Almost my home this year

Trip Start Aug 23, 2010
Trip End Jul 15, 2011

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Saturday, January 22, 2011

Well, started off the three week holiday in Ho Chi Minh City: a city that I thought was going to be my home this year. As it turns out, I really do like this least for the 4 days I was there. I stayed at my former principals place which is in an area of the city called Phu Mi Hung, or district 7. This is one of the nicer parts of the city, very similar to SIP in Suzhou last year. Not the kind of area one might expect to find in Vietnam. We did spend a little time in and around the backpacker area closer to downtown, but I never really had much look at some of the more desolate parts of the city so perhaps my view is distorted. 2 things that certainly jumped out at me about the city:

1) The wide array of international restaurants representing almost every type of food imaginable, something that is lacking in Wenzhou!, and 

2) The motorcycles. Copious amounts of motorcycles. Early morning and late afternoon are the busiest times, but it is a constant stream of motorcycles on all streets at any given time of day. See the pictures! 

To start the holiday, Wes and I got shown around some of the city by Greg, went out for some tasty food (Vietnamese food is good!), and visited Greg's international middle school, and Alisons international elementary school. Very interesting buildings and set-ups for these schools. For example, Ali's elementary school is situated inside of a former car dealership building. It actually works really well for an elementary setting! Greg's school is in a 3 story building with very little playground space outside. In fact, all the schools seemed to be like that. Just a tiny little basketball court area, and no grass. Real estate seems to be pricey as many of the buildings in the city have an extremely small footprint. This produces many interesting looking tall, narrow buildings all over the city. Also of note is some of the electrical wiring found here....sketchy to say the least! One last place that we visited while in HCMC was the War Remnants Museum in downtown HCMC. The museum has plenty of artifacts and weaponry from the Vietnam War, including some very anti-american sentiment at many of the exhibits. Quite an eye opening place.......I found it shocking to learn that even today many babies are born with birth defects that are caused by all the Agent Orange that was sprayed all over the country during the war. Things such as extra limbs, digits, massive heads, buggy eyes, etc. Very very sad stuff. Anyway, here are some pictures from in and around HCMC.
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