The fish in Phnom Pehn feels like lifetimes ago. I’ve remained classy. You can tell I’ve remained classy because I’ve had the shits for 3 days straight – we’re talking a 7 on the Bristol Scale. Not kidding. You’re welcome. But not only that. Also because I’ve got mozzie bites in unspeakable places, because the sunburn on my legs looks like a map of a haphazard archipelago, and because I bought a bad taste wolf tshirt on purpose for lolz. My legs are unshaven, my clothes are filthy, and I smell slightly gone off. I wear a fanny pack every day and not even ironically. Total mess. Bloody love it.
The following has happened: Laura went south to the Cambodian beaches; I headed East and crossed the boarder into Vietnam. In Saigon I stayed in a dodgy guesthouse with ants on the walls, bars on the windows and stains on the curtains, all for the knockdown price of $10, buy today, offer ends midnight. At night they pull a huge metal gate across the front of the building and lock it with an enormous padlock. Terrifying. At first I thought I was the only one there and that I was definitely going to get murdered, but I awoke the first morning to hear the father of the family who owns the guesthouse giving his daughter French lessons, which made it OK. People deffo don’t die in places where dads give their kids French lessons. It’s just science.
Saigon. Sounds so exotic. Or warsome. Bit of both. I wasn’t really there long enough to form an option. It’s a city. They have ALL motorbikes. They have street vendors. They have a cool indoor market that sells All Of The Things, including coffee made from beans that have been picked out of weasel shit. Nic and Rob, if you’re reading this, expect some through the post in the next month or so. I have no idea how the postal system works here. I’m carrying a bag-load of postcards but haven’t seen a single post-place. I should get on that.
As well as weasel-shit coffee, Saigon also has non-weasel Vietnamese drip coffee (totally delicious – iced, of course), road signs and traffic police (unlike Phnom Phen), a presidential palace (so dull I left the tour after 5 minutes, fuck the entrance fee), and a War Remnants museum that’s easily worth triple what you pay to get in.
In Saigon I had my first pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) with chicken – maybe the most delicious thing I’ve eaten so far – but I also ate mystery-fish pho, which resulted in the old Bristol 7s, stomach cramps, and a complete aversion to all foods, possibly forever. Ups and downs.
From Saigon I caught a coach north to Mui Ne. Beach town. Lots of Russians. 6 hours on a coach with the shits but no toilet. Pretty wild. HOWEVER, not only did I manage to NOT soil myself, I buddied up off the coach with a friendly giant, found a guesthouse with a pool for $10 a night, went to a beach with creamy sand and lined with palms, and swam in the warm green waters of the South China sea. Tough gig. Except that then I felt even worse so went back “home” and slept for 15 hrs straight.
Tonight (it’s 22:15 here) I’m in Nha Trang, massive beach city 5 hrs north of Mui Ne. Yesterday I spent hours by the pool, then had a walk by the sea, then went to watch the friendly giant eat crocodile. Tasted a bit. SRSLY YUMZA! Like meaty tuna steak. Was filled with jealousy. Also on offer in tanks along the ocean road – all live! – were fish, lobsters, MASSIVE shrimp, crabs, frogs, eels, turtles and A PYTHON. I really wanted lobster but was too much death.
I’m too sick to explore Nha Trang so am under a sheet in an air-con room thinking about the one dollar kid in Angkor and grinning to myself.
Kid (with a massive grin the whole way through): “Hey laydeeeeeee! You buy flute? One dollar.”
Me: “No thanks”
Kid: “Want water? One dollar.”
Me: “No, I’ve got water thanks”
Kid: “Postcard? Ten only one dollar”
Me: “Just bought postcards, thanks. I don’t need anything.”
Kid: “Want nothing, one dollar.”
Oh, here’s a photo of (among other things) the item I’m most glad I brought travelling – a bad taste Ross Kemp pillowcase
ROSS KEMP PROS
– Flat-pack travel companion
– Do an actual out-loud chuckle every time I look at it
– Convenient for separating and transporting dirty washing
– Protects head from minging guesthouse pillows
– The bestworst of ALL the shitbutbrilliant things
– Can be the first in a long line of shitbutbrilliant pillow cases
ROSS KEMP CONS
– There are literally no cons to owning a Ross Kemp pillowcase