Billions of scooters in Ho Chi Minh

Trip Start Mar 01, 2009
Trip End Nov 01, 2010

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Arriving in Ho Chi Minh City (aka HCMC, aka Saigon)
I flew in to Ho Chi Minh City, caught a taxi to my guesthouse and met the insane lady who was unfortunately the manager.

I'd flown in a day later than planned due to Visa Issues and I'd forgotten to change my hostel booking. She had cancelled my booking and her guesthouse was full so I had to start over. Time to find another Internet cafe.

I walked into the guesthouse next door, it was way way nicer, they weren't full and there were a friendly guys and girls hanging out in the lobby. Perfect.

After that I went straight to the UPS office and couriered my Mums car and house keys back to Sydney. Had found them at the bottom of pocket as I left Singapore - oops.

Funny Vietnam Things

After a couple of days in Ho Chi Minh City there were a few funny things you cant help but notice

It not surprising to see one solitary 3 or 4 story thin building by itself in the middle of nowhere, or a super thin 10 floor building flanked by a couple of 2f floor places. They're masters at make the most use of the smallest space, so they don't have to spend too much on land.

I love the city driving over here, especially in the cities, the traffic in the cities is mental. Somehow there's a method to the madness. Traffic lights are largely ignored and driving on the correct side of the road is pretty much optional if you're on a scooter.

Learning how to cross the street is amazing. The way the locals cross the road is they pretty much walk out into the traffic where ever they want, they keep moving and the scooters drive around them. Traffics slow enough to make this doable.

But when you're a tourist arriving for the first time, it's one hell of a leap faith to start walking in front buses, a few dozen scooters coming at you from both directions.

When I first got into town the taxi driver had to help me across the road - v embarrassing.

The last thing is it's amazing the variety of stuff you can see being carried on the back of a
scooter: 3 kids and a wife, pigs, chickens, fish, tv's, 10m lengths of pipe, general large boxes.

Around HCMC

I spent a few days in town, went to the main touristy places - the War Remnants Museum, the Mekong Delta and the Cu Chi tunnels.

The war museum was outstanding. I was keeping an eye out for it from the taxi as we drove down the street - then I saw a chinook and a couple of tanks parked outside a big old building... that'd be it.

Going thru the museum was a great history lesson on what happened on both sides during the war. My history knowledge is about as bad as it gets so plenty to learn there!

The tunnels were pretty cool to check out, but it was 2 hours to drive there, 2 hours back and only 10 min crawling through the tunnels.

I took off on the Mekong Delta tour and that too was tourist central. This was my mistake though, I'd followed some of the guys from the guesthouse who were doing the day trip tour and it was mostly full of old mum and dad tourists from America and Germany.... If I'm traveling on the same bus as those guys I could only feel like I wasn't doing something right.

After all that I made some plans to travel up the coast over the next couple of weeks and then maybe try and get down to Cambodia for the last week.

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