Tuesday, July 26, 2005

mighty mighty mess

What an amazingly tumultous couple of days I have had. I'll go over the immediate, before working backwards though the last week or so.

What started out being a fabulous night turned very sour, very fast. Ori, Sarah and I were celebrating the fact that we had bought tickets to Saigon, enabling us to leave Vietnam asap (its a hell of a country - not the romantic idyll that I had imagined it to be), so we had a fabulous dinner, and then headed to Nha Trang's hippest night spot - the Sailing Club. There, we met up with Casey and the English boys, starting up a fun, fun night of drinking and dancing. All good so far. That is, until Ori's pouch was stolen. In it was his passport, his cash, his credit cards, his flight home: everything important basically. So, from there, things take very much a downward turn. We spent all night looking for it, in the vain hope that someone would have taken the cash and dumped everything else. No such luck. So yesterday, on very little sleep, we tried to get everything organized. Getting a police report was of course impossible, because "only boss can stamp". Where was the boss? Out of town. God bless communism. Ori's working on it today. After a couple of calls to Israel, an office was found in Hanoi that will be able to issue him a new passport, but it means a 36hour bus ride back up the country, and we all know my feelings on Hanoi. So yes, its less than ideal. Some things have come out of it though. I don't keep my mobile on whilst travelling, but I'm damn glad I had it, or else it would have taken forever to get this even close to being sorted out. So anyone just about to head off, do take it with you. I am going to miss going to Cambodia, which is a real shame, because I was incredibly excited about Phnom Phenh and Angkor Wat, but still, such is life. And besides, my parents will be incredibly relieved; they have been sending me a lot of "take care of yourself" emails regarding it. So that's a whole country skipped. I'll be back in Bangkok around the 8th August instead. I guess I'll just have to come back sometime instead. And in the meantime, amuse myself by drinking hot chocolate and reading a lot of books in Hanoi.

Even excluding the last 36hours, I have really not liked Vietnam one little bit. Yes, Hoi An was rather beautiful, but in the way that a small French village is beautiful - hardly breath-taking. And that is how all of Vietnam has been. Nothing has quite lived up to the Lonely Planet's raving about it. Instead, everything has been work, and not really worth it. That is why we were so excited to be leaving for a new country. Still, twas not meant to be.

Hoi An is famous for its tailors, and I did manage to get some things made. This was incredibly challenging. Buying off the shelf is so much easier than tailoring - you can see instantaneously if something doesn't fit or doesn't work. This was particularly true for the evening dresses which I attemped to have made. In the end, the tailors just made a complete mess of both dresses, and I refused to take them. The material was pulled, and they were completely incapable of making them fit properly. This bad experience was counted by the sensible clothes I had made - a fabulous suit copied from a Chloe pattern (I do have champagne tastes after all) and a beautiful cream winter coat. Sweet. Plus, it does mean that I don't have to buy either when I get home - smart thinking, eh? But I have to admit to still being gutted about my lack of evening dresses. Oh, and of course, UNESCO has its mucky paws on Hoi An as well. Typical. Is there anywhere in Vietnam it hasn't marked off as having important education, scientific, or cultural resonance? Nope, and god knows why.


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