To Saigon

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
1
87
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Trip End Ongoing


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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Awake nice and early in time for our journey to Saigon, and the last leg of our bargain bus ticket. I would have loved to have used it better but with the constant rain I'm never going to hang around for long.

The bus trip was a long arduous 8 hours but a memorable one. As the bus was leaving Nha Trang it was apparent that the rains had been severe. All of the fields in the surrounding area were flooded and it looked like the road was in the middle of one huge lake. At least the sun was shining today so it would soon dry up. Little consolation to me as the first sunny day in Vietnam and I'm stuck in a bus!

The landscape we drove past on the way was unlike anything I had expected. After the endless fields everywhere it turned suddenly into a barren desert! It was unbelievable and made me wish we had chosen to stop here rather than go all the way to Saigon.

This was Mui Ne and it was gorgeous! Huge sand dunes on the one side, where you can go sand sledding, and a beautiful deserted beach on the other. Quite why we didn't stop here I'll never know. If I go back to Vietnam, which is quite likely, then I'll definitely give it the couple of days it deserves.

There is so much of Vietnam that I missed in this mad blitz through a huge country that I think I need to visit again someday to see what it truly has to offer.

After a quick spot of lunch we were back on the bus and motoring on the final few hours to Saigon. I can normally tell within a few minutes whether I will like a city or not and the fact I wasn't instantly enamored by Saigon wasn't a promising sign.

It was raining again and we had to try and find somewhere to stay. Endless hassles from people trying to get us to visit their guesthouses. We ignored them at first but gave up and followed a couple of them. When they disappeared down dark side alleys we said no, something on the main street.

Eventually found somewhere on the main street for you guessed it, $7 again. Quickly went out for dinner and settled on a small place on the street corner with plastic stools. Food was good but we were hassled constantly! 16 times in the hour we were there! Not helping me change my initial view of the city.

I had had enough of Vietnam so we went to our guesthouse and got a few things sorted. Tour for tomorrow, Cambodian visa and bus ticket to Phnom Penh for the following day! Went to a bar on the corner for a couple of drinks and yet more constant hassles to buy books/cigarettes before I gave up and went back to the room.

Something that surprised me about Saigon was the incredible amount of ex pats! Everyone in the area seemed to be working there, which is something I never expected from Vietnam.
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