Published: August 9th 2009August 9th 2009
Disclaimer: no literary genius, thought provoking insight, or deeply considered musings will be found here. this is stream of consciouness rubbish - hopefully will give you some idea of what we're up to though. Rob.
August 9th - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ok. So. Darwin international airport, fucking terrible. Cos the plane from Melbourne was delayed there was like a line the length of the airport to get into the international terminal. Dumbest system ever. We ended up having to push in front of half the line and run on, we were among the last couple of people to get on and it was well after the "final call" announcement - hell annoying.
Get on the plane. Straight up Johnny Walker thanks, two panadol, sleep. Get there, immigration was no probs (though would suck to be the one dude who got puled up for Swine Flu when we all got heat tested - really shit system again as they only had one person manning the machine, so the dozen of us that followed this one bloke coulda all had it and no one woulda be the wiser.
Got hassled a few times about getting a taxi. Whatever. Ended up paying 10US to get to the hotel - more than we shoulda paid, but probably worth it as the roads were so fucking chaotic - no lanes, no lines even to seperate the traffic running in different distances. seems like every person and their dog has a scooter. Two year old kids riding on the front without helmets. Families of four on one scooter. Constant horns. Exciting shit.
Get to the hotel. Tiny, but nice enough. Good windows keep out the noise from the main tourist street below. We unpack and brave it. Look for a beer. Find a place showing the cricket, seems quieter than most places, more like our scenes. Turns out I reckon the cricket was bait for 50 year old Aussies and Brits - prostitutes approached us instantly. Didn't buy beer. Bailed asap. Whole place so overwhelming - wasted idiot Aussie tourists, people yelling at you to come into their bar. I was approached by three more prostitutes in the next ten minutes (strangely they always came to me instead of Tilj...) Their proposition is something like "massage and boom boom?" anyway I don't really get it, but needless to say I declined. We couldn't be bothered with it in the end as we were stuffed from all the planes. Got some beers from a street stall and went back to the room to talk about how fucked up and insane the place is.
Got up this morning. Decided to hit up the main attractions. Decided to walk - why not? Constantly hassled by rickshaw drivers, try to decline with a smile but after a while... they're fucking relentless. We walked though. Was great, saw so much more of what the city is like than we would have in a cab. First stop, Reunification Palace, pretty great but not much info really. Went to a Pagoda, not much chop, pretty scummy and just not impressive at all, nothing like the Thai temples. Next stop: War Remenants Museum. Closed for lunch until 1:30. Went to some Pagoda in whoop whoop, took us about an hour to walk there, still getting hassled by rickshaw drivers. Was pretty cool. We can now cross the busy roads like pros though - like I've always said, I can read the traffic... Kinda. Few near misses.
Met some cool Vietnamese guys about eighteen in a coffee shop. Think they wanted to practice their English, so they approached us and wanted to have a chat. Also had some great card tricks they'd learned from youtube that they wanted to show us. Nice to meet some locals that weren't trying desperately to sell us their product of service.
War Remenants Museum was incredibly confronting. Had some tanks, planes and bombs from the war that were pretty cool. Also had all the torture devices the US used - deplorable. Even had a quillotine. Whole places covered in photos and details - some pretty famous shots their that we've probably all seen before, but good to seem them in context among all the others. Entire section dedicated to the after effects of Agent Orange - hundreds of photos of people from across the country born with the most amazing deformaties (no legs, heads 5 times too big, tumours the size of children coming off their faces, arms etc.)
Walked back to the hotel. No idea of the distance we walked today, but we left about 8 and got back at 5, probably 2/3 of the time we were walking. Estimate probably from home into town and back. Booked a tour for tomorrow (one of the good things about being in the main tourist area is the plethora of booking agents) - going down to the Mekong Delta. Really looking forward to getting out of the hussle and bussle of Ho Chi Minh - as interesting as is, it's a tad confronting (particularly as this is where we've flown in to.) 30US for 2 days and a night in a village on the Mekong - better than the 115US I was quoted online.
Some quick stats about for food/drink intake since the sandwich and Johnny Walker I had on the plane about 6pm last night:
2 X Beers
2 X Ice Teas
2 X Cokes
1 Iced Latte
1 litre water
One Small Chocolate Muffin
Yeah... Finding vego diet a bit difficult... Hopefully I'll find a solution pretty quick...
Hope that was somewhat readable, probably post again in 2 or 3 days (once we get back from the Mekong Delta)
Peace - Rob.