Can Tho

When we awoke this morning not only was our room in total darkness as usual but it was also very hot. We quickly realised there had been a power cut overnight which isn’t too good as we have to pack. Simon goes and asks the fella downstairs if we can move to a room with a window so we at least have the benefit of some sunlight and when he agrees we lug everything across and go down for breakfast. We have got the kids some chocolate money and give them 20 dollars each. Happy Easter everyone!

By midday it is unbearably hot and I have already had 2 showers. The fans in the restaurant do make a big difference and after packing our stuff up we sit and do some science with the kids. Maisie and I learn the composition of rocks and soil and Simon and Ali learn about sound and the structure of the ear. We are leaving at 2pm and nip round to a decent bookshop so I can change the latest trash medical drama I’m reading for something a bit more interesting.

At 2.15 a car arrives to take us to the bus station. We have paid 5 dollars each for our tickets and this turns out to be nothing short of daylight robbery as we see the locals all piling in the mini van and paying around a dollar each. Most intriguing is a very large lady who gets on in front of Simon. Half way through our journey she starts to undress and we realise she is padded all over with cigarettes. She must have had at least 20 thousand fags strapped around her body, legs and arms! It was quite bizarre watching her taking them all off. Simon said she went from being Jo Brand to Twiggy in 15 minutes. We sat there wondering if she had stolen them or smuggled them perhaps. Either way we decided it definitely wasn’t the usual way to transport your smokes!

Despite that bit of interest the journey is pretty bad. We literally have no room and I felt very sorry for Simon who looked like a scrunched up spider with his knees up around his chest. We don’t see much of Vietnam on the way but what we do see looks very densely populated after the miles of deserted roads in Cambodia. We follow the river and I look at the houses on the way. They are built over the river half on the bank and the other half on long wooden stilts.

After a shorter journey than we expected, which was a godsend due to our squashed up conditions, we arrive in Can Tho. It is described as a large cosmopolitan city and also the political, economic, cultural and transportation centre of this area. We have arranged to stay in a midrange hotel at a cost of 10 dollars per room per night. We are pleased to see it’s in a great location and the rooms are clean and bright with a few extras such as a fridge and telly.

We choose a restaurant by the river for dinner and have a fantastic Easter nosh up. Not very traditional I guess, the kids had pizza and Simon and I shared a set Vietnamese meal which was really good. We had fresh tomato soup, spring rolls, beef with green chillies, chicken with lemongrass, pork with coconut, mixed vegetables, steamed rice and apple pie with ice cream. We washed it all down with a few local beers and filter coffee and despite saying we would get a taxi back decided to walk in an effort to walk off a few calories! The bill only came to 13 quid which was great and we sat in our room planning how to spend the next few days.