Halong Bay and heading South to Saigon

Trip Start Jun 13, 2008
Trip End Aug 20, 2008

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Thursday, July 31, 2008

We had a half day in Halong Bay today to do a little more sightseeing (hiked up to the top of one island so that we could see all of the other rock formations in the bay), but we also got some very heavy rains, so everyone was ready to pack up and move on to the adventure.  I think the staff was ready to get us off too, because they served us breakfast at 8:00am and then lunch at 10:30am.  We drove back to the Hanoi airport to say goodbye to Ha and head down South to Saigon (now know as Ho Chi Minh City).  All our flights in Southeast Asia have been painless, as was this one.  Lauren has a blue pillow for flights (one of those things that feels almost like a beanbag), and had it in her lap while she was reading.  There was a 100lb, 6-year old Vietnamese boy sitting next to her and he seemed very interested in the pillow.  He went from discreetly poking the pillow, to openly poking it, to grabbing it and squeezing it, to then poking Lauren's arm.  This went on for almost the entire 2-hour flight.  Finally, Lauren had to say no when he "asked" if he could have her headphones.   I got roped into watching "Baby Mama" with Lauren, and although it doesn't fit the mold of watching movies related to the countries we're visiting, Lauren thought it was pretty entertaining. 
Our hotel in Saigon is right in the middle of the city, so we immediately noticed all of the motorbikes whipping around.  I think our guide told us that there are 9 million people in Saigon and almost 4 million motorbikes.  It is insane watching people drive around. At almost every country on our trip, people have immediately associated American food with KFC, and there are a lot of KFCs around compared to other western chains.  Since we were both tired and had a little travel fatigue, I went out to get some takeout from a KFC down the street from the hotel.  (Neither one of us could remember the last time, we had KFC).  Anyway, a 30-year old western man walking around downtown Saigon by himself, at night, invites a lot of attention from certain types of people plying their trade.  I was quickly and often approached by people offering "sexy massage", and had 2 ladyboys try to get me to join them on their motorbike....umm, I'll pass....and run home now.  Later on, I learned how different it feels to be walking around alone vs with your wife....at least until we got back to Bangkok (see later entry).
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