Mr. & Mrs. El Terrifico are at it again!

Trip Start Aug 24, 2010
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Trip End Sep 01, 2011


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Friday, February 25, 2011

And the adventures continue! February was filled with TONS of excitement and fun...unfortunately, we were so busy that we haven't had a chance to blog about it. I'm now a whole month behind....so I've decided to start with the current adventures and fill in the rest with time! Thailand was such a blast, as two of our best friends joined us and spent the month getting broken toes and stung by jellyfish!

Jay and I left the land of smiles and have now arrived in...the "other" land of smiles! Vietnam! What an amazing place. We've been here for two days and have already decided that Vietnam deserves a good amount of time. Arriving in Ho Chi Minh City, we didn't waste any time before heading out to find some scrumptious Vietnamese food! We found a small street side restaurant and were so excited...expecting to find a menu full of lemongrass chicken dishes and Vietnamese subs...waiting 6 months for this food!!....page one...frog....page two...pigeon??!!....page three...oxtail....wait a minute...where are the subs?? So we settled on some vegetables and a beef noodle dish...equally delicious!...and a faintly yellow colored iced tea...or at least that's what they called it...lol.

Our first full day in Vietnam was quite thought provoking. After our delicious, included, breakfast buffet at the hotel, we started off on a walk to find the War Remnants Museum...not really sure what to expect. We arrived at 12:30pm to an older gentlemen, who was resting on his scooter at the corner of the street...he was trying to explain that it was closed. Closed?? Yeah right...this has to be another scam...just like the Grand Palace scams in Thailand...tell us it's closed and then make us pay for your "taxi tour". So we kindly said Thank you and continued walking...found the front entrance...and discovered...it actually is closed from 12pm - 1:30pm....and then felt guilty for thinking that a sweet, innocent old man, just trying to be helpful, was trying to scam us....geez. Travelling makes you doubt the world! So far, everyone in Vietnam has wanted to genuinely help us...no rip offs or scams...yet...lol.

The museum is interesting and very graphic. Of course, it doesn't say many good things about the United States...understandably. The majority of the museum, aside from the planes, tanks, and some weaponry, consisted of photographs....very graphic photographs! One section showed the after effects of Agent Orange, other sections detailed the deaths of people...etc. Outside the museum, there is a section of the jail...for the political prisoners. They have the tiger cages displayed and it goes into extensive detail on the types of torture techniques that were used...and even shows some pictures of it! None the less, it was worth the $0.75 addmission fee...proving to be rather educating!

We purchased some books at the museum gift shop. Couldn't believe how cheap they were! Lonely Planet guides for $5!! You can't go wrong with that...just read it and leave it behind somewhere. Books in hand, we found a little place for lunch...took out our books...umm...why do the pages look funny??....ooohhh....the lightbulb clicks on....I get it....the books are photocopies!!! Who thinks of that...to photocopy books and sell them...unreal. Not that I'm complaining...we did get a great deal on the guidebooks!

This morning, up at 6am, breakfast at 7am...and arriving 25 minutes early for our 8am tour...we were on a roll! Early for once....8am...still haven't left yet...8:30am...still waiting...9am...finally on our way...I guess our "half day tour" will be an hour shorter than expected...lol. Off to see the Cu Chi Tunnels...the tunnel system used by the Vietnamese during the war. They actually dug tunnels, with three levels and multiple different rooms, and lived underground during the war. It took the Americans a long time to figure out their system!

Our guide started us off at one of the original tunnel entrances....just big enough for your shoulders and head...not sure how I fit my hips in there! haha. No one was willing to try to go in, so I volunteered...of course...cramming my body into small spaces that are scary and risky...sounds like a Bri and Jay Adventure! So, being the first one, I slide into the entrance way, which is vertical, so standing in the tunnel entrance, the ground was just below my shoulders...lots of room! However...it was never mentioned or demonstrated as to how to get "OUT" of the tunnel! So, there I am, in front of about 12 people...including my husband...who uses any opportunity possible to take funny pictures of me and to laugh at my expense...I'm stuck....stuck in this little tiny tunnel entrance, up to my shoulders. I tried twice to lift myself out, but I was too short to be able to get out on my own!! Eventually, after everyone got their morning laughs, the guide helped to lift me back out....how embarassing. I didn't volunteer again after that...lol.

We tried some cassava root...tasted like potato....and saw how rice paper and rice wine are made. Sometimes, I think it's best that we don't always know the process behind how our foods are made...lol. There was another section of tunnel that has been "enlarged" to fit European tourists...so we were able to crawl through that for about 150 metres...very interesting...I couldn't imagine living underground!

Starving...we finally returned to the city at 3pm. After about 10 minutes of discussion amoungst the two of us, we came to the conclusion....that even though it's a huge risk...we HAD to try the Vietnamese subs from the street vendor! So, staring at the cart, we came up with every reasonable reason why it looked safe and why it must be clean...lol. The only thing we couldn't explain was why the restaurant right beside the street vendor charged 60,000 dong and the street vendor only charged 10,000....lol. We gave in and had some super delicious subs!...So far so good! What can you expect when you pay $0.50 for a sub??!! lol. We took our subs, which were wrapped in "hotel confirmation" papers with bank accounts and names listed on them, and went to the park to eat. We just finished eating when Andy, a 28 year old Vietnamese man, started speaking with us. He was very friendly and admitted he just wanted to practice his English. We spent some time speaking with him and getting some insider info on the city, when all of a sudden, another guy is standing with us...not saying anything, just listening....5 minutes later...another one appeared....and no more than 10 minutes later, a girl appeared! Before we knew it, we were giving free English lessons to a whole class!! haha. It was fun and their English was so advanced that we spent the whole time joking and laughing. Vietnam is ranked pretty close to Taiwan in my books....so similar in so many ways. And the people are outstanding!

The land of street side sandwiches, bicycle bbqs, and genuine people....what more can you ask for??
Tomorrow we are going to the Indian consulate...once again...to try to get our visas for India! Cross your fingers!....and hope we get it!...I know there's some of you (Jane and Laurier) that hope we don't...lol.
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