By Jo McInnes
I think Steve's and my views of Vietnam are somewhat different. Although I'm glad I went, it was certainly too long. By the end I was fed-up with the pollution and the unpleasant, assaulting smell of garbage mixed with cooking food as we walked along the street. But most of all I was dead sick of people grabbing my children! Personal space isn't a high priority in Vietnam.I think Steve's and my views of Vietnam are somewhat different. Although I'm glad I went, it was certainly too long. By the end I was fed-up with the pollution and the unpleasant, assaulting smell of garbage mixed with cooking food as we walked along the street. But most of all I was dead sick of people grabbing my children! Personal space isn't a high priority in Vietnam.
Like Steve, I too got to have my own little excursions; not often though. Partly because I didn't want to leave everyone else in the hotel room and partly because I didn't enjoy it that much.
On my main excursion I got hopelessly lost. I had a map, but none of the street names on the map are spelt the same as they are on the signs - a little frustrating. My sense of direction isn't great at the best of times but wandering through a maze of streets where you can't see the horizon to get some perspective on things doesn't help.
I ended up halfway across the city before I thought it best to get some help. My choice of assistance was a nice young girl who could only say "I don't speak english". We tried anyway. I gave her the map, and after turning it around about 10 times she finally found where we were and pointed me in the right direction. I was off, feeling a little more confident, only to get lost again about five blocks later. It was ok now though as I new someone would be able to decipher the map. I had to get help about five times before I made it back home. I must say, I actually enjoyed this excursion and was quite proud of myself for finding my way back without having a meltdown.
My last straw for Vietnam though; my "get me out of here!!" moment came when we were waiting at the airport in Hanoi to fly out. By this point I was ready to leave. My stomach and the kids stomach's had been playing up for a large part of our trip and I had become obsessed with finding food that wasn't going to exacerbate the problem. James would say "I want ice-cream" and I would say "no mate, I'll buy you ice-cream in England".
We got through customs and decided we'd have something to eat while we waited for the plane. This couldn't be too bad I thought - it's an international airport. They've got to have good hygiene standards? We found a cafe, sat down and ordered - pizza, toasted sandwiches, orange juice etc. The waitress left and I just happened to be sitting and staring at the wall deep in contemplation, probably about the coming plane flight. Next thing, I spy a mouse shimmying down the wall between a pane of glass and temporary wall from a shop outside!!
I couldn't believe what I as seeing, I blinked and shook my head but it was still there. Then it disappeared. The waitress came over to give us our drinks and I told her. She just laughed. Our food arrived. I couldn't look at it. I don't think I'll ever be able to eat a Margarita Pizza again!
So there it goes. The Vietnam part is over. 10 days turned into 23. At times it truly felt like it was never going to end. On the whole though it was a great experience and the people were very friendly, if not a bit over friendly.
Now then, lets see what the UK and Europe has in store for us!