Ho Chi Minh

My last stop in Vietnam was Ho Chi Minh City, with just one full day here. It seemed as though the hostel managed to make a cock up my reservation, meaning that I get a double bed in a dorm for US$17 for two nights. I can’t complain.

I set out to go to the War Museum today, it’s three floors and an outdoor area explaining the impact of the Americans due to the Vietnam War and the impact that it has had, which is still going on today — children are still being born with deformities and disabilities as a result of how the US fought. It didn’t paint the USA in the best light, though I feel as though it was unbiased, just like the Peace Museum in Hiroshima. On the way there, I had to walk into oncoming traffic as the pavement was blocked – it’s not that uncommon, and it’s usually a restaurant with tables taking up the entire pavement, or parked motorbikes. This time, it was because someone decided to set up and chill in a hammock in the middle of the pavement.

After a few hours in the museum I just chilled – grabbed some food and drank a copious amount of Vietnamese Iced Coffee (seems to be ice with coffee). There’s a couple of other things I could’ve done, including touring the Cu Chi caves, though for me, it’d probably hurt my back. It’s one of the tours where you can just fire an AK47 with no prior training or safety brief, because why not.

It’s quite interesting in the area I’m staying as it’s gentrified to foreigners, and it seems that the only way these businesses seem to think they can get people in is to advertise that it’s happy hour. I know that I’ve been abroad and had many drunken nights, but it’s a shame to see drinking culture advertised so heavily here, where there’s many great things about Vietnamese culture that outshine getting pissed.

Tomorrow, I’m off to Cambodia. I have my own private room for the next few nights as I am ever so slightly completely 100% over being woken/kept up in hostel dorms almost, if not, every day for almost three months.

In some aspects I can see why people love Vietnam; the food is great, it’s cheap and the people are incredibly friendly, wanting you to enjoy the country. For me, I wouldn’t say I’m a massive fan; I like to travel without being attached to Google Maps to navigate, I really enjoy being able to cross the road without fearing for my life, and I guess I’ve stayed in hostels and shared accommodation for too long – I’m sitting at six months straight without my own room.

 

Another Week in Melbourne

For the first time in a couple of weeks it’s not been that much of a big one.

Was supposed to go out during the week, but instead I to cover a shift at work, however, I made up for it by going out last night for a wine and cheese night and turning up to work surprisingly ok on a red wine and gin hangover.

One thing that I did outside of work that was slightly productive was sort out my visa for China, so now all I need to do is go to the Chinese Consulate in Melbourne and hope they approve it. I’ve been looking at the big trip coming up in a couple of months time now – I think it’ll take six or seven months, and am looking at going to Jordan, Egypt and Turkey in addition to the twelve or so other countries.

As for the opposite of slightly productive, I watched 42 episodes of Designated Survivor on Netflix over four sittings.

For this week I don’t really have a lot planned. Maybe going for a drink or two a couple of times but have 8 shifts this week and don’t really fancy writing myself off before I know when my next day off is.

Phillip Island

On Monday I hired a car and drove to Phillip Island. I visited in my first week in Australia with a friend from back home, but it’s quite close and the weather is still pretty decent. I caught the train to Frankston instead of driving through the city as I wanted to miss rush hour traffic and there’s a lot of dickheads on the road in the city.

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I’m (apparently) a grown up now

Once I’d gotten into the car, I’d already established my first world problems:

  • The WiFi in my flat is pretty bad and didn’t download the Spotify playlist properly
  • I was probably going to run out of battery on my phone, for which I was relying on the GPS, and my portable charger wasn’t fully charged
  • The indicators and windscreen wipers are controlled on the different sides of the wheel than in the UK, and I have to overthink which side they are on. This was the first time I’ve driven a car in Australia and not used the wipers instead of indicating. Go me.

An hour or so later I reached an animal sanctuary and petted some kangaroos.

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Half hour after leaving the kangaroos behind, I drove to the Nobbies Center, which is a boardwalk on the coast. Really nice views.

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The weather was still clearing up, but after reaching Cape Woolami the sky was blue. Bearing in mind that I work on my feet all day and had done around 15km of walking just a few days before, I opted for the shortest walk.

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Next week or the week after, depending on my shifts, I’m going to go to the Mornington Peninsular for a day. At the moment I’m working not a lot of hours with two jobs, this week it’ll be around 30 hours and am expecting the same next week.

Wilsons Prom

Not really done anything that amazing this past week. Had my first day off in 15 days and think it was only one piss up.

As I’m quite conscious of the fact that I don’t have that long left in Australia, I’d quite like to explore more of the state that I have lived in for most of my time here. Wilsons Prom is a three hour drive away and I just don’t want to spend six hours driving, so again I used the tour operators Hike and Seek.

We did a couple of hikes, both with amazing views. The second one the view was just so worth walking uphill for around 40 minutes in the weather that we were lucky enough to get. The pictures don’t really do the view justice, but they’ll have to do.

This coming week I don’t have a lot of work, so tomorrow is my sort-my-shit-out day, depending on what time I wake up. Monday I’m thinking of hiring a car and going somewhere, but that is dependent on the weather and if I can find a really good playlist.

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First Official Firing

I’m currently sat on 13 days of work consisting of 16 shifts in a row, very tired and a bit hungover.

Over the past week I’ve had a couple of evenings out which have been great – the first I went out to a nice restaurant with a couple of friends for dinner and cocktails. We must have eaten enough for probably six people between us three and the struggle was real getting up and walking to the station. The second night I went to a pub quiz with a group of people and came second; turns out that I’m shit at this kind of stuff in Australia because of being English.

The past weekend at work wasn’t so good and today I was just over being on my feet for so many days straight and not dealing too well on not a lot of sleep. I ended up asking if I was to serve some of the food that should not have been in the fridge which didn’t go down too well and I got told to get changed and go home. Having cleaned the deep fryer every day for a week prior, I was just happy to get a day off from cleaning it.

Over the next week I think I have a night out in the works and I’m going to see if I can do something that isn’t work.

Another Week of Work

Once again, not been that much of a big week.

I had Monday and Friday off – Monday was a recovery day, as was Friday but for different reasons. Wednesday night I received a text asking if I could work on Thursday evening so I did a 6.45-3.30pm shift, then got a train into the city and worked 4-11pm. I was slightly losing the will to live at one point, though that day alone paid for half my months rent.

After work yesterday I went out with a friend for some beers and a catch up, but other than that I have’t really been social besides my flatmates.

I was actively trying to get a weekend job, though this week I’ve had three people ask me to do some casual shifts, alongside my full-time job. This means that this week coming is very work heavy, currently sitting at 9 shifts over 7 days, most days finishing by 3pm. It’s probably going to be a really shit week, but this shit week could perhaps be paying for one of the best weeks of my life in the months to come.

Properly Moved Back to Melbourne

Yesterday I moved back into the previous place I lived in Melbourne and now I have a job. Now it’s time to try and act like an adult.

Not really done that much this week. Didn’t work that many hours and have been looking for evening jobs over the weekends – I think I may have a trial or two this week for them.

Me living in Melbourne is not quite complete without a couple of nights out drinking. I don’t think I’ll be doing it quite as much as before Christmas, just with 7am starts I really can’t get away with it. On Wednesday I met up with a couple of friends and went to the Queen Vic Market and a bar. Friday, I had some friends from Ayr in Melbourne so we hit up Chapel Street. I ended up spending most of Saturday in bed recovering/watching Netflix and yesterday I went for a few drinks round a friends house which turned into a bit of a movie marathon.

This coming week I’ll try to make it down to the museum as there’s a Viking exhibition which looks good. I have to be a grown up and sort quite a bit of stuff out after work, but may be renting a car and going around Victoria the week after.

Back in Melbourne (Again)

Last Wednesday I arrived back in Melbourne. Technically, Thursday as my flight was delayed by three hours – one of the budget airlines that crack the shits when your bag is 150g over the weight limit, but it’s fine for them to be delayed most times I fly with them.

My last day in Perth I didn’t really do a lot – I was going to go to the Pinnacle Desert but they day would’ve cost me around the $300 mark and a five-hour round drive, which I didn’t think it’d be worth it. Instead, I chilled in the Botanical Gardens.

Around five hours after going to bed I had a job interview, and was requested back on the Saturday to do a trial and got the job. I just got in from a shift and it’s nice to finish when it’s light outside, but I think I need to try and find a part time/evening job to get my hours up so I can put off having proper adult responsibilities for that bit longer.

The flat that I’m going to move into isn’t ready as the person who’s moving out has extended their stay, so I’m in a hostel for a week and a half or so. Once I have my shit together I’m going to plan out what I want to get out of living in Victoria before I leave here (including a couple of road trips) and start getting myself ready for the next continent to travel through.

Fremantle Prison

No, I didn’t go out on the lash last night and end up here, though if I lived in Western Australia a couple of hundred years ago, I probably would’ve. As well as being drunk, another “crime” a woman could’ve committed at that time also includes using offensive language so I’m happy that I live in this day and age.

The former Prison is a UNESCO site, closed down in 1991 for a breach in human rights. It took a prison riot to begin the process of closing it, during which the prisoners started a fire and found out that the gates of the prison were too small to fit a fire engine through.

I stayed for two tours: one that covered the last 100 years of the prison, and another that went through former inmates and some of the more famous escape attempts. We heard some pretty shocking stories about why prisoners were there, executions and how the prisoners smuggled contraband in.

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Rottnest Island

Yesterday I arrived in the sixth and final state of Australia that I have visited. I’m staying in Perth but am intending to go to three places over three days.

Today, I went to Rottnest Island – famously home of the Quokka. I hired a bike and cycled around the south of the island. The island is actually quite hilly and at some points I had to get off the bike and walk up the hills because I’m not used to cycling/one of my knees is buggered. The cycling athletes for the 2020 Olympic games need not to worry about competing against me in Tokyo.

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