Where have I bin, in Ho Chi Minh ?

Trip Start Nov 16, 2004
Trip End Nov 15, 2005

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Sunday, January 16, 2005

We arrived in our fourth country, Vietnam, in the afternoon of Sun 16 January after about 8 hours on the bus from Phom Penh.

Our first full day in HCMC was spent at Saigon water park. The park was virtually empty that meant we didn't have to queue for anything. It was especially pleasing as I looked at my watch in the afternoon and worked out it would be 8 o'clock on a Monday morning at home - haha. As I write this one week on, my bruises from the day have almost healed - which is good.

We head out in the evening into the area we are staying, District 1 (Saigon), for some food and drink. This led to another drink, followed by another drink and then it starts to get a bit hazy. I remember taking a short walk back to hotel with Dan & Cath at 4am. I say short walk but this was lengthend by Dan & Cath's persistance to walk in a zig-zag fashion while both maintaining they weren't p1ssed. The funniest part was when he was trying to persuade Cath to hold onto him so she didn't fall over. Quote, 'I'm not the one whose p1ssed'. A split second later Dan had lost his footing and was having a close inspection of the pavement.

Next day was a bit low key as we are feeling a little poorly - must have been something we ate. Dan & I find the energy to go exploring on foot in the afternoon which avoided me thinking I had wasted the day.

Wednesday. We all get Cyclo drivers for the day to enable us to see a few places. Felt sorry for the guys having to pedal our weight (Cath excluded obviousily) around for the day. We visited Ho Chi Minh museuem that explored HCMC history. Then onto Re-unification Palace. It used to be called Independance Palace, until the tanks of the North-Vietnamese army stormed it in 1975. A couple of other places were visited until we finished with a drink in a local roadside bar with the four cyclo guys. Whilst drinking a draught beer (3000 Dong - ooh thats about 10p) we sampled some food from the street sellers - some small boiled bird eggs, some form of pork wrapped in a banana leaf, and shrimp crackers. Went to Apocalypse Now! Bar in the evening for a drink.

Visited Cu Chi and its famous network of underground tunnels that were used in the Vietnam/American war. We had a rather amusing guide called Omar, who spoke English with an American accent following 7 years as a translator in the US Army. Everything to him was 'totally awesome' which was presumably an unfortunate saying he picked up from our north atlantic friends. We all went down the tunnels, more the size of rabbit warrens than the channel tunnel. They were obviousily built to accomodate the slight Vietnamese frame as opposed to our, to quote Omar, "Beer drinking, hot-dog eating" frames. Saying that, even Dan managed to squeeze himself down the small hole. Spent the afternoon at the War museum which was a sobering visit. It was made more interesting by the section that was dedicated to the journalists that had died during the war and their photographs that they had taken.

After 9 and a half weeks of travelling together we are splitting up (only temporarily - don't worry - no falling outs!). Dan and Cath ('danstraveloworld' on travelpod) are heading straight up to Hanoi to enable themselves more time in Laos. Myself and Nial ('Nial' on travelpod - original eh) are taking a more leisurely route northwards.

I really enjoyed our 5 days in HCMC. It's a very busy city but seems to quite relaxing at the same time which is strange for a major city. One thing I noticed and also did in Cambodia was that the streets are so clean - you do see them being constanstly manually swept my a small army. I can think of a couple of places that could take note of here!
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