If I tell the truth – leaving the Ho Chi Minh city is not that sad for me. It just means that we have something else than city to explore, which makes me more than happy. Finding bus from here to Can Tho, which is our next stop, wasn´t that hard. Internet is a big thing in here – and you can find all the information there with no issues. So after a little bit of reading we found luxurious “Orange buses” how we call them. I don´t understand how these Third World countries do it, but their buses are just perfect! We are trying to organize everything by ourselves as the price is over twice as high if we do it through the hostel or any agency.
From the hostel we took a taxi for unbelievable $2.2 NZD – and it took us right in front of the “Orange bus” agency. (The driver even opened my door to help me to get out from the car – which made quite embarrassed – damn, like I cannot do it myself. 😀 )
It takes around 3.5 hours to get to the Can Tho (with 20mins break). We payed $6.3 NZD each – and it is suppose to be a “sleeping bus” – well that makes us quite curious. Sitting in the waiting room and browsing on our phones. Oh yeah – there is a WIFI here, like everywhere else in this city. I am truly surprised that every toilet doesn´t have it´s own wifi :-D. You get connected in the hostel (where you would expect it), but also on buses, taxis, every coffee place, on ferries, bars, gyms, supermarkets. And the speed is usually quite OK. HEY! Is this really Vietnam?! I remember struggling in Central and South America, when I was uploading one stupid picture to FCB for 2 hours. 😀 (If I was lucky enough to find any wifi at all…)
It didn´t take long and they started to hurry us into the van – we were not sure at the fist moment, what is happening. But after a while we realized, that the bus doesn´t go from here, and they are giving us a free lift to the bus terminal. Awesome!
I found out that local people love very loud ring tones on their phones and they don´t hesitate to talk (I would call it shouting) and dealing their stuff on the phone in crowded places like a bus or van. So they are shouting over each other all the time.
Many local people use this bus company – I believe we are the one of 3 tourist couples and the rest are Vietnamese. Since this moment – nobody speaks English any more and we are trying to go with the crowd. When we arrive at the terminal – we can see lots of orange buses: “Ohhh maaan, which one is ours?” Luckily we got the bus number plate written on the tickets, so after little search, we found the one.
They are putting our stuff under the bus in the storage – as the isles on the bus are very narrow (even I had to walk sideways as I wouldn´t fit). When we are trying to get onto the bus, they are shouting at us something in their language, we are just standing there and staring, trying to understand. “Ohhhh, I think we have to take our boots off!” They are handing us little tiny black plastic bags (we have problem to fit our boots into them) and bare-feet getting onto the bus trying to find our “beds”- YEAAAAH – sleeping buses are real! 😀 There are 3 rows with bottom and top “bunks”.
Steve´s excitement stops at the moment when he realizes, that he cannot fit into the little “leg pockets” (kind of sleeping capsule which goes under the bed of the passenger in front of you) – he is just too tall! So he fidgets from side to side trying to get comfy. Well I don´t have that kind of problem, so I put my music in my ears and look through the dirty window – hoping for some good views.
It takes us about an hour to even get out of the city – the traffic here is real disaster. When we finally get out of this jungle with a constant beeping – the nature still doesn´t makes me happy. The pollution and haze just steal all the colours from everything. The palm trees or rice fields are looking quite sad and boring without the happy bright green. Countless canals of muddy rivers also don´t please my eyes. Only big colourful boats with a lot of goods, fruit and veggies, floating on this brown water get my attention.
Every now and then I can see little tiny people in the fields (of course with the typical Vietnamese hats) – walking in the water and throwing something out of the baskets. I think they are getting for the summer (rainy season).
Sometimes you can see huge tombs in different kinds of colours standing lonely in these fields. I can be only wondering, if they are tombs of the families, who own the land? I can see dozens of them – it looks and feels quite strange. Along the way we pass 2 beautiful Vietnamese temples – their curved roofs and decorations were standing out proudly from little palm trees forests.
Steve is lying on his side reading a book – and I can see, that he isn´t well. He is taking Strepsils Lozenges – his throat is sore and the aircon is blasting on him – my silly boy forgot to take his jersey on the board. I would NEVER forget such an important thing – I remember my suffering from the past. I´ll rather be hot than freezing.
The busy streets of little villages keep me entertained – they are much more interesting than the nature at the moment (I hope that it will change while traveling north of Vietnam). You can see hundreds of little restaurants and kitchens whit yummy cheap food. Empty colourful hammocks are swinging in the light breeze – it is too early in the morning. I believe they will get busy later in the afternoon, when people arrive from work. They will be sipping through the straw their Jasmine tea from big glasses full of ice and slurping noodles from the big bowl of soup.
Many buildings in here are in very poor state – they are built from anything the streets could give them. But I think it was still much worse, when I saw people in Guatemala living without floors with roofs from plastic bags. I feel that Vietnamese just don´t need much to be happy. They seem to be comfortable there where they are – just not being greedy.
Every now and then you can see a beautiful house popping up – it looks like a castle, when you compare it to those little cottages they are surrounded by. Well I believe there are people who are luckier than others and their business is doing well.
Honestly I haven´t seen any stinky homeless person lying on the street asking for money yet. Just sometimes there are limbless people passing us by – mainly at the bus stations and terminals. They would never bother us with anything. They are selling some kind of lotto tickets to the locals – we think it is some kind of government support to help these people to earn some money.
Oh yeaaaah – there are a lot of people without limbs. We wonder if it is because of those 600 thousand tons of unexploded mines from the war. Yeaaah – it’s unbelievable!!!! Lets give you some smart info from the museum 😀
Between 1975 – 2002 over 42,000 people died because of these unexploded mines and 62 thousand others were injured. No wonder it’s everywhere in the guidebooks: “Do not go anywhere off the tourist paths”.
I seems that every village we pass has different points of interest. Some of them sell “building materials” – bags full of cement, sinks, pipes, bricks, toilets… another village is fool of meat and fish shops, next one blinds you with colours of gorgeous fruit and veggies…
And while I am trying not to miss anything and staring out through that window – IT FINALLY CAME! The awareness of “us traveling”. It took me a while, I know. BUT WE ARE HERE! In Vietnam! Gaining more travel adventures. Tears sneak into my eyes and roll down my cheeks. Another dream came true!
The bus terminal in Can Tho is a few kilometres outside the city. We started to panic a bit – but we are OK dealing this kind of situations. Steve takes care of our bags and I am trying to talk to the lady at the counter and explaining where we need to go. I think she got what I want and with pointing finger and broken English said: “You wait here.” Oh well then we waited 10 mins, 15 mins – when we thought she forgot about us. So I walked back and asked again – “You wait here.” I hear again. So I sit down again and wait. In 5 mins there is a man standing in front of us and with very bad English saying: “You come.” Well then we pick our stuff and follow this little man outside. Yaaaay – they are giving us a lift for free again. I told you – these Orange busses are just amazing!
When we get dropped off in front of our hostel – the owner runs out to welcome us with a big smile on his face. He is so lovely – his English is perfect, he even makes jokes. Later on we found out, that he is a young doctor, who just decided to open his own little hostel. He showed us around, pointed out nice little kitchens with yummy and very cheap food. (Like a bit over a dollar.)
There is only one down side of this place – the beds are rock hard. I think this is “a thing” in SE Asia – they just love hard beds. Sometimes I close my eyes and with a sadness remember our soft comfy bed back home. Ohhhhhh well – IT IS STILL WORTH IT!!
Steve is getting worse… he is tired and the cold his getting him slowly… So I let him rest and make my little office on the top bunk and do some writing. Tomorrow we are going for the Floating markets at the Mekong delta. I hope Steve will be better by then…