Hope you're well and, with a bit of luck, enjoying the first signs of spring back home.
We're now in our last continent, Asia, and have been here almost two weeks. As much as we loved Australia, it's great to be back to 'proper' travelling. It's just a little bit more satisfying actually getting where you intended, ordering the food you wanted, or generally making yourself vaguely understood when you're dealing with totally different alphabets let alone languages...
We arrived in Bangkok in the wee hours and then had a day browsing round the markets, picking up some bargains – 2 pound Raybans, can't complain! We've both been to Bangkok before so had done most of the sightseeing we wanted on previous visits.
And then the next day, our very special visitor Alice arrived! Once she'd had a kip to get over her jetlag, we spent a lovely relaxing afternoon by her gorgeous hotel pool. Alice treated us to a delicious meal as a belated birthday present for Roland, at the riverside restaurant of her hotel. She can certainly come again!
We're going back through Bangkok on our way home, so we've decided to go out in style and treat ourselves to a posh final night at the same hotel (partly courtesy of the travel voucher Eloise and Helen gave us, thanks guys!)
Next stop for the three of us was Ho Chi Minh city (old Saigon) in Vietnam. Had a couple of nights here, soaking up the atmosphere, risking life and limb trying to cross roads in the face of hundreds of mopeds coming from all directions, and eating tasty Vietnamese food – definitely one of my favourite cuisines.
While in Ho Chi Minh city, we had a competition to see who could spot the most people on a moped – the winner was four people and a teddy bear. And among the bizarre cargos being transported on two wheels were; a large bunch of 5-metre-long feather dusters, a collection of beautifully-arranged wedding flowers and, obviously, a front door.
We also visited the war remnants museum which was a very sobering, but important, experience. It's understandably a pretty one-sided display but there's no arguing with some of the more chilling facts and gruesome items and pictures on show. It seems incredible that it all happened just a few years before we were born.
From Ho Chi Minh city, we travelled together to a little Vietnamese paradise island called Phu Quoc. Look away now if you don't want to get totally jealous...
We had a lovely relaxing holiday-within-a-holiday, all golden sands, swaying palm trees, warm sea...bliss. We stayed in a gorgeous laid-back resort with simple but stylish bungalows just a couple of minutes from the sea.
It was a real pleasure to stay put and do not a lot for just over week, and of course great to catch up with Alice. Roland had a fun day puttering round the island on his moped; us girls were quite happy lounging in the sun. Phu Quoc is a really special place which thankfully isn't yet that well known and, accordingly, isn't very developed or over touristy.
As you'd expect, we had amazing fresh fish – we found a stall we liked in the night market and ended up going there three times! Perfectly barbecued red snapper, squid etc – yum. We passed on some of the more exotic delicacies on offer though – chicken feet and giant sea snails, for example...
Phu Quoc's not a place with wild night life but, against all odds, we did have a fun night the day Arsenal lost the Carling Cup. Poor Roland – in the last minute too!
Yesterday we waved a sad goodbye to Alice and made our way to Cambodia – finally arriving after a 6am start, a no-show bus transfer, a last-minute speedy taxi, a bumpy hydrofoil journey (made with one minute to spare!), a healthy dose of border bureaucracy and a bone-shaking bus ride.
We'll be travelling through Cambodia and Laos, and then coming back down through Vietnam (plenty more pho for me!) to complete the loop. We've also just had our final visitor confirmed – looking forward to seeing Paul at the beginning of April.
Hope all well back home.
Lots of love
Helene and Roland xxx