But before we deal with George Smiley and his rules just to let you into some rules for crossing the road in Saigon. I was introduced to it yesterday morning when I had to buy a sim card for Vietnam and the seller was on the other side of the street.
Saigon is the motor bike capital of the world given the number on the streets each day
At this traffic light they stretch back as far as the eye can see and when the lights change they almost fill the road
Crossing the road is how you might imagine trying to cross the Aintree race track when the Grand national is being run and the horses are pounding towards you like a cavalry charge.
But their are rules it seems. The main one is to keep moving at all times in a forward motion. The riders all see you and assume that you will keep walking and therefore plan to either pass in front of you or behind you. Don’t ever stop moving just keep walking and they will avoid you. Stop and there is confusion but they maybe miss you. Go back and you will be hit by one of the ones slipping behind you inches from your backside.
It is exciting stuff and you feel like you have a swarm of wasps all around you but you just keep walking slowly but purposely forward and you do get away with it.
We left Saigon at 11 a.m. to drive the 187 kilometres to Mui Ne . You can get a car which we did or take one of the luxury buses or catch the train. The buses take about 5-6 hours and a car between 4-5 hours depending on the traffic. On a Friday the traffic was bad and we took 5 hours. Most of that was getting out of Saigon and then passing the endless stream of container lorries. There is nothing attractive about the drive until about the final hour. Watching the buses overtaking lorries made me quite pleased that our driver was pedestrian.
Mui Ne is how I would have imagined a Black Sea resort to be at the height of the cold war. The tourist mix is 90% Russian, 4% French, 3% Dutch , 2% German and 1% others including Aussies and Brits. For obvious reasons given the state of the England Cricket team Down Under I avoid any contact with the Aussies.
A Brit in Chiang Mai described the typical Russian tour group. There is the big guy both in weight and stature with an equally large wife and around him are a group of heavies and their equally large wives. Then somewhere down the strip in another hotel are about 5 young girls who are the mistresses and get visited during the stay by the big guy and his heavies.
We have that very situation here at the Villa Aria . There is the big guy and what he says goes. When he signals lunch they all get up when he goes to swim, they all go to swim, when he wants a drink they’ll all have a drink. It is super to watch and one feels almost part of a John Le Carre novel as one watches it all happen. As you walk the beach you see other groups with the same make up of people as well as now quite a few couples who are much younger and so maybe the way they travel is changing slowly.
The beach is huge this is the view looking north
I keep thinking that i should start another blog called View From My Breakfast Table as there are now lots of that type of blog springing up where people pro actively share their photos ion one particular subject. A really fast growing one is my feet where people share photos of their feet in strange places or just while sitting at home.
I normally share a photo on this blog with a view from the breakfast table at the different hotels and at the Villa Aria this was the view this morning from our table
It’s a boutique hotel tucked in amongst some much larger hotels and prides itself on it’s green credentials.. Lots of natural stuff like shampoo and the like and the breakfast offers strange juices rather than the old staple Orange Juice. This morning i slurped down cucumber juice with just a soupçon of Dragon plant juice. Actually it was very refreshing.
Another blog to start might be View From My Bed Chair
We are elevated up above the beach lying on our chairs soaking up the rays . Sadly the hotel even though boutiquey doesn’t have enough bed chairs for the number of guests so there is still some hassle in the morning as towels are laid out with books etc and one has to get up earlier and earlier it seems. It doesn’t help the the big boy and his team like to sun bathe for an hour then sit in the shade so are moving around the pool like it was a game of musical chairs.