Spent the day half way up Sam mound today. I could have gone to the Chau Doc floating market and seen the floating houses ( houseboats I guess) but decided against it. Leisurely breakfast I thought looking out over the paddy fields. Well up we went at 9.10 and it had all been cleared away. The staff most of whom are training as this hotel is also home to the Victoria Hotels Training Academy looked somewhat aghast . It was clear we had been forgotten. All the other groups had upped and gone en route to Cambodia and we fell through the net. They recovered well and produced the a la Carte menu and dragged the poor egg chef back upstairs. But leisurely it was not . We appear to be the only guests here today and have had the pool to ourselves once again. It has become a feature of our stays in out of the way places.
To be fair the trainee’s are lovely and so eager to please just quite disorganised which seems to be so much a part of hotels in Vietnam unless they have a foreign General Manager.
Being built on the side of the hill the hotel sets some challenges even to the fairly fit. There are stairs everywhere and not an elevator nor any form of mobile transportation in sight. This is the staircase from our room
There are sixty of them, trust me I counted them. Then you have to get down and up to what was our private pool today
43 of those little beauties and another 36 to get up to the dining area and reception. Housekeeping carry everything up and down the stairs as there are no trollies and so it is not surprising that the staff look unbelievably fit but with bulging leg muscles .
We stayed one time in an hotel in Kyrenia in Northern Cyprus and that had a quite a few steps but nothing like these. It was there I first heard about the complaint bungalow knees which is a condition most bungalow dwellers get when after a year in the bungalow they are faced with climbing stairs again on a regular basis.
Chau Doc has been part of Vietnam for 300 years and before that it was part of Cambodia. more map drawing by the Europeans I would imagine. The hill the hotel stands on is very famous place of pilgrimage for the Vietnamese people. They come to worship the Lady of Sam at a temple further up the hill from us and some 2 million arrive each year.
Chau Doc is a trading town being so close to Cambodia and is also famous for it’s fish paste and catfish . But like floating markets I think everywhere on the Mekong and on the coast seem to be famous for the same things. Looking out from the pool
surely rice must be the big thing here as all you can see are paddy fields
Tomorrow we leave here at 5.30 a.m. ( fire the tour operator someone) and take the early boat “up the Mekong” into Cambodia.
When I went to sea with P&O in 1967 my second voyage was to bring what was then a huge tour group organised by the Australian Women’s Weekly magazine. They booked the entire ship and the average age of the participants most of who were women was 64years. The difference was amazing for a young purser cadet whose first and subsequent voyages had at least 500 girls between the age of 16 and 22 on board. We were required to entertain the passengers on deck at night but on this trip by 9 pm almost all were tucked up in bed fast asleep. I therefore spent a lot of time in the ship’s cinema watching the latest films and one of those was Khartoum which given the boredom factor of being on deck I think I saw about 10 times. One line in it stuck with me. When Gladstone played by Ralph Richardson says to General Gordon improbably played by Charlton Heston ” It’s up the Nile for you Gordon , up the Nile”. What a line, oh the romance. It was then I decided I wanted to spend much of my life living around the world. There were so many “up the Niles” I wanted to see and work in.
and now I am up the Mekong.