like a lunatic, 3% will try and sell me fruit 1% will take a photo of the crazy tourist with the dopey grin and 1% will wolf whistle me and ask me to take my cloths off...no I lied...no one wanted my cloths off except me...
$$$ - I am a miliionare...nay...a billionare over here in this grand country...AUD$1 = approx. 118,000 Vietnam Dong...we spent a million dollars on dinner and cocktails last night!!!! I have wads of money that do not fit in my wallet...I have been lighting cigarettes with rolls of burning dong...I've been slipping people $50,000 tips...all in all, I have been living it up!
Air conditioning - I would not last one night in this place without the air-con blasting on full power...I love air-con...and it loves me...we're happy together and you can never tear us apart!!!
I am in love - yes you read right...I am in love with a cabana boy...he turned my world upside down with his womanising ways...within two days of meeting him, I've gone from a raging homosexual to a straight paedophile (yes, my cabana boy is only 13 years of age...) But alas, our romance ended almost as soon as it started...what with the living in two worlds and our families disapproving of the romance...we decided that it is best to enjoy what little time we had together and move on...I didn;t even get his name...but I do know that somewhere out there in Mekong Delta, there is a little cabana boy waiting for me on his boat...
Things that I find not-so-cool
The currency conversion - I am so confused and have lost all sense of money and its value...it is so confusing trying to convert from Australian $ -> US $ -> Vietnam Dong -> Cambodian Riels and to make matters worse, Christopher came from London so he is speaking in pounds and pences...I have no idea how much I've actually spent which is probably a good thing...
The heat - it is SO SO HOT over here...as soon as I step from my air conditioned boudoir into the real world...my body turns on the waterworks and nothing stops it till I head back into my icy sanctuary...
Oops, it seems I am running a little short on time...I'm off to Cambodia now, so I will write again when I return...


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