28.11.2009 - 30.11.2009 27 °C
The border crossing from Phnom Pehn to Saigon was the easiest yet. We already had our visa's sorted so we just got on the bus for a bit, got off for some food, got back on till the border, went through border control, got back on the bus and arrived in Saigon! Far too easy =P
The best bit about the bus journey was the people, we met a couple from up North, a Dutch guy and another English man who was telling us all his travelling stories...he kept saying "Well back then I was the only white boy in town" haha. His stories were good (if maybe exaggerated) about travelling in the past. I think he liked it that he had loads of young ppl listening to him.
When we got off the bus in Saigon there were loads of tuk tuk drivers as usual and then this man popped up and said to follow him he knew a cheapo guesthouse so we went and it was alright! It had walls which was a big improvement on the last place and all for $4! We dropped our stuff and went for a walk around it is so unbelieveably busy here. The motorbike traffic is unreal but also really pretty - they all wear multi coloured helmets! much better than car traffic.
The traffic has been mad everywhere we'v been in SE Asia but this is the worst/best. Most of the big roads dont have signals for pedestrians so you literally have to walk calmly and steadily into oncoming traffic and hope for the best because otherwise you'll just be stuck on the side of the road. Its best not to look because you instantly want to run if you see 4 lanes of motorbikes driving straight at you ... but if you walk slow they can go around you whereas if you run they dont get the chance...eeek.. Dani & Chi are much better at it than me!
We went for a really nice meal and a beer to celebrate being in Vietnam and watched the street. Vietnam has also got the wierdest electrical system i'v ever seen! They have millions of electricity pylons all hanging all over the place. If you had a 1st floor balcony here you'd be looking into a wall of electricity pylons - it looks really safe lol.
After our meal we walked around a bit more and looked on Travelfish for stuff to do in the city. Then we walked about some more. I didnt think i'd like Ho Chi Min but I love it! There is so much going on everywhere you can just sit and watch for ages and its fun! haha
The next day we took a walk around. Even though we were in a mental city it still felt like a Sunday. We found a huge nice park and went to the market. This market was much better than the Russian one we went to in Cambodia! The ppl were much more aggressive and the bantering was much better too! I got some new Sunnies for $4! very nice lol...
After that we went and had a Vietnamese coffee in the park -mmmm - strong ice coffee with condensed milk...mmmm
We had brought tickets for the water puppet show which the English guy from the border crossing bus said we should go to. It was really wierd and bizarre haha we couldnt figure out how they did it. The sound effects and music were really good but the actual pouppet show was a bit strange - in Vietnamese so we had no clue what was happening lol. Good for kids I think (not mature adults like us!)
That night we met up with the ppl we met on the border crossing bus. it was the girl's (another Dannii) birthday and the footie was on so we all met up for a few drinks. It was fun but we had to go to sports bars which were too expenisve for us so we didnt stay out long. The Northern couple (Dannii & Tom) got ripped off by a cyclo driver (Cyclos = A man riding a bike with a big pram attached to the front that you sit in). He took them around a few sites, they brought him lunch and beer and then he charged them 4 million dong! (120 pounds!) I cant believe they paid it! I would have run off screaming! I felt really sorry for her it was her bday as well!
Chi & Dani wanted to go to the Cu Chi tunnels (An impressive network of tiny tunnels where the Viet Cong lived during the Vietnam War) But I wasnt so sure I didnt think i'd want 2 go in them and I wasnt sure if it would be my thing so I was just going to hang around the city and see a few sites. But when I told the guest house lady she gave me a telling off saying "When you tell people you come to Vietnam but you not see tunnel they be very surprised! you cannot talk to them you can only listen to them say they had good time! This very bad for you! You go on my tour of tunnel be very good for you! everybody say they have good time!" haha she went on and on and on so in the end I gave in and went with them.
It was actually a really good day! Not because the tunnels were that exciting really (interesting though!) but because our tour guide - as usual - was a nut nut. He was so excited telling us about how easy it was to kill Americans! "You just turn shoot them in the back! they fall on bamboo spear! Easy!" haha he looked so happy telling su all this lol. We also watched a film showing the Viet Cong who had been awarded Medals for "Hero of American killings" lol. The actual tunnels were nuts they were tiny and ppl used to live in them! For some stupid reason I thought it would be a good idea to go down the enlarged tunnel for tourists (itw as not enlarged enough) it was horrible! It was nearly completely dark and you had to shuiffle along crouched down and it was hot and eurgh...when I came out my legs felt like jelly...such a wierd feeling...and ppl used to live in smaller ones! Never again!
At the end of the tour we sat down to eat what the Viet Cong ate - Tapioca (not in pudding form) and tea! It was actually nice it was like boiled potatao!
Afterwards we got the bus back to town and went to the War Remnants museum about the Vietnam War. It was devastating - especially the Agent Orange & Napalm victims. It showed pictures of babies who have been born deformed because they'r parents were exposed. It was so horrible because even after the war finished the people who survived still have to deal with the after effects. So sad. We were told that its really biased and it was but how are they supposed to show the war from the other perspective? and why would they? I thought it was really well put together and it showed the stages of the war from beginning to end.
Tonight we have just been sorting out tarvel plans for the next 2 weeks in Vietnam... Its expensive as its a lot of country to cover! We managed to get an open bus ticket from Ho Chi Min to Hanoi stopping at 4 other destinations along the way for 17 pounds! bargain...but then we had to book a flight back to HCMC and that wasnt so cheap...oh well you win some you lose some lol
I am finally up to date on the blog!! Also congratulations to Tamsin & Rob who have got engaged!! (no wedding till I get home!)