The last day of our time in Vietnam and the last day of 2013 started very, very calmly. A leisurely breakfast with copious pancakes for the boys and coffee for Jennifer and me was just what we needed.
I should take this opportunity to correct something I said at the start of our time in Vietnam. The fact that there were coffee shops everywhere and Vietnam has a French background mislead me into thinking that Vietnam would be a good place for coffee. It is true that there are coffee shops all over the place, but Vietnamese coffee is an acquired taste. Other than its name it bears little resemblance to anything we’d call coffee back home. That didn’t stop me drinking it of course, but it was always with a faint grimace and a mild sense of disbelief.
Anyway, we spent the morning splashing, jumping, swimming, and diving about in the blood-warm sea. Then we pulled a group of those hanging egg-chairs together into a pod and spent most of the rest for the day chatting, reading, and generally laying about. Much as we’ve loved riding through Vietnam, it was heavenly to have a day without moving. Julie and Kate went off to the spa and came back later looking relaxed after having been massaged and wrapped in vegetables.
As the sun set we resorted to gin and tonics and prepared for the New Year’s Gala. The resort’s gala presentation was… unusual. There was a huge spread of food, the centrepiece of which were two Barbie dolls with salmon dresses, something we found hilarious (perhaps that was the G&T’s talking) and the many Russians sitting near us found entrancing. In truth, we actually found the large Russian women sitting at the next table in matching dresses hilarious too, so maybe the G&Ts really were to blame.
No, regardless of G&Ts, it was impossible not to both love and fall about in hysterics at the floor show. The entire show was put on by the hotel staff, which was endearing. The MC was dressed in a startling white, shiny suit and had a fingernail-tip grasp of the English language which made things interesting. He also insisted on running through his prepared script even though he was running a good ten minutes behind what was actually going on. Various members of staff went up on the dance floor and sang or danced very sweetly.
The kids all spent the evening watching movies in one room and then came and joined us in time for the dancing. And we even got Cal and Dec to dance.
Then there were balloons and sparklers all of which had been sparkled and released a good quarter-hour before the MC brought us to that moment in his finale. He didn’t seem to mind. We certainly didn’t mind. The evening finished off with us watching candle-hot-air-lanterns glowing red and floating gently in the sky over the sea.
Really the whole thing was an absolute joy thanks to the company. Ray and Kate and Allister and Julie were a wonderful group to see in the New Year with. Such a great way to see in the New Year and end our Vietnam cycling tour.