Not long ago, I was in Vietnam. It was a spur-of-the-moment-hastily-booked-and-plannned kind of affair, but great all the same. I simply decided that I had a great opportunity- longer holidays and my brother planning on being in the country at the same time- it may be hitting me in the pocket, but was simply too much of a good idea to resist. I spent some time in the north around Hanoi and Halong Bay (the pictures show exactly why it is popular with the tourists). Hanoi is like Kyoto to Tokyo- so much more culture. I took a liking to the perilous and crazy traffic- my number 1 tip for crossing the road is to simply forget about your personal safety and walk across. In Halong Bay I went sea-kayaking, took plenty of pictures and endured badly sung Vietnamese karaoke on New Year's Eve. From there I ventured south to Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon as everyone preferred to call it- rolls off the tongue much better don't you think?) and hit the markets, sweltered in the Mekong Delta, and squished into a war-era tunnel. The south of Vietnam is so much warmer and relaxed than the North- less communist propaganda (which incidentally, contained some great illustration). I also spent some time hanging out with my brother there, which was fun- just sitting around drinking coffee/beer/tea/mojitos and watching the local life unfold around us- the streets really are your best form of entertainment there.
So where to next? I'm thinking perhaps Argentina.