All guns blazing!
Trip Start Aug 29, 2006
40Trip End Mar 10, 2007
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So we are now on the final section of our trip with the Intrepid group that we have been with during our stay in Vietnam. The last three weeks have gone so quickly and for most of the group they are now thinking of the return trip home and returning to their day jobs....oh well I guess me and Clare won't have to worry about that for another 5 months!
Saigon Day 1
So we have now arrived safe and sound in Saigon after an uneventful overnight train journey from Nha Trang (apart from the train arriving in Saigon at 4 in the morning!). Clare and I spent the morning sorting out our Visas with the Cambodian Embassy in preparation for our next leg of the journey and then researching on how we are actually going to get there
On the way to the embassy in the morning, we ended up walking through what must be the puppy selling district. With assorted puppies being kept in cages on the back of motorbikes ready for new homes. I'm not sure that the RSPCA would be to happy about this set up and Clare was trying her best to set a few of them free. Clare kept telling herself that puppies become dogs and become pets in happy homes! Hoang later confirmed this for us and that the puppies were not for that other use that the Vietnamese like to use dogs for.
Saigon is a pretty big place from what we experienced yesterday with 6 million habitants and what seems like 60 million motorbikes (all being ridden by Valentino Rossi wannabees!). With the number of bikes on the road our afternoon walking tour round the major sites turned into a serious game of dodging the bikes or cars on each road crossing (somehow we all managed to get through the afternoon without being hit). Either there was actually not much to be seen in Saigon or maybe we were walking round the wrong districts. Highlight's included eating lunch in a restaurant that Bill Clinton had visited in 2000 (called Pho 2000), walking round the time capsule that is the Reunification Palace (think 70's retro kitch) and being brought back down to earth by the War Remnants museum
Saigon Day 2
One of the highlights of Vietnam for us are the Cu Chi tunnels which we visited this morning. The tunnels are about an hours drive out of Saigon and were home to some fierce battles during the Vietnam war between the Americans and the Viet Cong. There are roughly 200km of tunnels across Vietnam but the most famous are those of Cu Chi. As you will see from the photos, I attempted to get into one of the original tunnels but there was no way that I would be able to navigate the passage ways as they were about the size of a small child! We did however get to crawl through a westerners tunnel, I'm thinking that the Vietnames must laugh at all these westerners crawling through the tunnel and coming out in cold sweats complaining that the tunnels are too small and claustraphobic!
Total highlight of the day for me was realing off a few rounds on an Mi6 machine gun and taking pot shots at the tigers (don't worry - not real tigers!) with an AK47. Clare also had a pop on the AK47 but to be honest neither of us know whether we got any where near the targets!
Thats pretty much it for the Nam! Both Clare and I have loved the last three weeks. It has been brilliant fun here and I think that we have been so lucky with our group of people and our guide. We have got our leaving meal tonight, lets hope we don't get too emotional!
Tomorrow morning, we are making the break away from the comforts of group travelling and I guess that our real adventure starts when we jump on the bus tomorrow morning for the 6 hour journey to Phnom Penh.
Pete and Clare