Monday, February 7, 2011

Mekong Shmeakong

We have had one hell of a time getting to Vietnam. We spent a night in phnom penh, Cambodia, which was expected. Once we got there we realized that things were getting a little more busy closer to the Vietnam border becuase of the New year (Tet). So we tried to book a hotel in the Mekong Delta for the following night. We had tons of numbers of places to call. All we needed was a phone. After going to internet cafe's times 20 (not exaggerating)we still could not get a call from Cambodia to Vietnam. For some reason none of the calls would go through. We asked for help and people said +84. (Tried that!) We sent an email through a vietnam hotel type website to a hotel hopping we'd be ok. Then we just gave up and went home to bed, which consisted of a cushion on the floor in this interesting hostel.

What I am going to tell you next is what should have happened..... We woke up at 6:30 to catch a boat that would take us the the border in 3 hours and then we would catch a bus that would take us to Can Tho, Vietnam (Mekong Delta) in another 3 hours.

What I am going to tell you now is what really happened. We woke up at 6:30 and waited until 7:30 at our hotel for a bus to pick us up. We thought it was taking us to our boat near the river. Well it took us 2 hours straight to the border. Where we took a boat for 2 hours to another town in the Mekong. There we grabbed a bus. We thought we were in for a relaxing ride. It was a small mini ford bus that had seats for 15 people. We left the bus station with 9 people in the bus and I thought we were in for a treat for the next 3 hours.

Oh we were in for a treat all right! As we pulled away I realized there were all these stools in the bus and I just thought add it to the list of weird things I see everyday. 2 seconds later we stopped and someone got on. then 5 minutes later we stopped and 3 peoples got on. Dan and I kinda looked at each other and realized what was going on. Our 3 hour bus took 4.5 hours and had about 100 people on it over the course. At one point there were probably about 25 people on it. It was nuts. However we did arrive in Can Tho safely.

We went to our hotel that we had sent an email to hoping we'd have a place to stay. They said they had no reservation but we were in luck we could stay there...for $35. So we said yes. We were too tired and peeved about our traveling day to keep looking for another one.

We booked a morning tour (5:30) of the Mekong delta and headed out to explore the town and get a bite to eat. (Yes that whole time we didnt eat anything!) We grabbed a good bite to eat (at an ant infested table) but the food was really good! Then we tried to book hotel's for a next town in the Mekong. Unsuccessful again. We thought we'd have no problem making a Vietnam to Vietnam call. Nope.. still didnt work. Once again we went to bed discouraged. Except this time it was in a very nice hotel and we had an actual bed (That we were paying up the wazoo for) (I know $35 doesnt seem like a lot of money, and in fact it isnt, but you can get a very nice hotel for far less in Asia)

We woke up a little tired but had a morning full of sightseeing. We went to the largest floating market in the Mekong. Or should I say we asked to go to this market. The market we went to didnt look so big and I'm pretty sure we didnt go to the right place. All in all it was fine. We went back to the hotel just in time for free breakfast!

After breakfast we went back to our room. All of a sudden I realized the Superbowl was on in the US! I was so excited. I figured they would have to have it. Well my friends, I am in Vietnam. The government regulates all TV, Internet, etc. So there was no superbowl (and i cant get to the facebook website either) So we opted for John Q. Nothing like Denzel!

As I passed out Dan took the liberty of looking at the Vietnam tour book that we have. He was my savior of the day! I awoke to the cleaning woman coming into our room and Dan persisting she'd not. Dan then showed me a list of itineraries he had just put together. We decided that the Mekong was relatively like the Backwaters of Kerala, India and decided to pack our stuff immediately and head to Ho Chi Min City (Saigon)

So we grabbed a quick bite knowing how hungry we were the last time and got a motorbike ride on the back on motorbike taxi's and were once again scammed into a bus ride. The taxi man collected commission from the company we were dropped off at. We knew it but still got a ticket from them. We were told we were going to leave at 1pm (in 20 minutes) We'll enough Vietnamese people came to fill the 1pm bus so we were bumped to the next bus. I knew exactly what was going on and sadly I had had my fill.

I started yelling. At first i just slapped my leg and said HEY! The bus driver just said he had room for 2 more people and she let 2 people that had just showed up on the bus. Then once she knew I figured out what had happened she said ten more mini. I was so furious. We waited another 10 minutes and then another 10 minutes and finally we got on the bus. A seat that was supposed to fit 3 (squished) somehow managed to fit 4. Luckily we thought it was going to take us 5 hours to get to Saigon and it only took 3.

And now we are posted up at a wonderfully recommended hotel Spring House Hotel. We just enjoyed a nice dinner and we're going to get a great night sleep on the top floor in our air conditioned room with a balcony!

I guess the Mekong wasn't our fit. Hopefully Saigon and the rest of Vietnam is great! Crossing our fingers.

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