Returning from Sapa to Hanoi at 5am on a Monday morning we’d run out of cash, so I ventured off on an ATM mission only to find after six different machines that our wonderfully ethical accounts at the Co-Op Bank had blocked our cards. Again. There was a certain irony at sticking my ethical bank card (‘We don’t invest in the Arms Trade’) into the ATM of Vietnam’s ‘Military Bank’.  There’s one for the ‘Moral Maze’ to discuss. Needless to say it didn’t give me any money, realising what a pinko-leftie-greeny I clearly am.

On the overnight bus south to Hoi An that evening the DVD player was blasting out a glittery stage show of Asian power ballads. One of the singers, in all seriousness apparently, appeared to be wearing a green glove puppet on his left hand for no possible artistic reason that we could fathom. Imagine a Vietnamese Ronan Keating with his fist up Kermit the Frog. Or maybe not. After a stop at the ‘motorway services’, a dilapidated open-sided shed in which hungry puppies competed with similar sized cockroaches for titbits on the filthy floor, one of the two drivers assembled a small metal frame and actually managed to sling a hammock up in the aisle of the bus! This attracted jealous looks from the adjacent passengers as they tried to recline their seats beyond the position of ‘vigorously upright’.

Continue reading on the Slow Travel Blog

Comments by other travellers

There are no posts. Why not be the first to have your say?

Post a comment

I want to
My comment - optional
Rating - how would you rate this place or experience?

About this author

  • Ed Gillespie

    I am Co-Founder and Creative Director of Futerra. I've worked as a teacher in Jamaica, as a marine biologist in Wales, Orkney, …

Also by this author

  • Slow down London!

    I'll be joining the Financial Times' journalist Harry Eyres (author of the 'Slow Lane' column) in conversation on the South Bank on April 29th as part of the Slow Down London festival.

  • Big Freeze and Brown Cheese...

    Slow journeys never start auspiciously when you hear the heart-sinking words ‘Rail Replacement Service’.

  • Festivals, fiery feasts & wombats on the Prom…

    And so to ‘Marvellous Melbourne’, cultural bo-ho capital of Australia where artful tattoos, piercings and black-clad beatniks abound and residents enjoy a distinctly European style climate (i.e. it’s colder and wetter than the rest of the country).

  • Life on the ocean wave...

    It was with some trepidation that we’d boarded our container ship the Theodor Storm for the ten day voyage from Singapore to Brisbane. We were the only two passengers on the 30,000 tonne vessel, joining a crew of Russian and Ukrainian officers and Fillipp

Latest travel blog posts