What for Christmas?
It’s funny how things work out. We needed to leave Vietnam as our visa was running out plus we need to be in Bangkok by 31st December to meet up with George and Laura for New Year – Yay! So what to do for the gap?
With a gap between Vietnam and New Year in Bangkok, we thought about travelling over through Laos by bus, keeping our carbon footprint down. The journey isn’t the easiest and we would have had to sort out visas as well. I’d had enough of doing that for a bit, so the end, I admit, we booked a cheap flight to Chiang Mai. (We offset any flights now, and try to keep them to a minimum).
I am so glad we did this. Let’s just say I’ve needed to be near a bathroom for the last week. The thought of being on a bus doesn’t bear thinking about.
After Hoi An, we treated ourselves to staying in a proper hotel in Da Nang near the beach, not our usual homestay or Airbnb. It seemed very plush, with Christmas trees in the foyer and a smartly dressed receptionist greeting us. Our room was lovely, not sure of the “balcony” which was a foot deep. (Bottom right photo.) Definitely not big enough to relax in a chair, and I’m not very partial to a view of the side of another hotel. The shower was divine though. And the breakfast, for those that could eat it, had a plethora of choice.
Late morning on Christmas Day, what were you doing? Usually, I’d be checking my Christmas dinner spreadsheet, preparing the Brussel sprouts, basting the turkey for the meat-eaters and even sipping some sherry.
Instead, this year we both went for a 90-minute full-body massage. A bit random. Lying next to one another, we started with our feet in a bucket of hot water with slices of lemon. Each time a slice touched my feet, I kept imagining it was one of those fish that nibble at your dead skin. Yuk! When we took our feet out, she pulled each toe until it clicked. Yeowch!
Our head was massaged first, and when Tim’s young Masseuse started cupping, I don’t know how I refrained from giggling. My young lady got hold of my hair and nearly pulled my scalp off! Perhaps that was to stop me from laughing. It was a bit disconcerting when I glanced over one time to see the young Vietnamese girl straddled over Tim's bottom. She was massaging his back. The rest was lovely and relaxing, and the 90 minutes went in a flash.
Christmas lunchtime was at our favourite restaurant, Ka Cong - well, the only one we tried. Tim enjoyed his Chicken Fried Rice with a Mango and Coconut smoothie, while I tucked into a dome of plain boiled rice with a fresh coconut juice – not the best of Christmas dinners.
Afterwards, we strolled to the beach so that Tim could build a sand sculpture. We were surprised to see some Conacles here, it would have been great to see the fishermen in the sea, but they are probably out first thing in the morning.
We found a nice spot to relax and Tim kindly constructed a sand chair for me first so that I could sit comfortably and read. Time was ticking and I wanted to speak with my sisters before they went out, so left Tim to him creating one of his masterpieces.
It was lovely to catch up with our family, our lads and their lasses, all of our siblings and some of our nieces and nephews, plus our great friends the McCormacks. It means the world that we can connect with them, sing “We wish you a Merry Christmas” have a chat with everyone and find out what Santa brought them. The marvel of technology.
I remember when I travelled in my late 20s it was either thin blue airmail envelopes to write on, or the occasional telephone call in a phone box, standing there with a pile of coins to click in the slot every time the beeps started.
We said au revoir to Vietnam, we will be back within the month. We have now arrived in Thailand for the next 28 days, staying in an Airbnb in Chiang Mai before travelling down to Bangkok. We are very impressed with the fold at the end of the toilet paper and we have a swimming pool in the complex as well!
And now another new language, I was barely getting to grips with Xin chào (Hello) and Cảm ơn bạn (Thank you), now it’s S̄wạs̄dī (Sa-Wa-Dee) and K̄hx k̄hxbkhuṇ (Kob-Khun) then you add Krup on the end if you are a man and Ka if you are a woman.
K̄hx k̄hxbkhuṇ k̄a for reading. Merry Christmas