It's so hard to keep track of time here... I honestly feel like I've been here weeks and weeks, but I think it is actually only about 5days..
I have had my first proper Vietnamese massage. It cost me 1000dong, £3, for a whole hour.
It was quite the experience though!
I was with Sophie, Craig and Maxim at the time and we got led down this tiny little dodgy looking alley way with lots of flashing 'spa' 'massage' signs.! I ordered the traditional massage and the boys were taken off upstairs to somewhere different. Then I was told 'please be naked and lie down'! Luckily Sophie was in the same room as me otherwise I think I might have wimped out at this point. The guy who massaged me must have only been about 17 but he was well strong - he cracked all my fingers and toes, hips, back, and neck... I felt a lot less achey after though.
I'm looking forward to the next one and now I don't think I'll be so suspicious either.
Also had my first coffee on a very expensive hotel rooftop - a whole 1000 dong! But the view was totally worth it.
Had my first full nights sleep too! From 1am to 8am :) and I'm now up to 2 meals a day.I don't think I will ever get bored of Pho though I think I should probably branch out and eat more than just fresh spring rolls and soup!
Today Julianne, Laura, Sophie, Craig and I all took a taxi (10p each) to a pagoda in district 10. (Bakcpack is district 1). There were no western toursits there at all. It was absolutely beautiful.
The air was foggy with all the incense. Each worshiper buys about 20 sticks each and walks around praying, lifting the incense to the sky and then placing 1/2 burning sticks into pots in front of different icons of Buddha. It's very quiet except for the continual 8 beat (?) chant and the sound of all the caged sparrows which worshipers buy and then release around the pagoda.
I bought some incense and made my way alone through the temple. I think we all felt it was a very personal experience being there.
I found it incredibly powerful and actually cried quite a few times on my way around. I also said a prayer and burnt one incense stick each for the family (I was sending you lots of love and thinking of you then Mum Dad Pip Daddan). I really enjoyed the experience and I want to make sure I do it again soon.
Tonight we (Julianne, Laura, Craig, Sophie, and Maxim) are catching the night bus to somewhere called Hing Than (I think!) where we then catch a boat tomorrow morning to Phu Quoc. WE had a nightmare trying to fiind somewhere to stay so have ended up paying more than we wanted - but is it still TET for a few days so things are uch more expensive.We are staying in a 'newly built' hotel (so newit doesn't have a website...) which is $65 a night for a room for 3 and is right next to the beach.... We'll see what happens!