So this should be my last report as a visitor on this wonderful journey! I’ll keep it short because we had a lot of red tape to go through and took a few days off for Christmas and New Year’s.
If you’ve been reading my posts, you know I like to post something motivational to break the ice ;). So can you find Marianne on this picture? (Close to impossible, but have a try!).
We tried to get our beautiful Marianne into the harbor, get a nice little docking spot for her, which would also make maintenance work a lot easier. Unitl now we had no luck in doing so. Red tape and officers inexperienced with sail boats hindered us. Not that they weren’t helpful, they just said they had never had a sail boat try and dock here. And the language barrier made it very, very difficult!
But anyway, we were in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to meet a friend from Sydney, Australia … Judy! Well, truth is, she is actually from Taiwan, so Vietnamese people often approached us speaking Vietnamese and were amused when she did not understand a word. We spent the time in Saigon learning about the history of Vietnam and started playing this new game (at least for us) which is a mixture of hacky sacking and badminton. Pretty fun and I intend on introducing it in Germany soon! So be prepared. Ho Chi Minh is a cool city: great hotels for little money, really friendly people (not always the case in bigger cities), and delicious food (the “Phở” noodle soup is the way to go morning, day, and night). It is pretty humid though which can be a little exhausting. By the way, this city has about half as many scooters as inhabitants. It’s pure insanity walking across the street … but it works 100% of the time.
So the few days we took off to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s we also used to go on a small sailing trip. For pleasure. After all, most sail boats are officially categorized as “pleasure vessels”. After the trip, we cleaned the keel (major part of the boat beneath the water) again. Algea and shells had attached again. The water was clear so it was even better than last time!
We also wanted to get to know the country a little better. So we went and did a “homestay” in the Mekong Delta, where you get to stay with a family on a non-touristy island. Of course, they have water from the tap and a bunch of hammocks for their guests, but it shows how people live here, at least a little bit. It was great, and very relaxing in those hammocks. And from here we went on a little trip through some small rivers and over to a floating market. A few days later, back on the island Phu Quoc, we rented some scooters and rode down to the south of the island. Nice beaches, very few tourists, great people!
And then … well we celebrated New Year’s, and here’s a little clip to symbolize our departure into a (hopefully, probably, well definitely) exciting 2012.
Right now we’re at the boat, doing more maintenance on it. We have to unmount an autopilot (self steering windvane) and fill the respective screw holes with fiberglass and epoxy. Which can be a mess. The epoxy mixture is extremely gluey and also exothermic. It can actually evaporate and even burn its way through things. But to all mothers out there, do not be worried! All is under control.
So I hope you can excuse this little break with respect to music. Once again, let me express my appreciation for this unbelievable, truly purely awesome experience! I wish the Sailing Conductors the best of luck. Enjoy the images! Ahoy!