We arrived in Saigon Wednesday morning with plans to see the city for a few days before heading to Phnom Penh (Cambodia) on Saturday. We did a walking tour of the city, ate some great food, and, let’s be honest, did a lot of resting. We have, after all, been on the road seven weeks now.
We even went so far as to purchase our bus tickets through Mekong Express. We were leaving at 7 am on Saturday morning. It was going to take us six to seven hours to get into the capital of Cambodia.
And then, Friday afternoon, Louis, our hotel concierge, invited us for coffee. We ordered, sat down, and had a fairly interesting chat – mostly concerning weddings? Louis has a five-year plan, which culminates with a beautiful wife and a wildly expensive wedding – complete with an American honeymoon.
We discussed the best tricks for learning English, the differences between northern Vietnam and southern Vietnam’s coffee culture, and the fact that Louis is an avid karaoke-er. An hour later, we were back in our rooms. That’s when the trouble began…
At first, it was just mild stomach discomfort, but it quickly escalated into the certain knowledge that we were dying. And the culprit was easily named – unfiltered ice in the coffee. We thought, maybe it’ll pass if we take a cipro fast enough – wrong. The cipro only made it bearable (though thank you Peace Corps for teaching me when I can simply self medicate haha). Our plans of waking up at 6 am the following morning quickly flew out the window.
We found ourselves cancelling hotel rooms in Phnom Penh (where we only planned one night before transferring to our next beach spot) and Sihounakville. We were told our current hotel (Elegant Inn) was booked the following night – which didn’t seem quite fair since we never would have had that coffee if it weren’t for them. Though we can’t complain about the time we spent there, pre-coffee fiasco. We made a reservation at our second-choice hotel in Saigon (second only because it’s $8 more per night), which, thankfully, was just around the corner.
The next day we arrived at Hong Han Hotel to a daunting five flights of crazy stairs. Sick as we were, getting up those stairs would have been difficult enough, but we had our 15-kilo duffels and backpacks on us as well. Needless to say, we nearly collapsed when we made it to our room. Before heading down the stairs for dinner, I snapped the following shot:
But, stairs aside, Hong Han has been a serious upgrade. To be honest, we haven’t really left the room much (you saw the stairs), we’ve just been resting and recuperating. I was sick all of the time in Ethiopia, but after seven weeks out, I had sort of forgotten how much I hated that. Tomorrow we plan on trying again – trying to leave Vietnam. We had planned on 23 nights here and we’re already at 28. In fact, we only have three more days until our visas run out!
So send good thoughts and well wishes our way – we’re finished with our first country in SE Asia and looking forward to the next!