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Showing posts from June, 2006

Meh..?

Greetings all,
Well we have spent a few days in Hue...it isn't all that and a bag of potato chips but has it's interesting parts all the same. There is alot of ancient chinese history in this city which is fascinating. We visited the citadel in which stands the emperors forbidden palace. We though we were special for a minute when we were let in, but apon seeing other tourists inside, we realised the name was all for effect....what a sham! We have been on a couple of tours in the last few days; the DMZ (demilitarised zone tour) and today the perfume river tour. The DMZ wa interesting, we visited 'the rockpile' a group of mountains stripped bare from agent orange, Khe sanh, (i couldn't get the song out of my head for at least 3 hours) which was the largest naval base in southern Vietnam, then onto the vin moc tunnels which were built by villagers during the war to shelter from bombs. The tunnels housed hundreds of people and buried as far as 35 metres underground. Th…

Hue are outta here!

Sorry, once we leave Hue the puns will stop. Because puns are very Hanoiing. Get it?? That's where we're going next!! We're only crashing there one night then we're training to Lao Cai and bussing to Sapa. We are told it will be cooler. Yay!

We went pagoda-ing today and it rained heaps which was great! Big fat drops. We got a motorbike to some incense maker people stalls (they called this a village but i didn't see any villagers villaging) and it was great riding in the rain. Air conditioning at it's best. We purchased plastic ponchos to keep us dry, but in the end we just used them to cover our bags. Getting wet is much more fun.

My iPod is misbehaving and crashing everytime I do a transfer. It also periodically forgets that there are any photos on it at all, which is disconcerting. Ten gig and two weeks of photography are very precious to me. I have been unsucessful at finding anyone with a dvd burner, so backing up would require hours of cd burning and reshuff…

Hooray for Hue!!

Yes that title does rhyme when pronounced correctly.
We arrived here yesterday afternoon after a 3 hour bus ride. The ride wasn't too bad, we got to see alot of the countryside which is covered with rice fields, pagodas and the occasional catholic curch. The people here are always working from the crack of dawn (around 5am) and all day till around 10pm, we often stumble into a restaurant or shop where people are having a deserving nap and have to wake up to serve us.
Hue is built on an a river with the city on both sides of the bank, the beach is around 14km away. This afternoon we are going to visit a citadel which was built for the emporer and have a wander around, i would like to go to the beach at some point and bathe my wounds it is looking awful!
Anyway back to the bus ride; We were quite annoyed at the service here as the bus keeps dropping us off at hotels that pay the bus company commissions. There is always a long line of scouts waiting where the bus stops to get us to go…

Hue to go!

Hue isn't that hot, well its bloody hot, but it's not that great. We're officially shitty with our bus company for dropping us off outside a hotel that pays commisions instead of their ticket office like they said. We're also officially shitty with guys also collecting commisions by following you down the street and recommending a hotel. Literally following. One guy got on his bike and met us again three blocks away. They drop you off at reception, disappear and come back later for a reward. If we got the room that is, which we won't, on principle alone. One guy said six dollars for a triple room, and we're all, hey man that worth checking out even if it is a load of crap. So we get to reception and the woman says 12 dollars so we don't say anything and just turn around and walk out. Hopefully when the guy goes back to collect, she'll crack the shits at him and they'll both have learnt a lesson.

We eventually found an okay place, but its more hotel t…

Blah... Hue

Blah. Hue. I'm bored. Don't care.
This place is fairly uninspiring. There's the Citadel, which sounds big and scary but is probably just a wire fence. There the DMZ (Demilitarised Zone) pretty close by, I'm gonna go into those tunnel things, fire an AK-47 and jump on some mines. Or maybe I'll just visit Khe Sahn and make a silly video to put to some awful pub-rock music.
Whatever. It's hot. I fell asleep after lunch. I've started eating western food again, because 2 weeks of nothing but noodles and rice and spring rolls actually gets old. I'm sick of Cyclos, and motorbikes and being hassled to buy something. We should have stayed longer in Saigon. Next trip I suggest we try to head south as quickly as possible.

- Paul
Hue (yawn)

It Burns!!

Hello!

Well the last few days have been very hot here in Hoi An, We can hardly bare it, bec and i have had a few item of clothing made, i have had some shoes made and two jackets, soo cheap!!we have made some friends here, Paul and Ed from Ireland, i went to watch the football with them the other night then went to a few bars, we went to this great one out in the middle of nowhere where they played the beatles and henrix and had thousands of names written on the wall from past visitors, good fun.
Yesterday i visited marble mountain, a group of temples and pagodas built on top of a mountain overlooking the beach. We had to climb up hundreds of barble steps and scale cliffs and treck through caves to get to the top but it was all worth it for the view.
We have another ailment to add, i burned my leg on the motorbike 'Thailand tattoo' they call it...OUCH!
today we are off to hue, I hope it is as quiet and friendly as hoi an, i hear it is hotter which isn't too good but i'm s…

Trouble in iPod

Whew, for a gut-wrenching hour I thought my iPod had upped and died on me. You're not meant to let it overheat, right? 35 degrees c is the little tacker's limit, then it just conks out. Well in Hoi An it's about 30 something. So if i even turn my iPod on, just to look at it, it probably hits 35 without any effort. I've had to start taking it out of its black Yakumoto suit everytime i use it, cause overheating is really easy here. Even for me. We're about to check out of our hotel and we've left about 13 empty water bottles, 1.5 litres each, in the bathroom. If they even fit into the bin provided, we still feel they should be recycled . . . somehow.

So we're catching the 2pm bus to Hue, which only takes around 2 hours. We're skipping Denang because who can be bothered.

Claire came back after a 24 hour absence with a bad hangover, a scrape to the knee and a great big burn on her lower leg. We're all excited about this as we can finally crack open paul&#…

vague?

We're leaving in 3 hours, so I don't really have anything to say. It's hot, but that's nothing new. I'm sweating. I guess Australia are out of the world cup now, but who cares? I'm only really sitting in the internet cafe because Bec needs to charge her iPod. (Note to self: next time, bring power adaptor).
We have to check out of our hotel in about 40 minutes. Claire burned her leg on a scooter's exhaust. (Who's scooter, you ask?)
The good news is, we are leaving Hoi An behind, and probably leaving the weirdness here too.

Hmmm. Vague? Yes.

- Paul

Bolted Down by the Back Wheel

We did end up hiring bikes yesterday and we made it to the beach in one piece! Everyone except this poor girl I crashed into. I apologised profusely but she just stared at me, horrified by this crazy white person who can't ride a bike.

... So the beach was really great and i took a killer photo of this toddler with no pants on. I Don't think he minded though, because he stood there posing for about five mintues. We purchased some peanut brittle from a girl named sun-sun. It is the best and i need some more. Paul drew her picture and she was very pleased.

Today we went out to My Son where some really cool Cham Ruins are. I took heaps of photos- almost 2 Gig's worth.

Paul might have mentioned Claire's absence today. We aren't supposed to talk about it, but we're putting together a short film, from snippets of interviews with witnesses, which will be released on DVD in early August.

Ha, i think about three girls have spoken to me in the last day or two and after a few…

Trouble in paradise... or, in the third world. Whatev!

So Claire has disappeared. She went off to watch the soccer yesterday and we haven't seen her since. She missed the tour bus so Bec and I went to My Son by ourselves. There are some spectacular Cham ruins there. Much better than the ones we saw in Nha Trang.
I've decided to put off buying anything until we get to Hanoi, and even then I don't think I'll really buy anything. It's okay for the girls, they can get good clothing made for them in a day for a pittance, but the offering they have for men is rather limited. Anything you get from a market is just utter trash, there's no reason to buy anything. You end up seeing the same t-shirt in every single stall and eventually you start to wonder whether someone else might have bought the same shirt. It would get embarrassing bumping into someone with the same Tin Tin shirt, right? I did however buy a pair of sunglasses and a hat, but this is only because I lost my sunglasses and my hat somewhere. Other than that I ha…

Ugh, more shopping.

Hoi An is basically just a bunch of stalls lining the streets. There are some heritage buildings dotted throughout but it's pretty rural, without a whole lot to do except shop. The girls are on some kind of spending spree. Like, I know $7 isn't really a lot to pay for a fitted skirt, but they're stopping at every single shop and stall that we pass. The people there, they give out business cards like it's the newest big thing and the girls just keep taking them. They stop and point at a dress casually and suddenly there's an attendant taking it down and offering to let them try it on. 'Come in, try, no worries'. They clearly know not to bother with me, although I still have to wave away about twenty motorbikes a day.

Today I have been promised a frozen yoghurt if I put up with all the shopping. They wouldn't let me get it on credit, so I have to wait until I am exhausted and sweating like The Hulk after a showdown with an Apache Helicopter or something. I…

I think I'll live HERE

Hoi An is so photogenic it's making me look like a talented photographer. I think i'll live here and sell postcards of my photos. It's hot-hot-hotter during the day here but cooler at nights.

Everything closes at nine, though. In Nha Trang everything except the bars closed at ten. But we're almost half way up the country now so we can expect some later nights further north.

My sunburn isn't quite so hideous today. Yesterday Paul kept saying, geez bec your back is covered in beads of sweat. So I eventually told him to get a towel already, and he dabbed away but only took off skin! I am bubbled through with blisters yay super happy fun!

Every other shop here is a cloth shop with all these really funky designs on display. Every other-other shop is a shoe shop where they make shoes to fit. Claire already has some red sandles, two different sizes to fit her strange feet. We both got skirts made yesterday and mine is so cool but warm also so i can't wear it until i get …

Me Again

I've been given Claire's camera to upload some piccas. My photography is off limits until I find some Photoshop CS2 action. Not likely. So please enjoy the following, brought to you by Claire. In no particular order . . .

This is us all happy and smiling before the sunburn set in.
This is a strange thing we keep seeing. It says 'Happiness to Everybody'. Paul insisted we post it.
This is Claire drinking our favourite water, Festi.
This is us about to have the best pancakes ever!
This is our rediculous hotel.Over and Out.

...Next Stop, Hoi An!

Hello!

So the last day in Nha Trang was a lazy one, we seem to have lost momentum after being fried by the sun.
The Bus ride to Hoi An was a long and trecherous one. The though of being killed did cross my mind a few times, especially after the driver, whilst driving around a sharp bend,(those who have driven up to Kinglake will have an idea of the kind of road i am talkng about) drove into the on coming lane in front of another bus and screeched on the brakes narrowly avoiding a collision, which woke us all up! We also witnessed an overturned truck that had landed half sunken in a rice paddi with the driver asleep on top, i was a bit worried as they don't wear seatbelts in Vietnam that he may be a little dead, but i think i'll just keep telling myself 'the little man is just sleeping'
The bus dropped us off at 6 am at a hotel 'recommended' by the bus tour, we weren't sure at first but it costs the same as all the other hotels and is mich nicer, the only issu…

Oh the Pain

That's right, I'm still on about my sunburn! Even in beautiful Hoi An. The bus ride was harrowing. We're meant to stick to the right side of the road, yeah? Well, not according to this bus driver. He seemed to enjoy taking every completely blind or hairpin corner on the left. Not just crossing the line with one wheel for a moment, just absolutely on the WRONG side of the road. We were all going to die. This went on for eleven (hey maybe it was only nine! who would have thought?) hours or more. Eventually i stopped watching the road for oncoming traffic, and stopped lifting my head every time we ground to a shuddering halt all too quickly. I guess you get used to it? Claire made friends with two Irish boys who shared the back seat of the bus with us and ended up using one of them as a pillow. And a foot rest. Poor boy never had a chance. Another guy's chair completely broke about an hour into the trip. We all felt thankful that it wasn't us.

So when I'm almost so…

some stuff we did

Cham Towers on Vimeo

Another clip. I can't hear the audio, but this is at the Cham Towers. The girls each had an ice-cream here, and they both smelled like feet. Apparently they tasted like green capsicum and powdery banana (and feet . . . and pepper). Yum!
The inside of the towers were really smokey because of all the incense, but we figured out that they are actually ventilated; there is an exhaust at the back that pumps out the smoke.

more photos

If anyone wants me to buy them some movies, please list what you would like and I'll see if I can find it. If I can't find it, then you're out of luck. Dad, if you're reading this - I lost the list of movies you already gave me, could you remind me what you wanted?

I'm uploading a movie from Claire's camera. I don't know what it is because this computer doesn't have quicktime so I can't preview it. Anyway. It probably contains material not suitable to children, so discretion is advised. Who knows what it might be?



Our hotel room in the Phu Quy on Vimeo

- Paul

PS. Here are some random photos:





What a RIP!

Greetings family and friends and others!

Today we had a lovely day on our boat cruise. On the way there we must have been running late as the bus driver had his hand perminantly on the horn...the cars/mini busses here even have a second, more intense horn to warn people, as the horn behaviour here is more of a precautionary one rather than a reactionary one like in Oz and the people are desensitised to it. Anyway, back to the boat cruise, we were rushed to the boat and got there just as it was leaving so they had to haul back into dock to get us annoying westerners. Our first stop was snorkelling, The water was amazing with colourful fish and coral but it was all fun and games until the jelly fish came out to play. We started to get these little stings then stings turned into lashings and lashing turned into sheer agony. Paul still has the battle wounds, we'll have a image up soon.

And or the unknowing people around the world...DONT BUY SUNSCREEN FROM VIETNAM...we did,smothered ours…

Fried Bec, Please

I am so unbelievably sunburnt. Try not to think of the words 'searing' or 'flesh'. And i was attacked by jellyfish,just to add to my wardrobe of pain. GArjhsefh;diufhAJhf!@^%@$%^#. I have about ten minute intervals between drawing everyone's attention to my hurt. They are becoming used to my scheduale and saying 'poor bec' before i can get in there with my complaints.

So yeah, the glowing embers of my skin and the patterned welts all over my legs are the results of today' boat tour and yesterdays tragic sunblock purchase.

Paul got jellyfished the worst and he's very proud of his little red dotted lines. They are quite impressive.

Anyway, booking lady told me no trains to denang and she was too scary to argue with so we have three tickets to Hoi An via an air-conditioned tour bus. TOUR bus. That means we wont get to have amusing misunderstandings with the locals. Just dangerous ones with the germans. ...Anyway, we leave thursday at 7pm, ride all night a…

ankles not so sw anymore!

hello!

Well i must start with saying that i am having an awesome time here in Vietnam. We have spent our first whole day in Nha Trang. It is a beautiful city and the people are lovely. It is great to be visiting a country where we are the minority. As far as tourists go there it is nothing like thailand or bali, there are a handful, though few enough to get pointed at by children and giggled at by teenagers. It makes the holiday more of a unique experience.
Today the swelling of my ankles has reduced substabtially, i think it is a combination of the cooler ocean breeze in Nha Trang and that i purchased some flowy pants that allow my legs to breathe in the heat. My next hurdle is to overcome the tummy bug that we have all caught, we seem to be handling it well.
Today we started off our day at the beach, we hired out beach chairs seated under umberellas made out of grass. The water was warm and deep. we then set out on foot across town to a pagoda with a giant buddah seated on top a maunta…

Spotty McSpot Spot

I have spots all over. Claire thinks it's measles, Paul has diagnosed me with meningococcal meningitis but i think it's heat rash. We three are doing google searches on spots right now.

We have made it safely to Nha Trang but have only just found an internet cafe that isn't dodgy. Technically it's a Flight Centre but who cares. The beach here is really great and it's cooler at night. Mum, you can head straight to Nha Trang while Dad goes exploring. Our hotel isn't too enormous and it has a great rooftop terrace. We opted out on the air-con, saving us $3 a night. We figured we'd have to aclimatise eventually. All the brochures of the hotels around here have been heavily photoshopped and we find this very amusing. Neon signs of tall hotel buildings have been cloned away, and replaced with flat out text. At least they tried to match the perspective on that front. The nice looking sedan out the front is 3 times the size of the truck down the road. The exterio…

Traffic negotiation 101

Another night another post. Bec has a rash we are optimistically attributing to the heat, apparently it isn't itchy. I've stubbed my toe and it's bleeding a bit. Claire still has swankles, but they've started to settle a bit and we have all had traveller's diarrhea; Rebecca is in denial.

When some of you guys come over here next year, you're all going to learn some of the lessons we've learnt. We can tell you, but you're only going to learn the hard way like us. So here are a few examples.

#54 - Never say 'maybe later', they will come back later.

#15 - Just say NO.

#32 - Don't glance at goods, unless you actually want to buy them.

#05 - Bottles of coke cost less than cans, because they keep the bottles and recycle them. This is more of a nice thing, so support the bottle industry.

#01 - Cross the road slowly slowly. No sudden movement. Keep looking both ways as you walk, you will probably forget which direction traffic is coming from. A good rule …

cheap internet is CHEAP internet

We made it to Nha Trang, after an arduous 7 hour train ride. I very nearly threw up just before we arrive (not sure why... I'd been on the train 6 and a half hours), but the toilet was gross so I decided to hold it in.

Nha Trang is a little quieter than Saigon, but right now (8.50pm) it's fairly loud outside. There is some kind of Scooter Festival going on. There's a big Honda showroom on the beach, and about 20 million kids on their scooters riding around. We're currently deciding what to have for dinner before we go to one of the bars to watch the world cup and cheer as Australia loses to Brazil.
The beach here is really nice at night, although we haven't been swimming yet (maybe tomorrow). The hotel we are staying at, 'Phu Quy' is pretty nice, the staff are friendly, and the rooftop terrace is worth three times what we are paying (nice and cool, with a great view).

Just a little advice for those of you wanting to use internet cafes while over here. Do not g…

Swankles!

Hello!

Well i am sad to say that we will be leaving the wonderful city of ho chi minh tonight and venture off north to the beach town of Nha Trang. Today we spent visiting the meekong delta, it was amazing. We canoed through mangrove canals, held a python and listened to some traditional vietnamese music. The Delta is so big that is has over 4 islands 3 of which we visited. i am having writing block at the moment so i will have to cut my entry short but i see over my shoulder that bec and paul have both written extensively so i am probably just repeating anyway.

oh yeah, my ankles and feet have swolen up to twice their size, if anyone knows of a cure please help as it is very uncomfortable, i hope it is because of the heat and humidity and not because i have caught some deadly tropical disease, though i am on the look out for and further symptoms.

bye for now
Claire
- saigon

Nha Trang Tomorrow

We have successfully organised train tickets to Nha Trang, which we have been pronouncing SO incorrectly that Paul's family member Ngân, whose name we can barely pronounce either, laughed at us for about five minutes. She is lovely and treated us to a fantastic dinner with all the extras: coconut jelly drink stuff and wine drinken sticky rice for dessert. We are disappointed we only met her the night before we are leaving Saigon, and would love to see her again, but we have to keep moving etc.

Our tickets are for the night train, which leaves at 11pm. We went for the air-con soft seat as it was cheaper than the hard and/or soft sleeper. Our ticket tells us we will arrive at 6am in Nha Trang, but we won't count on it. We already checked out of our Saigon guesthouse so as not to pay for the day, and they are kindly holding our packs for us so we didn't have to cart them too and from the Meekong.

Which was fabulous! $7 got us an air/con bus there and back, about eight boats to …

Our last night in Saigon

We're all at the internet cafe killing time before we go back to pick up our bags and get a taxi over to the train station. This is our last night in Saigon, tomorrow morning we'll arrive at Nha Trang and wander around looking for new accomodation. I've given up trying to control my hair as it has taken on a life of it's own. I now have a full on afro.
Last night (as I'm sure the others are explaining simultaneously) we visited Peter's relatives at their home and went out for dinner with Ngân (Teresa) at a proper fancy restaurant.
Everyone was very friendly and we got on incredibly well with Ngân especially. We were having trouble trying to pronounce her name properly, so we stuck with using 'Teresa' for the most part. She gave us each a ride on the back of her Scooter through the streets of Saigon, which was the single most exhilirating moment of my trip so far. Although the streets are utter chaos, no one ever gets up any speed so it's really very s…

day 3

Hi there all

It is approx 11pm and we have just arrived back to our hotel. This evening we spent with the lovely Theresa, a relative of pauls. We visited her family at their home and she also took us to their shop where we met some more of her family. We then went out to dinner at a beautiful coconut-themed restaurant and we ate the most amazing vietamese food. Theresa suggested we try the braised snails but apparently it is a very popular dish and they were all out tonight, damn!
It is a shame we have to leave saigon tomorrow, we would have loved to spent more time with Theresa and her family.
Well it is off to the Meekong delta tomorrow at 8am then the night train north to continue the next leg of our journey. I am sad to leave saigon, it is such a huge city and i feel like we haven't even scratched the surface, but there is plenty more to see in the rest of the country.

bye for now
Claire
- Saigon

convincing literature

I honestly thought I would be able to come up with some really good literature to post once I got here, and that I would even have time to do so. So far I've been too exhausted to even think, let alone write a blog. We've spent only two nights here so far and basically we've all just crashed into bed at the end of the day and slept. But there is stuff to write about, so much has happened in a day and a half, I just don't have the time or energy to sit down and go through it all. It's the heat, and the humidity. My brain just can't take it. The brief moments of rain are welcome when they come, and they do come randomly. The weather here is probably even more random than Melbourne, which is nice. My hair has gone weird, it's never been curlier, it's like a basket of noodles on my head (sorry about the simile, we had fried noodles last night).
Thankyou everyone who commented, make sure you guys keep reading this! I promise it will get more interesting.

- Pau…

We Live!

So we successfully navigated our way around three airports and made it to our guesthouse in Saigon. It's down a small alley which is frequented by people on bikes singing about what they have to sell. Water bread fruit etc. Not far from a park where heaps of kids play a mutated form of hackey sack involving springs and feathers. I know I've seen this doo-hicky somewhere else either Nepal or Melbourne . . .

It is hot hot hot and who would have thought? My fingers are sticking to the keys. The rain we heard so much about has come and we might need to buy an umbrella or maybe a garbage bag.

Our room is nice and there IS room to swing a cat, so we're happy. Navigtion is a bit wierd, but we're only new so we might catch on. Inter-district travel is our next hurdle.

Hot and Sticky,
Bec,
Saigon

wow!

So we are in Vietnam...

there is so much to say; When we arrived we were picked up by our a driver and taken to our hotel....and it was CRAZY!! there were bikes flying everywhere, no 'right' side of the road, the only road rule is drive moderatly slowly and beep your horn because no one looks where they are going. We saw one accident and no one seemed to care. As i speak, a monsoonal rain has just drifted over...and now it has finished...oh it has started again...well at least i feel at home with the weather!

love Claire
Saigon.

Tạm Biệt!

Look at that title! Accents and everything! I'm hoping that means goodbye, as that's what I'm trying to say. I'm having trouble prying myself away from my computer - i have to wake up in four hours - so I must remind myself that they do have the internet in Vietnam. That lovely resource, we'll be relying on it heavily. To check train times and such. Isn't Earth wonderful!?

So what to say other than holy crap I know i've forgotten something!

- Bec

Flight 134

My alarm is set for 4am tomorrow. Right now we are finishing up the blog's design, it's looking kind of alright, but blogger is having some problems. I should really be getting some sleep. This time tomorrow we'll be in Ho Chi Minh, in a guesthouse, boggling at the sheer craziness of being in a completely different country to the one I've spent my whole life in so far. Yes, it will be weird. None of us speak a word of Vietnamese, so hopefully there'll be enough people that speak English a little bit, otherwise we'll be pointing to our phrasebook a lot.

We've now got a new point on our itinerary. Peter has given us a letter to pass on to his uncle in HCMC, which means we'll be meeting some of his relatives, and I guess they're my relatives too... I'm not sure what that is, second or third cousins? Who knows family tree stuff? Anyway, that will be interesting to see if we'll be able to navigate our way to them succesfully.

It's hard to prepa…

sleep is for chumps!

Holy crap. I just stayed up all night for the Pulp Faction 24 Hour comic competition. I managed to finish an 8 page comic... available here, or go to pulpfaction forums and sign up to view my working thread. Well, it's a shitty one anyway. Now I am delirious, but I can't go to bed. I have to go to the shops before I can go to sleep. Agggh! And I didn't do any cleaning!

DEETcore 2006

It must be the festive season in repellantville! I stumbled apon (and purchased) an insect repellent containing 80% of the mysterious chemical 'DEET'. Super heavy duty stuff! Together with our 'permethrin' impregnated attire and 'RID' drenched bodies, just a passing waft will be enough to wipe out a whole insect eco-system.

The first annual Permethrin festival

So begins the task of cleaning the house so it can be left in a reasonable state, and attempting to weasel out of my last shift at work to create just a little more preparation time. It doesn't help that I slept insanely late today. I'm just looking at it as premature jetlag. In fact, I'll probably already be in sync with the clocks over there.
This weekend we're going to hold the first annual Mass-Permethrin festival in which we get all the clothing that we're taking with us and wash it in poison. This will kill any mosquitos that land on us. As well as that we've got non-scented deoderant and copious ammounts of tropical strength repellant with that mysterious ingredient 'DEET' that I know nothing about, but apparently we need it.
I just realised that I'm not going to be with my music collection for a whole month, I won't have a DVD player to watch, and my PC is going to be collecting dust. This country better be rich in culture, because I'm…

What's goin on?

Viet ... what? ... oh yeah, we are jetting off on our four week asian extravaganza. There isn't much I can say for the minute as my main priority is my inability to execute a 3D render in illustrator without crashing my obsolete excuse for a computer. It is indeed folio prep time for us budding TAFE artistic types and nothing can break the concentration. (except for the prospect of being seated in restricted economy ... restricted? ... restriction! ... eek!) So with dye-stained hands I shall bid you farewell, for now.

shit i'm going to Vietnam in 5 days!!!

-Claire

Class S

Dear Family,

They call it restricted economy. What the hell does that mean? I imagine there will be ropes and reef knots involved, so that we can't leave our seats. The seats right next to toilets, or the ones whose leg room is taken up by the coat cupboard, and you have to rest your head on your knees in order to sleep.

But don't knock it, it's cheep! We're looking at a nine and a half hour flight, then an all too short transit in Hong Kong - that's China, right? - then a two and a half hour flight, then a car ride. We don't know how long the drive will take, but it will cost $10US.

I organised said car ride with our humble guesthouse, whom I emailed yesterday to confirm our reservations - 3 persons room 3 nights. I wrote this email in my best English, with all the polite frills. They have yet to reply.

- Bec

Preliminaries

Dear family,

In about a week the three of us, Bec, Claire, and I will be leaving on a jetplane to visit Vietnam for one month. Bec is already panicking, and preparing for anything that might go wrong and I respond by acting as though everything will work out fine no matter what we do. I can only assume Claire is coping in her own way.
This will be my first time off the mainland of Australia unless you count wading out into the water about 100 metres. So yes, I'm nervous, but I don't think it will really hit me how exciting this all is until we're sitting in our class S seats ascending into the sky.

So I created the blog, mostly to give me an excuse to write again, but also to replace any emails or postcards I was going to send. I'm going to try to post something every day, from now until we return, at least. Hopefully the others will join in and make this a success. Of course, I'm not sure how many internet cafes there are in Vietnam so there may be delays, but I'…