Thursday, 3 October 2013

The Longest Day

With cotton buds propping our eyes open, we squished our way to reception for the early morning ride to the airport.  Everyone and everything loaded with minutes to spare.  Good job too.  As we drove along through the lashing rain, we were flagged down by a small group of tourists.  Thinking there had been an accident, our driver stopped.  Not so.  These young people, absolutely sodden were lost and there were no taxis around at that time in the morning.  

Wemarkable Wind (I am running out of 'r' words now), phoned back to our hotel for directions.  Pete valiantly relinquished a honeymoon souvenir and handed over his map.  Relieved, the bedraggled lot thanked their Good Samaritans profusely and we continued our journey.  Wind pointed out that their evening would have been better with more 'shoulds'.  They should have had a map.  They should have had a hotel card.  They should have drunk less and they definitely should have left earlier.  

Having collected our boarding cards, HF settled down to eat the packed breakfasts thoughtfully  prepared by the hotel.  Try as I might, at that time in the morning, I just could not get my head or my mouth round the tamarind fruit.  For all the world, they looked like bright pink spiky testicles.  By inserting thumbs, the inner eyeball was revealed.  Yesterday I had loved them.  Today they were consigned to the bin.

Hubby was not at his most alert.  He managed to set the security alarm off by not removing his waistcoat.  Soon after, he was in his favourite slumber pose.  Our flight was called for boarding.  Gently, I nudged him.  'Not our flight.  That one's going to Ho Chi Minh.  We're going to Saigon'.  It was only when our fellow travellers moved, that he reluctantly realised that for once, I was right.  ( if you didn't get that, just Google it!)

On the plane, I developed a fit of the giggles.  I can't remember why  but it was not helped when Frank, sitting opposite, raised a comical eyebrow.  I lost it and only regained it when honeymooner Crystal sternly said, 'Patricia' in her prison officer tone.  Now I remember Cell Block H and the woman in the tumble drier so I stopped immediately.  Crystal's husband has a similar effect on me.  Having Richard Gere's eyes, when he said, 'And sleep!' I drifted away.  The only time I have ever nodded off on a plane.  No need for my hundred Hail Mary's or Good Morning Csptain, How's Your Lady Wife Routine?.  One small bang and we had landed.

Baggage collected, HF were worried.  We had lost our illustrious leader.  We had become so conditioned to following, we dare not move without him.  Should we go or should we stay? (Song there). The decision was taken out of our hands when the good shepherd returned looking for his lost lambs.  Having only hand luggage, he had gone straight out and assumed we would meet him outside.  Lesson learned.

Baaaa-shfully we followed him to the bus.  The Saigon motorbikers are far more conscientious, wearing helmets.  That is, the adults wear helmets.  The children, sometimes several of them at a time, do not.  The official reason being that there are none small enough and the weight would be too much for their necks.  I leave you to draw your own conclusion on that one.

But the children do look happy on the bikes as did the little boy playing at his parent's brickworks.  We visited there on our cruise down the Mekong River.  It was very interesting learning how to make bricks but I don't think it is a skill I will develop.  Nor will I encourage Hubby.  I would not like to be a brickie's wife on two counts.  Firstly, washing bricks all day would play havoc with my nails.  Secondly, depositing my personal bricks could be problematic as Nurse Judy found out.

Being took short, she was in need of a toilet.  She confused Wondering Wind when she said she needed a Number 2.  Eventually she clarified it in terms of the bear that likes honey. The only option was to walk out on parallel planks, hanging on to bamboo poles and adopt the squatting position.  Gutsy Judy went ahead and played an individual game of Pooh sticks.  Off they went down the stream into the Mekong River.  The same river where people wash, swim and catch fish to eat.  That's how it is folks.  And they dio it with smiles on their faces. 

So down the river we sailed to Sweetie Heaven.  Using a primitive yet creative way to grind the coconut for using to create a delicious toffee.  It should be marketed in the UK.  Can you hear me Gordon.  Coconut flavoured crackers and sugared ginger were other tasty treats for sampling and buying.

The braver amongst us sampled the evil looking snake rice wine.  I preferred the real thing and rather enjoyed having a python weave its way around my body.  I would say that it's a long time since I've had a long, warm thing between my legs, but I won't because Hubby will give me that look!  The one that means I am being too naughty.  Sorry dear.  I just couldn't resist.

A very wich Wind took us to his 'home' for lunch.  An old but extremely well-preserved (like me) colonial house.  It was like the set from 'Out of Africa'.  Pretty girls in traditional costume brought course after course.  The highlight, for me, was the Elephant Ear Fish.  It looked and tasted fabulous.  Sadly, not much meat on it, but I don't suppose there's much meat on an elephant's ear.  Rose resorted to picking through the bones for every last tasty morsel.

Thunderclaps and heavy rain were a fore warning of problems ahead.  Communication and cultural differences led to a misunderstanding over the bill.  Wise Wind was summoned and resolved the issue in his usual unflappable manner. 

From the humid heat to the extreme cold on the bus.  The day had seemed so long and tiring.  All I wanted was my bed.  And what a bed it was ! But no one could resist Wind's invitation to join him in the lobby for a surprise.  This lovely man had arranged a special Happy Family meal for us all.  A pianist ticked the ivories, the service was superb, the food extreme yummy and the company, as always, top notch.  Conversation flowed and Happy Family were harmonious.  A fitting almost end to a fantastic tour!

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