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Vietnam visit 2010

Vietnamese visit 2010.

We have arrived in Vietnam for an extended break - The stand out features are the food, the number of motorcycles, the very good and inexpensive taxi service from Mailinh, Vinasun or F taxi (short for Festival - they have older cars and are a bit cheaper) and the rush hour that seems to start at 3.00 pm and go until 8.00 pm or later.

We are staying at Van's parents in District Go Vap not far from the airport. Their hospitality has been exceptional.

We have been settling in sorting out the gifts for the family and shopping as we had 60 kg of gifts and only 20 kg of luggage. Several trips to the markets has given us many shoes, clothes and a warm jacket each for the trip to Hanoi where it is quite cold at the moment.

The return train tickets were booked yesterday for 2.2 million Dong each and as the Lunar new year is approaching we thought it a good idea to get the return tickets. The journey is just over 32 hours and we left on Thursday midday and arrived on Friday at 8.00 pm.

There were many interesting things to see in Hanoi and we have been very busy catching up with Van's friends. We stayed in the Democracy Hotel - not 5 Star but generally very good value if you are prepared to sacrifice a few things. Remember that this is Vietnam and the room rate is often by negotiation - ours was about $20 A per day, it included phone, airconditioner, fridge and TV.

The $1 A breakfast is very good value and served on the top floor of the hotel you have glimpses of the lake and can look down on the street. There are any amount of street sellers who have everthing you could imagine.

You have to get used to the combined toilet, shower, bathroom but space seems to be an issue everywhere in Vietnam.

Talking of space we were in a Japanese style restaurant last night and it had 3 stories and an amazing array of exotic wines with snakes, armadillo, birds and various combinations of each. We were offered some local rice wine that seemed to have the consistency of a milk shake, I preferred the local brandy.

We have been very lucky with the weather and most of the rain has been where we are not.

From the busy Hanoi visit we had a few days rest and then off to Nha Trang to stay in Vinpearl - what an experience. They have very special offer on at moment so bargain price with excellent service, accommodation and meals! "Special Packages at Vinpearl Resort & Spa, only USD 256 /2pesons/2 nights with daily buffet breakfast, daily buffet lunch and daily buffet dinner."

We had a ride in the cable car, the launch and sampled the delights of a local show where we found Jangada! Jengada! coffee - we are going to have discussions with them to see if we can import their arabica coffee, cocoa, and green tea.

We also sampled the night life at the 'Sailing Club' (Aussie owner) very good service and the 'Australia day' night was very enjoyable. We found the J&B bottle of whiskey reasonably priced at just under A $60 it lasted more than two nights. Just ask Ky behind the bar for the bottle list.

Well it just goes on and on - We have been very busy making connections with Van's family and doing business. We have been twice to the Meekong delta - firstly an overtnight stay in the fruit growing region - this trip involved a long drive in the hired 15 seater bus and then a river trip on Van's Uncles boat - the only reasonable way to get to their house. All the relatives turned up for the dinner and there was a feast of fruit to round it off. Milk fruit is very popular here as well as grapefruit almost the size of a bowling ball. Very thick skinned but not bitter compared to the Australian yellow grapefruit.

The next visit was to a wedding feast where were were lucky enough to see both the bride and groom together - it appears that the feast can be without one or the other. This side of the family lives in an area where they grow rice, sweet corn and peanuts. Dog meat is popular along with the local vodka that is pretty heavy duty. - I passed as it seems necessary to spit immediately that you drink it from a communal glass.

Van's business connections have been quite fruitful and we are looking forward to an expanded range of products from Vietnam.
Gift certificates