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Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam

New Year Celebrations in Saigon

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31.12.2011 – This morning we need to look at options for our trip to the Mekong Delta. We want to leave on the 2nd, so are trying to get it sorted today. We went to a few different agencies, but they all seem to be offering the exact same sort of trip. We thought it might have been nice to do something a bit different, perhaps smaller groups, but it is really expensive - $200+ for 3 days/2 nights, and even then we can’t find one that has consistently good reviews. We’re not sure what we’ll end up doing – it might just be a case of cheap and cheerful to get us through the Mekong and across the border to Cambodia.

We gave up on travel agencies after realising that most of them really are exactly the same and headed down to the centre of town and checking out a few of the shopping areas. There was one market in particular that specialised in war clothing/medals/weapons etc which was pretty cool. We didn’t have big plans for today, keeping it low key in preparation for our big night tonight.

Back at the hotel we got ready for our party and tried on our new clothes. Looking glamorous, we caught a taxi as far as we could towards the river, and then walked the rest of the way as the roads were closed in preparation for the events later that evening.

We arrived at the Renaissance Hotel and were taken up to the pool terrace where we had secured the best table of the evening, right on the riverside with a great view of the river and streets below. The evening was a buffet BBQ, and the chefs were on hand to grill anything you fancied – Lobster, king prawns, kebabs, scallops, steak, calamari – as well as all the entrees, canapés, side dishes you could imagine, and a dessert bar that was to die for. The four of us were very happy. Add to that unlimited wine, champagne, cocktails and beer, the evening was merry and we celebrated the close of an amazing 2011, and welcomed 2012 with fireworks over the riverside and glasses of champagne all round.

Looking back over everything we have done this year was incredible. We have been to 24 countries. Chris pointed out that he has only worked about 4 months, and for me it was only 6.5 months. We visited a new continent – Africa. We’ve said goodbye to our life and friends in London after 5 fabulous years. We have been lucky to have travelled to amazing countries, seen things we only dreamed of seeing and met some great people along the way. We haven’t killed each other – despite spending 5 ½ months together almost 24/7. We’re slowly spending all our savings, yet have never been happier. Life really has been good to us, and we hope that it continues in 2012.

01.01.2012 – We got home in the wee hours of the morning, so the day was never going to hold much for us. I left a sleeping Chris in bed and had crepes and a smoothie for breakfast, may as well start the New Year with something nice.

We booked a trip for the Mekong Delta, and ended up going cheap and cheerful. We paid $47 for 3 days/2 nights including a homestay and dinner, so we’re not expecting too much, but hope it will still be good fun. They say the Mekong experience is like entering a gift-shop these days, with everyone expecting a piece of the tourist cash bubble. We will see.

Posted by Long way home 06:37 Archived in Vietnam

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