Nha Trang to Hoi Chi Minh City

Trip Start Jun 15, 2007
Trip End Jun 27, 2008

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Monday, September 24, 2007

The bus journey from Nha Trang to Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh City to give it it's correct Sunday afternoon name) was fairly uneventful.  It was a gazillion times better than the last one as a) it was daytime so we were able to look at the scenery, b) as it was daytime I was able to read should the urge take me, c) I had charged my mp3 player so had music to drown out Nic and d) there weren't two kids on the back row next to me snogging.

So, 12 hours later we arrive in HCMC (to give it it's abridged name), sought accommodation, ate and went to bed. 

Next morning, and it was time to do some chores.  We had some shopping to take care of for toiletries and things, Nic needed passport photos for her Cambodian visa and we wanted to post some things back home, primarily our waterproof jackets that we had been carrying around for over three months and only worn once. 
As we were walking around we got our first impression of HCMC.  For me, one word summed it up.  Seedy.  Maybe not everyone's view of this place but certainly mine.  We had started to get used to seeing older men with very young Vietnamese girls but here it seemed a lot more prominent.  I guess it is each to their own but I don't understand the mentality and it just seems wrong seeing these men with these girls, and they must know that they are only with them for the money.  Or maybe I have it all wrong - maybe there is a genuine love there.

The next thing we noticed were the motorbikes.  Nothing new in Vietnam right, but HCMC was a whole different ball game.  We thought Hanoi was manic; it has nothing on HCMC.  I think, and maybe this is wrong, there is something like five million motorbikes. Unbelievable.  They were everywhere.  Driving a car here is totally pointless as you just get stuck behind a wall of motorbikes.

We walked for what seemed like ages to the post office and took in the sights along the way.  We saw Notre Dame cathedral (I thought that was in France) and then the post office, which as post offices go, was very nice. 

Erm, and that is about it for HCMC really.  To be honest, we were never planning on spending long here as we had arranged to meet Miriam and Victoria in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on the 26th.  We had asked around at the hotel and the only way to get there, other than flying, was a two day trip up the Mekong that meant we would be arriving in PP on the 27th.  So we booked this trip and packed.

On the whole, both Nic and I really enjoyed Vietnam.  My one, very slight, regret is that we only spent two and half weeks there.  I would have loved to have spent more time in Hanoi, Hoi An and Jungle Beach.  I could take or leave Hue and HCMC.  And Halong Bay is beautiful, although 2 -3 days is enough there.
I would definitely come back to Vietnam and wouldn't think twice about recommending it to others.  It is a beautiful country with very nice, warm people that welcome you with open arms.
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