Hi from Hue, Vietnam

Hello from Vietnam!  Where it’s hot – damn hot!

I’m currently melting in Hue.  The weather man told me it was going to be 35 degrees today.  He lied – it was hotter.

Apologies to those that didn’t realise I was overseas.  I was getting a bit depressed during Melbourne’s winter, and decided I needed to get some heat.  Instead of veging out on a beach in Queensland, I decided Vietnam was the go.  Another reason for treating myself to a holiday, is that last Monday I reached 10 years at Blakes – yikes!

It feels so good to be back to the hussle and bussle of Asia.  Hanoi was great.  There were motor bikes everywhere.  To cross the street you just walked out there and waited for the bikes to swerve around you.  I loved how people live their lives out on the streets.  Foot paths are not for walking – they are for living (or for parking your motor bike).  The people cook out on the streets, they eat out on the streets.  I saw men with mirrors nailed to trees and they were operating their hairdressing business out on the streets.  I even saw people sitting out on the streets picking nits out of each others heads while they waited for customers.

I got hopelessly and deliciously lost in Hanoi.  I wandered around for hours upon hours (partly because I was so lost).  One minute you would be walking down a street that sold toys, the next it would be shoes, then you’d be on the street that sold spices, then flowers and then next the one that sold grave stones.

I popped in to see Uncle Ho.  He’s not looking too bad, but we got told off for laughing when we were in the que outside.  ‘Must be solomn!’ a guard yelled at us (which of course made us laugh again).

The group I am travelling with are really nice.  Mostly Australian, two Irish and two Austrians.

I seem to be developing a reputation for my sleeping, which won’t surprise many of you.  While on the boat in Halong Bay I fell asleep for 3 hours in an uncomfortable wooden deck chair.  Then on the train I would be talking one minute then sound asleep with my head back and mouth open the next.  Then I would wake up and continue the conversation and then fall back asleep.

Today we went motor biking through the countryside.  (Don’t worry Mum – I’m all in one piece.)  After all my walking around in Hanoi I’ve discovered the best way to get around is to ‘pay a man’ – either motor bike or cyclo.  Now before you tell me off for being lazy I did ride the cyclo for a while to give my poor little dude a rest.  I let him sit down and I rode the bike, much to the amusement of the locals.  I have some great photos of me riding around with my white granny undies showing.  (Reminder to self:  must wear hipsters when wearing those pants.)

Toilet update:  Only one squat toilet.  Bit disappointed about this as I had syked myself up for them again.  And even with the squat one I used I had the choice of a western style one as well.

Food update:  AWESOME!!!  Only disappointment is the icecream.  No Magnums.  And no lime Mizones, although I seem to be ordering a lot of cold lemon juices which are just as refreshing.

Future of Alison (according to a little old Vietnam lady who told me my fortune):  I am in good job, but very hard (I think she deducted this from the rowing blisters and calluses on my hands).  In 8 months I will meet boyfriend, but I give him trouble.  I will get married to a good man, but I give him trouble.  (Not sure if this is the same man as the boyfriend or another man, but it sounds like I give lots of trouble…)  I will have 3 children.  First a boy and then 2 girls.  I will have these very quick after getting married.  When I am 42 I will have husband, family and nice house.

That’s it from me for now.  Another week here and then it’s back to Melbourne and back to work.  Hope everyone is well.

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