|16 Really nice days in Vung Tau, morning beach walks, lazy afternoons. Over the Christmas/New Year period the hotel was jam-packed with local families from Saigon. Must be getting old as the millions of kids screaming, running, jumping, crying in reception, the restaurant, in the lifts, in the corridors was making our heads ache. Don’t know if it’s an Asian thing but appeared to be absolutely no discipline whatsoever. The kids were definitely in charge of the parents. Rather glad when the holiday period was over.
The beach was essentially the same with boomboxes, karaoke, team games with loudspeakers the participants in matching t-shirts and of course numerous selfies in every imaginable pose. Add to this rather naïve behaviour – lots of love messages in the sand, buckets and spades, burying each other in the sand, more screaming – think Australia 50 years ago. Was something rather nice about it. Didn’t realise it got so frantic but managed to enjoy ourselves anyway. As usual the beach itself is covered in rubbish, particularly in the less popular stretches. Great pity.
Unfortunately Peter was struck with his annual breathing sickness requiring a visit to the local hospital (in this case The Russian Hospital, set up in the 60’s with equipment to match). Became clear fairly quickly they had no idea what to do with him after x-rays, a MRI scan, a visit to the EN&T Department who diagnosed a heart attack (!!) Resulted in the usual drugs and he did slowly get better.
Had a nice experience during one of our walking tours around the back alleys – we passed a very old lady, said hello, and was greeted with a large two-toothed betel-nut stained grin. She then grabbed my hand and pulled me into a nearby gym. Gym itself looked as old as the lady (88) with original equipment. She then proceeded to show off, on the weights, bench press etc, indicating that I should do the same. Ashamed to admit she was fitter than me! I matched her on a few exercises but she was nimbler. The 4 or 5 other people were in fits, laughing and taking photos. Great fun.
Back to the Pullman Saigon for 3 nights then on to Malaysia. We’re currently staying at Sofitel Damansara Heights, 3 train stations from Kuala Lumpur city centre. Met Peter’s brother Kim at the airport and we’re here for 9 nights. Fabulous hotel, both have really nice rooms. So far we’ve been exploring each day, lots of walking and train rides. The building that’s going on here is phenomenal, new public transport infrastructure, freeways, high-rise apartment buildings etc. The place is just buzzing.
Last minute decision to visit Putra Jaya, a newly build city (started 1997) between the city and the airport, purely for government departments. Absolutely stunning place - futuristic buildings, apartment blocks, lots of green areas all surrounding a large man-made lake. The highlight was the Red Mosque. Godsmaking. Think Canberra times 100.
I’ll wrap up the blog here I think. We’ll be going home via Brisbane to visit my family and get back to Tasmania on 27 Jan. As last year, it’s time to sleep in our own bed, cook our own food and use the washing machine! Hope everyone has a happy new year.