At Cong Caphe in Hanoi (which we then stumbled on again in Ho Chi Minh) coffee was made with coconut and coffee and ice........ We will be making one last dash for a final fix.
But to top it off - today in Can Tho we visited the floating markets and and had our coffee delivered via motorised canoe. After 2 cups of that pungent sweet cold concoction (yep, we called her back for 2nds!) we were charged and ready to go! (Imagine coffee delivery on the Auckland motorway..........)
With access to an array of fresh fruit, it is little wonder that the kids have been enjoying a wide range of juices and smoothies. Mango or banana smoothies are common fare, but a peach iced tea with mint went down a treat! Limes (lemons here) made into an ice slurry with mint have also a great find.
The price for juices range from Vnd40000 - Vnd80000 ($1.20-$2.40) so the kids have been enjoying a few.
As we ventured into Ho Chi Min the local beer is Bia Saigon. My first bottle of this didn't go so well - I suspect it was loaded with sulphites which left my eyes and nose running........
Never one to be daunted by a challenge, we stepped up to Bia Saigon "Special" This was a distinct step up in beer qualify and taste and we've been enjoying a few of these.
So what's the cost been? I mentioned that the kids drinks have been Vnd40,000. Well, beers are around Vnd25,000 ($1.25) but I did find Hudas at one place for Vnd15,000......($0.95)
What I have struggled with (in the loosest sense....) is the cost of beer vs. a smoothie. They're half the price!!!!!! So yes, we've enjoyed a few beers at the end (and to be fair, sometimes earlier - but not before mid day I'm proud to say) of a long day.
Btw - the cocktails have also been cracking. Particularly mojitos with access to lime and mint. And the price? As you'd expect - less than $5 for a tall glass of Limey goodness.
So there you have it. The beer in Vietnam is in good hands - just not in my good hands for much longer as we only have 2 days left now. Guess I'll need to make the most of it!
Days 22-25 & 28-30
We weren't quite sure what to expect in Ho Chi Minh City - we were also a bit sad to arrive there as it was the last stop on our trip. We were weary, slightly fed up and looking foward to going home and not looking forward to going home all at the same time.
To put it mildly, HCMC had a big job ahead of itself if it wanted to impress us.
First up, we didn't expect Vietnam's most cosmopolitan city to be so green. I guess that was pretty dumb of us, considering we were in a tropical environment, but there were parks and gardens everywhere.
The green spaces provided a nice interlude from the city - which was busier and yet appeared to be slightly less chaotic than other cities we had visited. Some of this might be due to the amount of traffic lights - which most people used and (hallelujah!) they had CROSS SIGNALS! Sometimes we crossed the same road three or four times simply because we could.
When we weren't wandering through the parks, we shopped (we had a ginormous new suitcase we needed to fill) and ate. We also deemed it appropriate, given our experiences through the rest of the country, that we visited the War Museum. Thankfully we had looked it up on Trip Advisor first, because some of the stuff in there is truly horrific and really not suitable for kids. We would "sweep" each area first and then decide if it was kid suitable or not. Most of it wasn't. Never before have I felt the need to sit down and put my head between my knees in a museum. However awful it was, though, we needed to see it, if just to remind us how inhumane humans can be.
Once the icky stuff was over, it was time to do more shopping. HCMC was the most interesting mix of high-end malls and crusty, but hip, spaces. Take this amazing souvenir shop as an example:
And the food. Oh, the food! The possibilities in HCMC were endless, and we had some of our nicest, and most fun meals in the city.By the time we got to HCMC, we considered ourselves Vietnamese food veterans. We'd eaten in caves, we'd eaten food we'd picked and caught only minutes before, we'd eaten on the side of the road and in some pretty flash restaurants. And we learned, above all else, that when in Vietnam, it pays to eat Vietnamese food.
And the food. HCMC was a gastromic delight. Tex-Mex, burgers, sushi, German beer gardens, French provincial - you name it, in HCMC you can eat it. We were overwhelmed by the food choices. So much so, that we consulted Trip Advisor - something we had tried to avoid doing in our travels (it made us feel just that little bit more intrepid). And Trip Advisor did not put us wrong. In fact, there were a couple of times where we wish we'd listened a bit harder, like when we spent one million dong on three ice creams, a dessert and a cup of tea at the cafe up the Bitexco Tower. Yes, that's right, NZD$65. All for a free ride in the lift.
So that's it really, our last days in Vietnam were spent in a hedonistic flurry of eating and shopping. We couldn't think of a better way to end our holiday. Tam Biet Vietnam. See you next time!