Cyclos in Saigon

Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Thursday, December 2, 1999

The Lonely Planet states that you should smile when entering Vietnam. Don't cause any hassle. We did this, and even though there was a hold-up for around 5 minutes, we went straight through and picked up our bags. We ran into an American who owned businesses in Saigon. He could speak fluent Vietnamese, so he organised a taxi to take us straight to the backpackers quarter. We found a room, it was nice. The next morning, we organised a cyclo to take us on a tour of the city. We visited Notre Dame, quite nice, the post office, which looks like a French railway station, the old US embassy and the War Remnants museum. It was quite hideous what was inside, but that is war after all then we hit the markets area. Down one street was a line of hairdressers, just on the street !!!!! Being a Westerner in SEA, this was really unusual. In the markets, it was amazing to see what they sold. A line of motorbike part sellers, loads of bikes covered with chickens and ducks. Then we saw where they were sold them. There they all were, legs tied together in a big bunch of ducks and chickens. Picture it, the buyer casually picks out his bird, the seller gets it, slits its throat, plucks it, cleans the insides out, and hands it to the buyer. It was very different. We left this part and then went to where the coffins were made !!!!! Food on the street was the only way to go here as well. We kept moving looking at the Buddhist temples that were located around. What got me was that these people here used to have to practise on the quiet for a long time and these temples were all locked up due to communism. Travelling around Saigon was cool but a little scary in a Cyclo. Basically, you sit up at the very front in, like a basket attached to a bike. This way, as you turn in front of the traffic, the traffic is coming straight at you. This is the scary part. Once back, we bought a ticket with Sinh Café. An open one to see us all the way through to Hanoi. Whilst there, we ran into to older Aussies who said that they had been in Saigon during the war. It was interesting listening to them and their thoughts of the changes. They had a younger Aussie as well. Tadek. He was travelling around on his way to England. It was his first big OS experience
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