Vietnam (and Cambodia) was supposed to be the easy bit! That’ll teach us for having expectations!
This reads like one of those round robin Christmas letters written by an old person telling of their health woes (I realise we are old, to some!)
In Cambodia, my husband and then me had chest infections. We spent a week in Phnom Penh, my husband was ill; then a week in Koh Rong, he was ill for the first half then I was ill for the second half; then a week in Otres Village, I was ill.
Then we went to Siem Reap for a week, I was ill for the first half, but for the second half we were actually both well at the same time and went out celebrating.
We arrived in Vietnam in Hanoi both feeling well, then spent the day out in the pollution and felt a bit affected. My husband got worse and we realised it was flu.
We were due to get out of Hanoi but it involved a twelve hour overnight seated train journey so we cancelled and stayed put, staying indoors most of the time.
Also, our arrival in Vietnam unwittingly coincided with Tet, the Lunar New Year, when everything closes for several days. We had to move places; we had to stand outside for a while as cabs were few and far between and other people kept taking them!
When we arrived and were shown to our room, it was basically just a partitioned off area of the reception, little bigger than the double bed, with no fan, the walls open at the top, so no way to keep mosquitos out and no net, and the windows un-curtained so people in the top bunks of the room next door could see in.
My ill husband needed to be in bed but we had to find somewhere else, and got a (rip off) cab to the new destination.
None of this did him much good, but luckily as soon as we were shown into our new room we knew it was okay: big, clean, own bathroom, comfy bed, duvet and towels. (And hot water, although it’s funny how often we forget to use it as we got so used to cold water in India)
The whole family came up to meet us and say Happy New Year and even gave us gifts! The owner walked with me to the supermarket, one of those that stay open, with a limited supply of biscuits, juice etc., and she phoned around until she found a pharmacy that was open and walked me there and back too.
They cooked us noodles, and later rice and vegetables, as there are no restaurants open. They are very kind, but can only provide instant noodles or plain rice with boiled veg, mind you beautifully cooked piles of broccoli, carrots and cauliflower feels good to eat.
On day three my husband was well enough to go out and we went to the supermarket, which has a seating area, and does very basic food, and had plain instant noodles and iced tea.
I also found a big supermarket and got fruit and baguette; presumably thanks to the French, both Cambodia and Vietnam have delicious baguette and great coffee, and the guesthouse makes us hot black tea in pretty English looking cups and saucers.
According to the internet there’s several nice restaurants nearby, but the guy on the desk said they may all be closed until next week, as people are with their families in the countryside.
With the guesthouse and the supermarket we have enough to eat, it’s just a bit samey and it would be nice to get out and eat somewhere outside.
We are here for four nights altogether then we travel to Sapa by minibus for some fresh countryside/mountain air.
Mind you, probably because of Tet, the pollution doesn’t seem too bad right now. And there probably are places open in the tourist bit, it’s just that isn’t where we are.
Photos by my husband of Hanoi night market just before Tet.
Thank you very much for reading