Farewell Saigon

Farewell Vietnam and the Streets OF Saigon

Today I’ve unpacked our holiday clothes; jandals, dresses, togs, T-shirts and shorts.
Goodbye Vietnam and your balmy 35degree highs, hello Auckland 10degrees and hailstorms, excellent.

Our once dusty suitcases now smell like the mean streets of Saigon.
I have piles and piles of washing to do.
This time two days ago I was sitting at breakfast on the rooftop terrace looking out over the city when I spied my undies flapping in the wind on the rooftop next door…but I didn’t mind cause someone else had washed them for me.
Now I’m listening to Pearl throw a tantrum because she wants to wear her new clothes and ‘why didn’t I wash them while we were on the plane’?

Here’s a rundown of our final few days in Saigon

Captains log 21/9/19

Our hotel is much smaller than the Vin Pearl, we have booked two rooms, the kids have been running up and down between floors and I’m acutely aware of every noise they make as I don’t want to disturb the young travellers without children, so I disturb them even more by screaming at the kids to quieten down. 
The rooftop terrace has an excellent view of the city; we’ve been sipping our free cocktails every evening watching the thunderstorms roll in. The bar supplies free peanuts, but I noticed they stopped offering us these after the first time my children cleared out their supplies.

We fly back to NZ tomorrow. We’ve spent two nights in Ho Chi Minh.
The city is massive and extremely busy, with traffic unlike I’ve ever been in before. There are no road rules, and there are around 7.3million registered scooter drivers in this city. We’ve had a couple of close calls crossing the road with the kids, but now have it down to a fine art. We bunch together, link arms, follow a couple of local people and step out. The worst bit is stepping out, after that, you walk in the direction you want to go and NEVER look up, the scooters and cars go around you.

I can’t get enough of the names they have for shops over here:
Yoghurt Space
Snob Coffee
Magic Potato
Bread Talk
B.O Bakery
Want Tea
B.S Mart
Phuc Long
The kids often ask why I’m giggling, but I can’t be bothered explaining it to them. 
They make delicious coffee over here on ice with condensed milk, they also add butter and sugar to their french fries, so I’m returning three kilos heavier.

Our trips to the markets have been stressful every time.
I’m not sure why, but Dan seems to get into an awful mood as soon as we step foot in the overcrowded markets.
The twins eyes blaze with shopping fury; they want to buy everything they see. The little ones want to buy crap, and Jake is still obsessed with Rolexes. We get pulled in different directions from various merchandisers. Trying to keep track of the kids is hard, before you know it there are around five bartering opportunities that Dan has to take control of, cause I’m no good with numbers, and my heart is too kind, and he’s hogging all the cash anyway so all deals must be approved by him first.

We have a very different bartering style; it goes something like this:

Bad Mood
Asks about an item at a few different stalls and is prepared to walk away until he finds the absolute lowest they will go.
Screws them down
Dan: Happy
Merchandiser: Unhappy

Confused overwhelmed mood
Show an interest in an item, get swamped by three merchandisers, before I know it I have 3 different pairs of shoes on offer
Feel too rude to walk away
Can’t figure out half of the stated price and convert that into NZ $$ in my head
Take a wild guess
Merchandiser: Over the moon
Dan: Furious
Me: Guilty and flustered, have three new pairs of shoes that I never really wanted anyway.

We toured the War Remnants Museum which was horrifying, confronting and sobering. Graphic photographs showed the effects of war on civilians and soldiers, Injuries from bombs, guns, torture and the effects of Agent Orange. One picture that disturbed me was of a family, just women and children, moments before machine guns opened fire on them. I didn’t cope with that very well and shed a few tears.

We toured the Cu Chi Tunnels, the elaborate network of tunnels used by the Vietcong during the war. It was a fascinating experience. We all went underground to crawl 100 meters along. It wasn’t suited to everybody in the tour group, with many bailing out with claustrophobia. Not our Pearl though, she charged on ahead looking for crocs that may have crawled up the tunnel from the Saigon river.
At one point you had to crawl on your hands and knees, Dan felt particularly squashed, he came out the other end, eyes wide and all sweaty. We took a jet boat ride home back up the Saigon River from the tunnels to Ho Chi Minh. Our boat stopping frequently to untangle rubbish from the propeller.

Antibiotics: Selinas’ cough got extremely chesty, so I started her on AB’s, I hope I’ve done the right thing.

What I should’ve included in the kit:
Anti Rabies Vaccine: Honey Badger has been on about having rabies and keeps biting us.

Things I have Learnt:

Honey Badger can pick up peanuts with chopsticks

I live in a high stress, fast paced environment. I worry about the future frequently and can get too hung up on what I should be achieving. Its ok for me to slow down, let go and be kinder to myself.

Air New Zealand doesn’t serve anything stronger than alcohol

When shopping at Pak n Save if you pretend that your trolley is a scooter and you are driving through the streets of Saigon, other shoppers get out of your way, and its lots of fun, especially if you beep at them.

Our journey is over, and It’s the first time I’ve ever felt not ready to return home to NZ.
I guess as Jake says over and over again, all good things must come to an end.
Someone has yet to collect their 7.4 million dollar lotto ticket from our local Pak n Save; we’ve been fantasising that we’ve won and imagining what we’d do with the money.
Pack and up leave for a world tour is number 1 on the list, if we could, we’d go tomorrow!
So now I switch direction, away from holiday mode back to reality, eat, work, sleep repeat.
I want so badly to be in my bikini eating chocolate for breakfast waaaaaaaa!

Maybe we should sell our house and just go travel for a year.