Sunday, 20 July 2008

HOT TOC - Vietnam!

Ha Tien, Vietnam. A new country and a new culture. Time to ditch the fruit shakes and start drinking some seriously strong iced Vietnamese coffee. Just what we needed after all that lazing about on beaches. And if you ask for milk then they pour in lots of sickly, thick condensed milk (on top of all the sugar they have already spooned into the glass!). Zing, zap, wham, bam, edgee, readee, go, go GOOOOOOOO.
It was also time for a haircut. 'Hot toc!' Sadly, my haircut was over in a matter of seconds. I have long had a fear of barbers, nearly as bad as my fear of celery. They never listen to my pleas for a 'little' length on top and end up shaving my nut to the brink of a crew cut. I remember in my teens, when I was leaving the difficult and embarrassing 'slick back' days (ask my brothers for the sordid details of gel and brittle hair) and undergoing the transition into longer haired grunge/indie kid. Mum dragged us off to her hairdresser, insisting that it needed to be cut short before it could grow long again. I left the 'stylists' with nothing short of a Chuckle Brothers mullet.
Kathy, on the other hand, was treated like royalty the minute she stepped into her chosen beauty salon. They shampooed and massaged her scalp for hours, cut and styled it to perfection, gave her a face scrub and more massaging and, after more than 40 minutes of pampering and luxury, had the cheek to demand the extortionate sum of 60,000 Dong! Sounds a lot doesn't it? It is but a mere 2 pounds of our Earth pence. She looked sensational too.

After Ha Tien, we moved on to Saigon / Ho Chi Minh City. As soon as we got off the bus we were herded onto a moto and whisked off to our guesthouse through the dizzying and elegant chaos of Saigon's traffic. Motos, cars, pedestrians, bikes, carts and buses converge at all angles and from all directions. I was scared. Later on we had to cross this madness on foot. The book tells you to walk slowly and look directly into the eyes of the oncoming traffic, as if to render them spellbound with your hyptonic gaze. And, what do you know, it works too. No wonder the coffee is so strong.
We spent our time in Saigon touring the historical sites and absorbing some of its lively and neon lit atmosphere. On our last day we headed for some aquatic madness at one of Saigon's water parks. Amazing fun! But we were clearly the oldest people by at least 10 years who were throwing themselves down the various 'typhoon', 'deathslide' and 'flying saucer' water slide attractions. Kathy wished Keir could have been here to enjoy the fun. Our favourite was a slide called 'Black Thunder.' You both jump on board a giant tandem inflatable and then zoom into a dark tunnel with strobe lighting sparking off around you as you hurtle your way to the bottom. We went down that slide at least 6 times. Oh, yes!!!
I have to admit that my age was showing itself a little. A couple of the slides did give me 'the fear' and a healthy dose of the eeby jeebies. The slides were also clearly designed for the weight and proportion of the average Vietnamese and not for the average pie scoffing Scot like myself. On one particularly direct and fast slide, I came down so speedily and with such force that at the bottom I skimmed over the water and nearly cleared the plunge pool on exit. The Vietnamese were impressed. I needed another iced coffee.

No comments: