Mrs Woog visits Vietnam – The Finale


One of the best things about travelling when you are a writer is that you get to write about NEW STUFF. Like, I haven’t written about washing or school shit or politics or any of the usual dribble I carry on with. Real actual stories told from experiences. And I kind of love it.

Like right now. I am sitting in a little cafe on the corner of Busy Street and the Highway to Hell, where the traffic is relentless outside. Thousands after thousands of motorcycles fly by with no respect to any of the road rules. This quote (above) is hanging above the massive coffee machine, and I am eating banana crepes with ginger and honey.

Last night was, like…. our last night. We had a glorious dinner at a Vietnamese Restaurant and treated ourselves to a great bottle of wine. Then, we decided to head to a rooftop bar that a reader had recommended as a good colonial hotel. As I entered the Rex, I had a nagging feeling of de ja vu. It would not leave me as I took the lift up to the rooftop. When the doors opened, it hit me.

This was the hotel that Mr. Woog and I spent the first night of our honeymoon in, almost 15 years ago to the day. It was barely recognisable though. Gone were all the polished teak floors and faded glory. It now housed a Gucci store in the lobby, but the row of clocks still hung about the reception desk.

The thing you need when you visit Saigon is at least a novice level of fitness. Yesterday morning, we walked and walked and walked. We discovered new and interesting neighbourhoods. Things change dramatically every few blocks or so, but I was left shaking my head in one particular ally.

I like alleyways and backstreets. You find the best stuff there. Anyway, this ally was about two metres wide and lined with stalls selling spices. Above each display of spices was a suspended hammock, which housed an elderly lady with a stick which she would use occasionally to give herself a bit of a shove off from the wall.

I would hear the buzz of a motorbike coming up behind be. so I would pin my back against the wall to allow then to ride by. Then they would pull up to their preferred spice vendor, help themselves to what they required before passing the cash to the old lady in the hammock. What a civilised situation.

I also had a massage of extreme note yesterday. This was after I had a full body scrub. It was a bit awkward when I tried to explain that I didn’t want my boobs and guts scrubbed. She was kind of insistent about it, but I held firm on my decision. If you ever find yourself in Saigon and in need of such a treatment, get yourself to Cat Mok Spa, where the therapists be small, but fierce.

This afternoon I will be packing up my bags and heading to the airport to take the overnight flight back to the mundane. Thank you so much for joining me on this trip. I hope you got a giggle, learnt something, rolled your eyes and enjoyed it, even just a little bit.

Goodbye Cambodia and Vietnam. You have been a real treat. Like literally, I have eaten everything. Normal programming to resume tomorrow.