Our repacking was a very quick affair today as we had hardly unpacked much. We did have some laundry done so have clean gear although we are having to get our stuff washed after one wear as it is so hot and we all get fairly sweaty! We have arranged a taxi to Ho Chi Minh City. (HCMC) and it is supposed to collect us at 11am for the 3 hour trip. At 10.15 the phone rings ad reception tell us the driver has arrived. Oh my god! We chuck everything else in quickly, race downstairs, pay up and collect our passports.
Two hours later and we have travelled the grand distance of 2 km. The kids have been angels, no complaints at all despite the fact that we haven’t eaten today and when it eventually becomes apparent that we are in fact queuing for a ferry across the Bassac, Simon jumps out and runs across the road to buy some rice, spare ribs and bananas. Our driver speaks no English but drives well and I quite enjoy the ride despite the increased journey time.
We pass lots of rivers and at Vinh Long cross the huge Mekong. As we get nearer to HCMC the number of motorbikes increases a lot. Everyone we have spoken to has mentioned the traffic here and we’re not surprised when the driver is pulled over by the police for committing some minor traffic offence. He pays the fine and gets back, despite his lack of English and our lack of Vietnamese we all speak the same language when nicked by the police and his resigned acceptance and obvious pissed off face was plain to see!
He drops us at An Phu Hotel in Pham Ngu Lao. This is the backpacker HCMC equivalent of Bangkok’s Th Khao San Road. A great place to be, loads of cheap accommodation and very central. As we will be overspending in a serious way once Mum and Paul arrive on Friday we opt for a budget place that turns out to be a real bargain with a bath in the kid’s room, loads of TV channels and free wifi. For 4 pounds 50 per night per room we are pleased with our choice.
I sit and watch American Idol and we head out to get some food around 8pm. As Simon gets some money from the ATM he bumps into Dave the conservation biologist we spent some time with in Chau Doc. It’s good to see him and he joins us for dinner and tells us about his past few days further exploring The Mekong Delta. After a hourn or so catching up we say our goodbyes again, return to the hotel and crash out.
Its 10.45 now and I’m feeling knackered, tomorrow we have to go and get a decent hotel sorted for the weekend so as I guess we will be traipsing around for a few hours I’m going to get some sleep now.