This morning started a little earlier than expected, as I woke up at about 5.40am, and because I thought the alarm was going off at 6, I got up, though left Mollidy to sleep. When I got back to bed, Mollidy woke and asked what time it was, and I said the alarm was about to go off for 6am, which she then said “I thought it was set for 6.30am”. Which of course it was, and I suddenly realised I could have maybe got a bit more sleep instead of getting up straight away.
We got up anyway, packed a bit, and then headed down for breakfast with 4 others from the group. It took a little while to find a place that served breakfast and was open at 7am, but we found one, and it was decent enough. We then headed back to the hotel, packed the last of our stuff, and lugged it down from the 6th floor to the ground as not many places have lifts in Cambodia.
Once on our bus, we were off on our 6-7 hour journey to Ho Chi Minh city, though that was going to include a stop for lunch, the boarder crossing, and even a ferry crossing, which we got to first, about 2 hours into the trip. Our group on the bus were the only ones to get off the bus to put on life vests and to stand on the ferry for the crossing, but to be honest, it wasn’t the flashiest looking ferry, and if that sucker went down, the last place you’d want to be would be without a life jacket inside the bus.
The crossing was rather refreshing, and though it was still hot, the humidity wasn’t so bad today, and it was a nice kind of heat. Once crossed we walked a bit so that the bus could pick us back up, and once back on the road, we settled in for another hour or so until we hit our next stop, the Cambodia and Vietnam boarder! What I found funny during this journey though was they played, Jackie Chan’s, Operation Condor. All these busses have TVs and they play DVDs of local shows or music normally, but it was pretty cool to see this film playing seeing as I grew up watching his films.
The boarder crossing was made up of giving our passports to the driver, then him doing most of the work, then all we needed to do was have our finger prints and photo take at the Cambodian side for departing, and then having our bags scanned and passports looked at on the Vietnam side, and we were in. So we got back on the bus for another hour or so drive into Ho Chi Minh City, which is filled with over 10 million people.
Once there we checked into our hotel, which was decent enough, and then had some time to chill before we met back as a group at 4.30pm. Jay, our guide, took us on a walking tour, and showed us a few places, and took us to a much needed money exchange business and ATM so that we could get ourselves some Vietnamese Dong. Once back at the hotel we had more time to chill, as we were going to meet again at 7pm for the final team meeting for this leg of the trip.
On this trip we had 3 Australians, 2 Belgians, 1 Dane, 1 Colombian, 1 Italian, 6 Brits, our Cambodian guide, and of course us, the two Kiwis, and getting us all around a dinner table knowing that 6 of us were moving on the next day, was a bittersweet moment. For the 11 of us continuing our adventure it was exciting, but having to lose our guide, as Jay was handing over the reigns to a Vietnamese guide for leg 2, and 5 of our fellow travellers, it was a little bit odd after 12 days together.
It was a damn nice dinner though, and e-mails were exchanged and many a photo were taken, and then some went one way to continue the night, while 6 of us headed home for an early night, as our first full day in Vietnam was looking to be a big one, not to mention we would be meeting the 5 new members and new guide at 6pm that night.
Today I want to talk about the animals you’ll see everywhere, such as cats, dogs, and of course the farm animals. Now, most of these dogs and cats especially will look cute, but always remember none of them have been desexed so most of the males can be a little aggressive, and they also look to have skin problems or other issues such as fleas, as their condition varies. So my advice, admire from a distance, but don’t pat them unless you’re willing to deal with unpredictable animals with various transmutable issues.