It’s 5.30 AM when our alarm clock goes off and although it is pretty early and I have difficulties with keeping my eyes open, I am glad we still have one full day here in this beautiful country.
Today is our last day here in Vietnam! I can’t believe how time has flown and I am so thankful that I got the opportunity to see so many beautiful and interesting things and the good thing about it, is that we still keep on exploring cuz today we are going to visit a floating market.
We all needed to be downstairs at the lobby at 6 AM and I am surprised to notice that we all made it in time, except for Richard and Lorein. It seems that our youngsters have difficulties with the alarm clock as well, but who can blame them, after all it is pretty early.
After trying to call them a couple of times, we get a positive answer that they are on their way to meet us, so a little after 6 we are on our way towards the boat.
It is not a far walk to the boat and once we’ve arrived there, we still needed to wait for a few minutes. It seems that either we are early or our captain is late. Whatever is the case, I don’t mind it at all because it gives me the chance to wake up properly.
As soon as our large boat is docked, we all jump aboard and leave again to have a pleasant outing on the river.
The views on the way towards the market are amazing, but sadly enough the weather isn’t. Dark clouds are everywhere and it looks like it could start raining any minute. Most of our group are hiding inside the boat, but me and Tania together with a few others dare the weather gods and sit outside at the back of the boat.
I guess in a way this was kind of a mistake because after just being a few minutes on the water, the wife of the captain comes over with a big plate full of trinkets. To me it all looks a bit like junk but hey, that’s just my personal opinion!
She is trying her utmost to sell as much as possible but none of us are really interested. That doesn’t mean she is a quitter though and in a way I have to admire her perseverance. After watching her using an outdated hair clip in more ways than one, she still takes no for an answer and tries to sell her jewellery, plastic bracelets or whatever more she brought along with.
After minutes of saying NO to her, she finally gets the picture and goes back inside, probably to try her chances with the rest of our group.
The good thing about the whole ordeal is the fact that we’ve got closer to the market than we first expected and just after mere minutes, the first boats appeared.
Unlike the small rowing boats we once saw a decade ago in Thailand, here you mostly see large vessels completely stacked with food or other valuables. It is thriving business as usual here in Vietnam and it really is a sight for the eye!
I have to admit that I have been a bit reluctant towards all the early wake-up calls we had the last couple of weeks, but when you are out here in the middle of the hustle and bustle of daily life, it sure is all worth it!
From time to time a few of the smaller motor boats try their chances with us tourists as well and hope to sell their goodies, though most of the time it is just snacks and drinks they offer.
After boating a while, even Tania gives it a go and buys an ice coffee and I was a bit surprised to see that the friendly woman conjured one in just over a minute. It seems that even here the main keyword is “time is money”!
But at least they offer it with a smile, that means a lot of course!
As we wave goodbye to the friendly woman in the back, another one has taken her chances in front of the boat and tries to sell a couple of pineapples, which I have to admit tasted very yummy.
It seems we have been quite a while on the water because after we’ve finished our piece of pineapple, our captain boats away from the market only to drop us off again a few meters further down the river at another market, on land this time!
We get a few minutes to have a look around this one as well and it is fun to try and look for things we haven’t seen before and just like on the water it is thriving business here as well.
Our bus is waiting on the parking lot behind the market and once we are all inside, it only takes us a few minutes to arrive back at our hotel. We still have a good few hours to enjoy breakfast and pack our stuff but since I already did this last night, I enjoyed a quick shower instead.
At 10 AM it was time to leave the city of Can Tho behind us and start our last road trip of this journey all the way back towards the airport of HCMC.
Once we’ve crossed the huge bridge, we drove for about half an hour when Albert all of a sudden told us there was a possibility to go and visit a communist cemetery. It seemed we weren’t far away from a large one and while I got all my hopes up of visiting one, I got majorly disappointed upon our arrival.
It seemed that the cemetery was closed and since climbing over the fences wasn’t an option, we had to skip the whole idea. Bummer!!!
Back on the road again, we drove for a couple more hours when all of a sudden we needed to park on the side of the road. Our driver and busboy hurried outside to have a look at the back of the bus and while this is happening, our tour rep Albert mentions to all of us that there is a problem with our bus.
It seems that we don’t need to worry much because our Vietnamese guys are going to solve it. If they can fix it, we are out of here in a jiffy, if not … well, lets just say that I am glad we stopped near a truckers rest stop with lots of hammocks and a possibility to have a drink and go to the toilet even if it is a men’s one!
One thing I learned about being in this country, is always to be positive but I have to admit it is really difficult sometimes!!
While most of the group is trying out the hammocks, I walk towards the bus to have a look around and when I see Long lying on the ground underneath the bus, I know there must be something wrong with the clutch. Although it seems to take a while, I am surprised to see how quick he manages to solve the problem and I guess within less than half an hour we are back on the road again.
Unfortunately the problem is bigger than expected and it seems that our hero’s of the day can only bring us as far as to our lunch appointment, which is only half an hour away. This sucks so much because they wanted to be there till the end. What a way to end our journey together. It is a real pity!
But at least we can say goodbye to them in a proper way as we wave them “adieu” after having once again a nice lunch and it seems that the weather is the same like our feelings. Dark clouds are hanging all over the place and it is raining cats and dogs!
Our new driver is a quite one and I must even admit that I forgot his name, but what I do now is that he wants to be in HCMC in a hurry cuz his driving style isn’t something you get used to. My got, I think my lunch is coming out the wrong way!!!
I guess we are driving for about an hour now and I am more than glad to notice the suburbs of the city again.
Before our race driver is going to drop us off at the airport, we first are going back to a small lacquerware factory. It seems that our tour rep insists on us getting a closer look at the place and this time around there are indeed even workers on the premises.
Their work is without a doubt that of a real artist but unfortunately some of the “artwork” is a little bit too bright for me.
While our group is still inside, Tania and I decide to wait a while on the bench outside and within minutes even a few others followed our idea.
As soon as we are all outside again, we say goodbye to Onno and Marieke, who are the first ones to leave our group. Instead of going back with us to the airport, they have a private taxi awaiting, which brings them back to Mui Ne.
It is a sad goodbye and not even half an hour later we have a few other ones. This time it’s Chiang and Albert’s turn, who stay behind as well as Rinneke and Ruud, who are flying towards Cambodia. This seems such an awesome destination as well, but unfortunately it will have to wait till another time.
Thanks to our race pilot of a driver, we are quite on time and after a bit of walking around the place, we finally arrive at the right desk to check-in.
Luckily this all went very smoothly and as soon as our luggage was gone, the both of us hurry to the first floor of the terminal, to have a bite to eat.
Besides fast food and Asian dishes, there are a few bakeries as well and I tried my luck with a tuna sandwich which was quite delicious. In a way it had to be cuz the prices here are sky high. You would hardly believe you were in the same country!
Since we need to get rid of our last Dongs, we treat ourselves to a nice dessert as well, so in a way I can only say … mission accomplished!
There is still some time to do some window shopping, but since most of the shops sell the same thing or should I say junk ???, we slowly walked to our designated gate!
Upon our arrival we noticed an empty space outside. Normally our plane should be there, but instead the only thing we see, is the sky getting darker and darker. It doesn’t really come as a surprise when they announce a 40 minute delay which in the end turns out to be a delay of an hour.
As soon as everyone was settled, we could leave for Hong Kong, which was mine as well as Tania’s final destination of the day!
During our 2 hours flight I watched a few episodes of Elementary and I must say that I was glad to hear our captain announcing that we were almost at HK airport. I was completely knackered and the only thing on my mind was to close my eyes.
After saying goodbye to the rest of the group, the two of us walked in sort of sleepwalking mode towards customs and as soon as we passed that, the only thing left for us to do, was to wait till our luggage arrived. It took a bit longer than expected, but once we’ve got them, we quickly looked for an ATM to get us some HK Dollars.
With a bit of “security” on our bodies, we walked in one straight line towards the “Vigor” desk, the company which provides the shuttle busses from the airport to the hotels in the city centre.
Upon our arrival, we notice an old man sitting behind the desk and as soon as we hand over the voucher, he simply says that there are no more shuttle busses. It seems we just missed the last one with only a few minutes. WTF ????? He’s joking right !!???
It seems that our Hong Kong resident is dead serious and instead he suggest us to take a train and subway to our hotel, but this isn’t really an option if you ask me. We are both quite exhausted after such a long day and instead we just took a taxi to bring us.
The ride towards the hotel isn’t that long and upon our arrival we are even in luck seeing check-in goes very smoothly. After a day of having a few setbacks, it is nice to have something positive for a change.
Our room is located on the 23rd floor which is quite high if you ask me, but I was a bit too tired to notice it actually. As soon as we entered our room, we both jumped into our beds as quickly as we could and it didn’t take me more than a few seconds to fall asleep!