Greetings from Ho Chi Mihn City! This is our last destination in Vietnam/Cambodia before we head to Singapore (for a couple of nights in a swish hotel... Boy am I looking forward to that!) and then back to reality: Melbourne weather and work (bummer) and an opportunity to wear some different clothing, which will be neatly folded or hanging in my wardrobe (bliss!).
I will post some photos soon, but in the meantime thought I would mention some of the highlights:
- discovering that my mother does indeed have my grandmother's spinning wheel, and what's more, she is willing to send it to me! (I discovered this in Perth before we headed to Asia),
- exploring the stunning Khmer temples and visiting a silk farm in Siem Reap (sadly none of that gorgeous recycled silk yarn available... or even anything unwoven!),
- haggling over some handwoven Cambodian silk fabric in the old Russian Market in Phom Penh,
- purchasing some tailor made clothes in Hoi An, which they whip up faster than you can say "egg beater", fit perfectly, and are fabulous value despite the fact that all of the fabric is synthetic*,
- getting inspired about food whilst doing some cooking classes in Hoi An,
- the bowl of Pho noodles I had for lunch in the Central Market here today... Mmmmmmm
We also had a fantastic day in Dalat, travelling around the countryside with a couple of local "Easy Rider" motorbike guides. It gave us a chance to get off the tourist trail, as our guides led us into people's gardens to smell coffee blossoms and sample peppercorns straight off the tree, have our photo taken at Chicken Village and enjoying a fantiastic meal at a local eatery which we never would have ventured into on our own (especially after suffering from gastro for a week in Cambodia!). Our guides were fantastic guys- more than happy to share their life stories and philosophies with us, and asking ours in return, and giving us a personal insight into their country and culture. It really was a fantastic day (even if my butt was aching by the end!).
* Footnote: I found it amazing that the shops in Hoi An all said that the fabric is Cotton or Silk or Wool or Cashmere, when it isn't. Scott and I could tell because we have done alot of farbic shopping in the past 20 years, and (being practially minded) we also tested some samples by burning them. I can tell you that you don't get a puddle of melted goo from natural fibres! Although this is disappointing because I would have liked a new tailor made wool coat, and because so many tourists don't realise what they are actually getting isn't what they think it is, this seems to fit with the way things are over here- which at times seems to be lawless. Most of the time that's cool- it's part of the character of the place;- but some times I can't help thinking that alot of tourists are being taken for a ride...