We’re coming to the end of our month in Vietnam and we’ve absolutely loved it. We haven’t seen the same beautiful beaches and clear waters that we saw in Thailand, but we’ve really enjoyed the vibe here. The people are warm and friendly. They’re completely delighted by our trail of three little boys. We get told a few times a day how well we’ve done to have three kids…especially boys. My feminist self cringes a little but it’s also lovely to be in a country that really appreciates the kids instead of treating them like a problem. Kazumi gets swept into people’s arms and off into their homes and shops especially often. Fortunately he doesn’t seem to mind, and he often gets a little treat in the process. And what’s lovely is that men and teenage boys seems as ready to coo over and pick up little children as women.
The food here is delicious as well. Fresh and with lots of flavour. Sometimes too fresh. We’ve cringed seeing live crayfish writhing on grills, and live toads and crabs bound in buckets in the market. There’s a level of animal cruelty involved in the fresh non-veg food. But there are lots of excellent vegetarian options too — great tofu and eggplant dishes with abundant fresh herbs and garlic.
We started our Vietnam trip in Saigon. The traffic was crazy, but we loved the city’s hustle and bustle. Across the road from our hotel was a playground…with seesaws for everyone!
After one night in Saigon (we came back) we took a bus, then scooters and a boat to an island in the Mekong Delta where we stayed for 5 nights. It was humid but fortunately the guesthouse had a small pool. The Finnish-Vietnamese owners had also just arrived (skipping the Finnish winter) with their 6-year old daughter, who ended up being a great friend for the older boys.
Here’s our surroundings at the guesthouse. The video gives you an idea of how gorgeously lush it was but it doesn’t show the HUMIDITY. It was hot.
One morning we took a boat ride through the small canals the wind all through the vast area of the delta, and visited the market at the same time. Our boat of four little kids (the owner’s daughter joined us) turned out to be a great spectacle for the locals, with the woman who rowed out boat pointing us out to everyone we passed. It’s nice to feel you’re giving something back ;-).
Natsuki also practised his dancing on the balcony. He found a partly willing partner in Kazumi. Fortunately we were the only people at the guesthouse much of the time…
One evening we all piled on a scooter and joined the owners and some friends at a little night fair.
We took another bus back to Saigon where we stayed for three nights, eating yummy food, spending a super fun day at the water park, and another fun day in an indoor play area…where Izumi and I spent more time on the arcade games than the kids. Sadly, and contrary to both of our memories of our former glory, we weren’t very good and didn’t win enough tickets to get any cool prizes.
On 8 December we took the 19-hour night train to Hoi An, though floods stopped the train before it reached its final destination. To be continued in another post on Hoi An…;-)