Hanoi to Bangkok - my 2008 adventure! travel blog

The fall of Saigon began here

Introduction lecture for the Cu Chi tunnels

Ways to trap the enemy

Saigon at night - it is a huge city.

Not everyone can afford classy office space!

"War Remnants Museum"

Early morning in the park

We flew out from Da Nang, but not without having to walk across the bridge to our bus because road construction had closed the road to the island where the hotel was. It was pretty funny seeing our luggage arrive from the hotel to the bus by motorbike!

Saigon is noisy, but the traffic is very controlled by comparison with Hanoi, even though they say that there are more that 3 million motorcycles in this city. The streets are wide, and it could be any 300 years old European city populated by Vietnamese! We ate tonight ate a street cafe - literally set up in the street after 5pm. Another feast of prawns, egg roll, rice and morning glory stems fried with garlic (listed on the menu as "glory weed with garlic")

The other exciting thing to be happening here is happening at the hotel across the street - the 2008 Miss Universe contest preparations! The men are all eyes!

Sunday today - as we commented on the large number of motorbikes on the street our guide accompanying us to the underground tunnels of the Viet Cong at Cu Chi mentions it was Sunday and the traffic light! Now there are estimated to be 5 million motorbikes and 1 million cars in Saigon. The average Vietnamese earn about $8,000 a year, needs about $600 a month to live in the city, so even the cheapest bike at $2,000 is quite pricy. We drove past garden center after garden center specializing in bonsai, then out in the countryside we drove through huge plantations of rubber trees. The sap is collected in the early morning, so my wish to see the sap running was not to be. Cu Chi is amazing and depressing. Living in tunnels to avoid detection, being bombed when land incursions lost too many US troops, seeing the nasty traps used to kill walking US soldiers. Then back to the "War Remnants Museum" here in Saigon, where more evidence of the many ways that humans torture and kill one another was on display, mainly in photographs. One can walk for miles in a big city! I headed off to see the Saigon River next, but apart from a few sections it is a "commercial" river. In another 20 years they will probably beautify it for tourists and the local people, as they are doing in Sacramento right now. Another hot day, and it is a while since we saw any rain. Late in the afternoon the wind kicked up and some clouds gathered, but nothing more. It is low season for tourism, mainly because of the heat and rain, but there seem to be plenty of us around even so.

There is an awful lot of food cooked on the street - today not only were women cooking waffles (smelled delicious), but they also had thin sheets consisting of thin slices of banana. I was truly tempted. The most common items are rice with the odd bean thrown in, and noodle soup.

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