January 2017
  • Day1

    Getting my history on

    January 13, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Vietnam War Facts
    Dates: 1954-1973

    Location: South Vietnam, North Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos

    Result: North Vietnamese

    Troop Strength
    South Vietnam: 850,00, United States: 540,000, South Korea: 50,000, Others: 80,000 plus

    South Vietnam: 200,000 – 400,000 civilians, 170,000-220,000 military, Over 1 million wounded
    United States: 58,200 dead, 300,000 wounded
    North Vietnam: 50,000 plus civilian dead, 400,000-1 million military dead. Over 500,000 wounded
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  • Day1

    Visa on arrival in Vietnam

    January 13, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 33 °C

    2:30PM: Our plan landed in Vietnam. It took us 30 minutes just to get to the airport building.

    3PM: We arrived in Vietnam, the first room in the airport you walk into is clearly immigration. We quickly scouted around and found a line for Landing VISA. We get into the line and start asking others in the line where they got the forms from to complete. We managed to get our hands on a form just lying around and start completing the form.

    By the time we got to the front of the line I literally only needed to complete the expiration date of my passport and they wanted to send me to the back of the line. I managed to just complete the form and stick it down for them to take it.

    With little to no english ability the guy behind asked "how many?" Isabel responded two but he clearly didn't understand so I just showed ✌🏻and he took our passports and photos and said, "take seat over there". The over there that he was referring to was 10 lines of airport benches full of people who clearly have been waiting there for some time.

    3:22PM: I guess this will take a while.

    Isabel is stressed as per normal when it comes to immigration. I am sure she has done something wrong that I am not aware of in her life before me and she is scared her history is going to catch up with her at some border post. This time she might actually be worried for a good reason as some how her first application for the visa online somehow come out with my date of birth for both our date of births. She did correct it by applying for a new visa but her name still appears on my visa with the wrong date of birth and she is worried that they don't see her name is on two different visa applications.

    3:29PM: Needless to say I am the only one sitting in the seating area, Isabel is pacing around.
    On that note, we had two seats next to each other and then Isabel got up without putting her bag on the seat and within seconds some asian sat down. They just see and open space and no matter how small they will squeeze into it. Seriously at the KL airport 6 people literally jumped the line in front of me on 6 separate occasions because I was not touching the person in front of me. They take invasion of personal space to the next level!

    3:40 PM We are still waiting for better days, and two unsuspected British tourists asks us if we are waiting here to take photos. Lucky for us we had photo before we got here (thanks to Isabel's good research), I they are probably going to be here much longer than us.

    Every couple of minutes they announce who's passport is ready, the announcement is almost impossible to hear or understand, its basically sounds like this: "gggg whi phillahubdkgajbfk".

    4:05PM: By this time it was comfortable on the seats waiting, i mean I even had a earphone in one ear watching some videos to kill time. The next moment they did an announcement that again I could not hear or understand, luckily Isabel heard it was my name.
    We went to the front, got our passports with visas in and we had to pay USD50, I only had USD60 and I got 200,000vd change. While i was paying some other asians name got called and he felt that he had to pay immediately so I just saw and arms reach over my shoulder with USD25, and the joke of it all the lady behind the counter helped him before she gave me my change. The rules of standing in line and wait your turn do not apply in Vietnam.

    4:16PM: Now the fun starts as we have to join yet another line to go through passport control. Its almost easier to get into the US than to get into Vietnam.

    4:29PM: We get to the front of the line and they call us, we walk forward and they send me away as we are only allowed one by one at the passport desk, not in families just one by one. Good luck to those who come to Vietnam with Kids.

    4:31PM: Finally we are through, I guess its not too bad we have only been here 2 hours.

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    Martie Van der Westhuizen

    Hoe het Worsie in Vetkoek Paleis gese: when in Rome do as the Roums-hahaha.

  • Day1

    My gunsteling tydverdryf WAG en VISA

    January 13, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

    Hierdie is 3de wêreld pappie!! Geduld moet jy hê of vinnig kry!! En kommunikasie is taamlik min tot geen in 'n obskure taal gelukkig is Isabel, 'n "global" naam so hopelik sal ek hoor as hul my naam in tjonkie roep nie so seker oor die van der Westhuizen nie.

    Per die website het ek verwag dit gaan 'n 30min oefening wees want jy het klaar 'n visa approval letter van immigrasie en fotos, dus moet jy net hoes en 'n stamp of papiervisa in jou paspoort kry. In elk geval dis nie die beste sisteem nie maar sekerlik 'n beter sisteem as om jou paspoort by 'n ambassade te kry van 'n eiland af en jou hele pedigree te gee maande in advance. In Vietnam soek hulle net jou naam, van, geboortedatum , paspoortnommer en arrival date. Ek het darem lekker binnepret want Amerikaners, Britte, Aussies en basies almal onder die son met 'n posh paspoort moet ook 'n visa kry en dit is totaal en geheel en al buite hulle comfort zone.

    Hier sit ons half frustreerd half gefasineerd en dankbaar dat ons dinge beplan het om n hele dag aan travel te budget... want hier is die pas anders en êrens het ons al 'n les of twee geleer.

    Weereens leer ek, ek wag nie graag nie!! Daar roep hul nou van der Westhuizen (verbasend goed uitgespreek) BOOM hier gaat ons. Roedolf sit met oorfone en hoor skaars!!

    65 min not TOO bad🤣
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  • Day1


    January 13, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Man the peops here speak english very deliciously if AT ALL!! So expect nothing and less than nothing, it's back to the basics -sherades. Then I got a brainwave -google a picture and show them what you mean or google translate but then they struggle to answer you back. (Bought a sim at the airport with 3G data unlimited mmmm ?? and at least we are equipped to kinda communicate) Well then its the Wing attitude - I can do that!! It's been 4 hours and we have laughed so much!!

    Part of the dilemma was to try and figure out if our room on the Mekong Delta trippie has an ac and if we should pack swimwear?

    UmHHH Roedolf was like this is not going to work!!


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  • Day1

    Cheapest most expensive dinner ever

    January 13, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    On the way to the the Bén Thành Market I withdrew cash at an ATM and for the first time ever I was a cash millionaire. It felt so weird to select "withdraw 2,000,000 Vietnamese dong".

    Anyway after I was done feeling like Donald Trump, Isabel actually picked a restaurant (street food vendor). For those of you who have never been to Asia. Basically a street food vendor/restaurant is basically a bunch of tables and chairs in the street or on the side of the street and they cook your food ons bbq grills or ovens next to the road.

    When they asked us what we want to drink, naturally I said local beer, Isabel also wanted to join in the local vibe and she saw they had local vodka so she said vodka and diet coke. She ended up with a 200ml can of diet coke and a 300ml bottle of vodka. The she asked for a cup or a glass to put it in and they brought shooter glasses. She had to explain she wanted a bigger glass before she could start drinking her vodka and diet coke.

    The food was awesome, we even had a fan blowing above us, that is what I call upperclass street food.

    At the end the bill was 350,000vd, I mean the last thing I bought with that many zeros was a house. But if you do the math its only about $15, for 2 beers, a bottle of vodka, about 5 cans of diet coke to mix with the vodka, a starter and mains, I think thats good value!

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  • Day1

    Ho Chi Minh City hustle and bustle

    January 13, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ 🌙 29 °C

    Everyone tried to prepare us that Ho Chi Minh City (Saignon City is the old name)will be overwhelming because there are so many people.

    Nothing could have prepared us for what actually awaited us here.

    Traffic rules, driving side of the road, traffic lights, pedestrian crossings are all mere suggestions it seems, its an absolute free for all with the majority of the traffic caused by scooters and bikes.

    Crossing the roads is basically two things. Commitment and faith. You just need to choose a time and place to cross and the commit to get across without stopping in the middle of the road and the have faith that you would not get hit by a car or bike. Some how the traffic just keeps going around you.

    Don't be fooled that the sidewalks are much safer as some scooter drivers revert to driving on the sidewalks when the roads are jam packed. Thus you should be ready to dodge scooters everywhere.

    People truly live their life's on the streets, as each little shop owner will have a little table and chair outside the shop where they will sit and eat noodles while people watching and in between they try call people into their shops. There are even the odd bike repair on the side of the road.

    I think the biggest tourist attractions here is just walking down the street to experience the chaos.

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  • Day2

    Ho Chi Minh home

    January 14, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    The uber dropped us off in a very small alleyway, and in the middle of the old, rugged looking street is a brand new modern apartment building. The security guard wants to take our passports which neither of us are entirely comfortable with but luckily our host warned us beforehand , it general practice in Vietnam to register guests (hotel and any other) at the police office. Roedolf gave his expired passport and I handed my almost full Gouws passport. No one can tell what they actually do with the info, I doubt they reconcile to the border entries . Noone blinked over R'a expired passport.... this still baffles me.

    Anyways our host is an American teacher who recently moved to Vietnam, we are the first people in his brand new modern apartment. It was comforting to be welcomed by a English host after very limited English in Vietnam so far, at least we know we have some sort of a lifeline. What a great feeling to know we are the first to use everything, shower, ac (a powerful heavenly one ), hairdryer etc. (makes me consider building a house from scratch)The cleaniness is quite a contrast to the filthy city.

    Other that the wifi that wasn't working (we were not really surprised) and the shower that is leaking a bit everything was perfect. There were two bottles of water and local beers in the fridge to make us feel at home.
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