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Born in the UK but now living in Australia, Paul Fox has travelled to many places throughout China. He has seen the lighter side, the darker side, both the gentle and the seedy sides. He documents his experiences and is willing to share them with anyone who wants to listen. He is not afraid to say things exactly how he sees them, and is quite happy to "name and shame" when necessary.
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It's a lovely holiday, watch some bastard spoil it....Part 1    

By Paul Fox
1193 Views | 2 Comments | 10/15/2016 9:55:28 PM

If you enjoy a fun Happy Hour, Vietnam may be the place for you.

My second trip to Vietnam. I had a couple of weeks there in February with a good friend and two more weeks this August, though this time alone.



"Aren't you bored? You MUST be bored traveling alone!" says Barry Pittbull. (we communicate via Instant Messaging because he has few friends, lol)



"Why?" Was my intrigued reply.



Isn't it funny how people try so hard to convince you that you are wrong just because they don't understand what it is you are trying to do.....?



I remember a Chinese woman telling me that finding a partner was more important than going to work. Why?



Try telling your landlord that you can't pay the rent this month because you have been looking for a partner instead of working....fool!



A few months ago I was asked by a student what the difference was between solitude and loneliness.



From nowhere, I wrote on the board the following words....



"Loneliness is the pain of solitude, solitude is the joy of loneliness"



Pretty much summed it up, I reckon. The fact is, I have enjoyed 2 weeks of solitudal relaxation and actually made some long overdue decisions about my future. - But more about that as things progress....



For those of you who are crap at "jografee" like me, Vietnam is that skinny bit of land in between Thailand and South West China. Had a bit of a conflict with the USA back in the 60's and reamed those yanks a well deserved second arsehole, IMO.



The war is not a topic that I have heard discussed. I'm not saying that it's akin to the classic Fawlty Towers 'Don't mention the war' sketch, to me it appears to be more of a 'We won't forget it, but don't need reminding of it', kind of thing.



There was supposed to be some kind of memorial service while I was there. 1000 Aussie ex-servicemen flew in just as the Viet gov cancelled it at the 11th hour (Asian style) - Oh well, I'm sure they all got rotten-drunk on 1/3 of their weekly war pension...as you'll see in a few minutes....



Vietnam is not a "pearl" in the orient, it's a Diamond! And a bloody great big one at that....



Having been a frequent visitor to Thailand for many years, I decided to try Vietnam mainly due to the fact that Thailand now charges like a wounded bull for just about everything, and westerners are about as welcome as dog poo on your new stilettos. Vietnam was a total eye opener.



The first question you guys want answering is what are the women like? Well, in my humble opinion it's simple.



They are essentially a cross between Thai and Chinese. They don't have the conservativism that the Chinese possess, nor the liberalism of the Thai. As far as looks go, well they are certainly beautiful, that's for sure.



I didn't manage to find out whether or not they are the same as Chinese women insofar as they are expected to marry before they hit 30, to a guy they don't love, so they can have a kid they don't want, but we'll see in time I guess.



I booked my flight at short notice. China to Ho Chi Minh, return, for rmb2080. That's about USD$315 in "real money" so not exactly a bank breaker. Decent hotels in Vietnam can be found for around $20 a night including breakfast, so all in all it's affordable I reckon.



My flight was with China Southern Airlines. I've flown with them a billion times and I won't say bad things about them, but they do have a tendency to alter, cancel and change flights at a moments notice.



My first flight was from Nanjing to Guangzhou. While I was in the taxi to the airport I got a text message saying that my evening flight to HCM had been re scheduled to 9am the following day. Apparently this was to be a permanent change. Fair play, they put me up in a luxury hotel in Guangzhou, free of charge.



The return flight was  comfortable and I had about 2 hours to clear immigration and catch my connecting flight.



Oops...it's raining....flight cancelled sir, put you up in a hotel sir, flight at noon tomorrow sir, sorry for the inconvenience sir.....



Bless them. They try so hard. But in the typical Chinese airline industry, they'd cancel a flight due to a stray snowflake!



Oh well, another night in a luxury hotel free of charge....



So what's this blog about? Well, Vietnam.....when I eventually get round to it. It's a country in Asia that you MUST visit before you die. Put it on your bucket list....Do it NOW before you forget, lol.



 



The language is horrible! It has more tones than Chinese and more glottal-stops than a round-the-world-glottal-train. (If you don't know what a glottal-stop is then Google it. If I try to explain I'll bore you to death).



Mispronunciation is a crime too.



'Where you go, Mr Paul?' was the question asked by the lovely hotel-owner as I checked out after my first couple of nights in HCM.



'Mui Ne' was my reply.



'Where?', she asked, looking at her stunningly beautiful receptionist with a blank look.



'Mui Ne,' I repeated.



Well come on guys, how would YOU say it?..... 'Mooey Ner?'



It's a town....a coastal town that sits directly east of HCM. $7 for a bus ticket and a trip that takes 4.5 hours to cover 225km.



As they both stared at each other, then at me, I wrote it down on a scrap bit of paper....MUI NE...



'Oh, Mooey Nair' was the giggle-filled reply. Jeez, it's a PLACE....can't I be forgiven for a slight slip in intonation? ....obviously not...



Listening to Vietnamese people in conversation is more like listening to the latest composition from Andrew Lloyd-Webber!



So apart from the war, what is Vietnam famous for? Coffee!



If you're a coffee-lover like me, then 'Nam is definitely the place for you. Vietnamese iced coffee is like an angel crying on your tongue, and at 50c (upwards) per glass, it's not like you need to go to Starbucks to be ripped off either.



Their currency is stupid. It's like Indonesian rupiah on steroids. One USD is like 22600 of their money, one Chinese yuan is 3300 and one Aussie dollar is 16800. I dare not check GB Pounds, lol. You literally have millions in your pocket, but in real money, nowt.



Look at the photo that goes with this blog. 130,000 vnd (Vietnam Dong) for 4 hours of drinking as much draught beer as you can manage. That's about USD$5.75. (Draught Tiger Beer too!)



I got so drunk that I was dividing the cost by the number of beers I was managing to put away. Old-hand bar owners such as Abbot and our dear-departed Humphris would know why these bar-owners would do such a seemingly stupid thing, but I also understand why and it certainly kept me happy for a couple of evenings..



I managed 22 beers before I fell off my bar stool and have no memory of my 30-minute walk back to the hotel, but I certainly needed to prove to myself that after 18 months in China, I can still drink like an Aussie, lol.



I thought I'd died and gone to heaven....$5.75 / 22. you work it out, lol.



Till Part 2....when the reason for writing about my solo trip to Vietnam will become a little clearer.


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#2016-10-15 21:55:10 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

You have convinced me that I have to get to Vietnam ASAP for a visit, almost as badly as I have to get back to China to live ASAP! And it isn't because of the price of beer at Happy Hour.


Of course, I'll be traveling with my lovely Chinese wife, so 22 beer in a sitting is 21 more than I'll be having. I am not sure if that is good or bad for the soul, but I have come to realize beyond any doubt it is good for the health. And a far sight better for the relationship as well.


But having said that I very much wish to see Vietnam for an extended stay. If for nothing else, then the coffee alone is reason enough. But I also think the culture, the "jografee", the people and the history all make Vietnam a must visit place.


Our goal is to get to our home in Lijiang (that we have yet to live in), settle in, and from there spend a year or so seeing parts of China and much of S.E. Asia. Vietnam is the first in our bucket list of places to spend some time in. It has replaced Changmai, in Thailand, while we watch to see how things develop in what was the best country in the world for western visitors, but has been rapidly losing its charm from what we are seeing and hearing.


I am looking forward to Part 2 Paul. Nicely done.


#2016-10-15 23:10:08 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


@JohnAbbot

The King is dead, Long live the King!

In case you have been living on another planet, I have some news for you. The longest-serving monarch on this planet is dead!

Thailand is now embarking on an official 12-months of mourning.

The military may be good at shooting people, but they are less competent than a retarded ass when it comes to governing.

The police are a bunch of alcoholic time-wasters whose sole intention is using their 'power' to gain sexual favours, and nothing else.

 

A couple of weeks ago, a member of the 'elite' was arrested and imprisoned in a 'secure cell' for fraudulently signing property deeds. He died while in police custody but the official announcement was....'He was killed by an unknown person, but it wasn't murder' - Go figure!

 

Thailand is a time-bomb waiting to explode. There willl be a civil war in no time and car-bombs have already been threatened in Bangkok.

 

Thailand is currently the number one destination to avoid!

 

Slander is worse than the most heinous of Western crimes and will get you a minimum of ten years in nick - just for accusing a perpetrator. Military and police cannot (by law) be accused or investigated, so they are all essentially above the law, and foreigners are 'committing suicide' on an almost daily basis.

 

So much so that it's been reported that Thailand police actually carry with them 'suicide notes' so they can leave them at murder scenes. Bodies are cremated within a few hours (so as to avoid an autopsy), and getting away with murder is easier than making scrambled eggs.

 

Knock on a hotel door.

Get invited in.

Hit the occupant, then throw him over the balcony.

Lock the door on your way out.

 

'Oh, locked door (from the inside), so it MUST have been suicide".

 

Sounds far-fetched, right? It's happening to Western people on a weekly basis, and now Chinese visitors too.

 

Now, with the death of the King, Thailand is about to embark on a self-destructive exercise that is unprecedented in any civilised country.

 

It may be a beautiful country, but now is not the time to visit. Vietnam is far more appealing.

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