August 16, 2010
It has been a long time since I didn't update my life in the Kingdom... well, I had guests for one month, they are leaving this week ..It's going to be sad cause I got used to them around..We did many things, went to the seaside here in Cambodia where we went on an island from where I thought we will get back only when the rainy season ends; went to Siem Reap to visit the Angkor temples-AMAZING!!!- and last week went to Vietnam, in Saigon, Hanoi and Halong Bay- AMAZING!!!
Vietnam was interesting as we never expected to find it soooo developed compared to its neighbor Cambodia.. I mean I knew it was more developed but I never expected such development.. Not only did u see that in the big brand shops and huge luxurious hotels, cause you can find those in less developed countries as well, but you could notice it in the Vietnamese people behavior.. In Cambodia, you will rarely see groups of young men and women in bars/restaurants/clubs, you will only see men in beer gardens and restaurants, or women in nightclubs, for a specific purpose as you may guess. Well, in Vietnam people go out like back home. The girls dress up to go out, very cool I have to say, and go out in groups to bars/restaurants/clubs and what have you... it's full of people on the streets at night, compared to Cambodia where life stops around 8pm; people ride on motos only in 2s, and both wear helmets, unlike Cambodia where the number of persons can reach 5/6 and no helmets, except the driver; there are no tuk tuks, only taxis; when you walk on the street you don't hear: ladyyyyyyy/siiiiiir moto, moto? , as you do in Cambodia...; girls smoke and drink beer too...and so on and so forth...
it seems that the Communism that they have works for them. when you talk to Vietnamese you feel they are a bit too rigid, and strict, maybe Communist thinking, but whatever works for them i guess... however, used to the Cambodian big smile, we were a bit shocked when we got there, cause people are very cold and indifferent...maybe they are too used to tourists, or too developed... strange anyway, and because people were so aggressive we felt very strange... it was an extra boost of cultural shock i suppose...
However, the highlight of the trip was Halong Bay which was amazing!!! http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=477024&id=505430715&l=020d9b7a0b
We cruised around the rocks, we visited caves, and we kayak-ed a lot!! Most amazing was kayaking in a cave with no source of natural lighting, so very dark and spooky, we only had a torch with us; very nice! we managed to sink the kayak as well, because George and the boys thought they would like to play a game of who splashes the water better? and so it seems the boys won, and I got stuck in the kayak, panicked a bit cause I couldn't get my feet out of it..but in the end succeeded..we became the stars of Halong Bay- the brothers who sank the kayak- the second day we managed not to sink it again...mind you, it's not like they taught us anything they just gave us lifevests, a kayak and 2 paddles- on the kayak there was a big sign of CAUTION saying that you cannot kayak, if you have not been properly trained before :-))) we jumped from the roof of the boat, which was 10-15 metres high I suppose...anywhere in Europe they would not let you do that hahah but there it was possible :-) we hurt our behinds and backs... i thought I didnt have a swimming suit anymore when I hit the water..but it was good fun :-D
Hanoi is a beautiful city, especially the old quarter, has some nice architecture; but it;s extremely busy, tiring and aggressive; whereas Saigon, is much more relaxed, and streets are broad, and there is space to breathe...maybe because it's in the South, closer to Cambodia (used to be a part of Cambodia), people are different, they seem nicer.. did not have time for central Vietnam this time, but to be honest don't feel like going back there, at least not for a while now... was happy to be back to the smiley Cambodians..