Bri & Jo's excellent adventure

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Dear All,
So much has happened in the past 6 or so weeks. Lots good, some bad, a little ugly.

VIETNAM Hanoi - plenty of lying, deceitful con artists there. Fortunately we weren't conned despite many attempts. The weather was crap too. Dull and rainy, a bit like England at this time of year. We both saw a dead body for the first time at Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum. A weird place and strange to revere a man so much and ignore his dying wish to be cremated. Tai chi performed to music by pensioners at 6am by the lake was not quite what we expected. At least they were moving their joints.
Ha Long Bay - over 3000 stunning limestone islands shrouded in mist. We took a little boat into some caves and felt we were in another James Bond scene.
Sapa - beautiful scenery in the far north. We, and 2 Aussie friends, met and had dinner with a bonkers Hmong tribe lady and her family. Mouldy crust rice bread, boiled rice, green veg (morning glory), rice wine, tea. The following day we got lost in the mountain mists with two Dutch friends. We ended up cutting our way through dense bamboo jungle, sliding down sheer hillsides and climbing down waterfalls to find our way home. All good fun now we're out of it!

LAOS Vientiane - what must be the calmest capital in the world. We had money and stinky t-shirts stolen from our hotel room which spoilt it a little. Dinner served by a transvestite whilst watching a couple of hundred people doing aerobics on the bank of the Mekong was an experience!
Vang Vieng - fantastic limestone scenery, stunning orange/pink sunsets and very chilled. We could have stayed for much longer tubing down the river, caving, walking. We got properly drunk and went to a disco for the first time in 5 months.
Luang Prabang - by the Mekong again (it's massive), nice coffee shops, good curry, cheap night market for textiles and food. 6hr boat trip turned into 10 when we broke down then ran out of fuel.
Bokeo National Park - 130ft up in a tree house in the jungle, ace! We stayed with Willy the black gibbon and travelled from tree to tree via zip wire. We spent 3 days as tourists and worked an extra 2 mending steps and clearing bamboo. Waking up to the sounds of the jungle and the endangered black gibbons calling was unforgetable.

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THAILAND Chiang Mai & Pai - Jo was properly ill. This climaxed after she ate her own green curry having been on a Thai cookery course! Pai was beautiful, garlic fields, bamboo huts, restaurant beside a babbling brook, tree lined mountains in the background.
Bangkok - More shopping. How many pairs of jeans does a girl need? The answer is currently five!!! We feasted on the excellent street food one last time. Jo had her rucksack broken into on the bus south to Malaysia despite it being padlocked. We are waiting to see what her credit card has bought. Apart from that, souvenirs and things of sentimental value went. We've also just found out that we've lost all our photos from Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Thailand and Cambodia. Can anyone we've met in this time help us out? We hope our bad luck streak is at an end as we approach Malaysia and Singapore and fly onto Aus in about a fortnight.
Bri & Jo

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