Hello from Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. We have big news, but I’ll string you along to the end of the post to reveal it. It does NOT involve babies, so you can all just keep your pants on.
After arriving in Hoi An, we mostly just did a whole lot of walking, eating, and having clothes made at the tailors. Oh, and we had some massages. It was all pretty great.
One of the big highlights (for me at least; Mark eats like a bird) was the food. Hoi An has a few local specialties, one of which is called cao lau. It’s a bowl of delicious chewy noodles topped with beansprouts, cilantro and other greens, barbecued pork, lime, chili sauce, and crunchy fried croutons. There’s a tiny bit of broth at the bottom of the bowl, and you mix it all together and then dig in. Supposedly, you can only have true cao lau in Hoi An, using water from a local well. In any case, we ate it a number of times while we were there, and dudes, it was delicious.
We left Hoi An at shockingly early time — our alarm was set for 3:30 a.m. – but it was worth it, because after two brief flights, we landed in what I can only describe as heaven.
We spent a week on Phu Quoc island, which is sandwiched between Cambodia and mainland Vietnam. The temperature was scorching, but we had a beach hut, delicious fresh food, beach loungers and the most beautiful water I’ve ever seen, so we managed just fine.
This was the view from our bungalow:
We spent the days doing large amounts of absolutely nothing. We slept in, swam every day, took in large amounts of vitamin D, and watched the sunset every evening.
On a couple of occasions, we even rented a motorbike and tooled around the island a bit. On our last day on Phu Quoc, we took a drive with another couple to Sao Beach, about 90 minutes away. It put our little beach to shame. It was stunning.
Unfortunately we came home with a couple of sunburns (my first one! Mark even had sunscreen on that was allegedly SPF 90 but we think it was fake because he currently looks a little like Dr. Zoidberg), and I had a slightly injured foot from stepping on a sea urchin in the water. Still, if we ever go back there, I will make a beeline for that beach.
After a week, we dragged ourselves away and we’re currently in Ho Chi Minh City, wrapping up some loose ends before boarding a flight to London.
I know that sounds a little crazy, since we were planning on visiting Cambodia, Thailand, and possibly even Laos before leaving SE Asia, but we took a quick look at the weather forecast last week, saw that Cambodian temperatures were in the high 30s and rising, thought about dragging our cranky selves around Angkor Wat in that heat, and then decided to revisit this part of the world later in the year, possibly on our way to India.
That may be the longest sentence I have ever typed. In any case, we fly to London this Friday, then spend four days there getting over jet lag, sending some stuff home, and then, next Wednesday, we head to Paris, where we’ve rented an apartment in Montmartre for a week. PARIS. PARIS!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t think there are words to convey my excitement, but please picture me jumping up and down, with this look on my face, waving a baguette. I promise to blog about cheese. And wine. Mark can write about the rest.
Vietnam has been incredible, and I feel very sure that we’ll be back here. The kind people, the iced coffee with condensed milk every single day, the food, the scenery, the beaches – we’ve been utterly spoiled and I know we won’t soon forget it.
P.S. For more pictures from Vietnam, click here.