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Published: November 18th 2007
Monday Nov 12 to Wednesday Nov. 14th
“Good Mornin’ Vietnam! We’ve always wanted to say that. (thank you Robin Williams)
Very hot here, about 33 degrees, and humid (so a very bad hair place, but great for things such as an $18 massage and $6 french manicure---that’s U.S dollars, so even cheaper in loonies)..Note to Michael and Harvey: see how much money we are saving?)
Our base, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is in terrible disrepair. The French colonial influences are present, but the heart of the city lies not in it’s architecture, but in the Vietnamese people. They are a lovely, gracious, hospitable people who have suffered much.
A most outstanding feature of HMC is the traffic chaos which is composed of some 2 million mopeds (the main method of transportation) all jumbled in amongst the relatively few cars and trucks and bicycles. Traffic lights are merely a suggestion. Quite a frightening but fascinating experience watching the motorbikes soaring in and out. It’s a wonder there aren’t more accidents. The riders of these bikes, especially the women, wear full face masks (called ai dais) to combat the pollution and fumes. Helmets are rarely seen. On these
motor scooters entire families travel with belongings. We counted a family of 5 on one. Picture this: Dad held baby while driving and smoking a cigarette—Mom and 2 toddlers were balanced behind...Don’t try this at home. There are no traffic rules except survival of the fittest.
We visited the famous (or infamous) Mekong Delta, the large fertile growing region (a.k.a. the “Rice Belt”) producing rice, coconut, sugar cane, fruits and fish farms.
The river, known as “the waterway” by the locals, is fed by hundreds of tributaries and canal systems…We canoed down one of the small tributaries in a sampan, (MaryEllen loved this part, being an Algonquin lovin' girl). Later we had a chance to see a family orchard, meet some of the people, and then enjoyed a lunch of Elephant Ear fish.
Lots to buy as we breezed through the jungle markets. Everything seems to cost $1 U.S. (gives new meaning to the term dollar store)
We had a fun evening sailing on a dinner cruise complete with a band and buffet supper.
We've sent you lots of pictures this time, so be sure to press the "next' button at the end of the first photo
page to view the last page of the pix. Enjoy.
Thank you everyone for sending in your comments and messages,. We love to hear from you
Off now to Siem Riep, Cambodia, as we say “Dam biet” from Vietnam
Love to you all
Lindsay and MaryEllen
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