Sunday, November 26, 2006

Ho Chi Minh City - Saigon

Yes, we are in Saigon, having arrived yesterday afternoon. A big, bustling city where the roads are constantly full of motorbikes and cyclos, a few cars and more motorbikes. This is the first impression which the city gives.

We were droppped off in the backpacker area, and we had to groan when we saw all the white faces sitting outside the western-style bars, with their Tiger beer and contraband T shirts, but relaxed soon enough when we found a quite guesthouse (airco, fridge and sattelite TV) in an alley off the main road, run by some nice Vietnamese women.

I am afraid the first evening ended later than expected after I bumped into the three Irish lads and English girl who had been on the tour with us from Phnom Penh in the street and they asked me top join them for a beer (or two or three....).

So, a nice quite day today, mostly spent organising the rest of the trip with the efficient people of Sihn Cafe (thank you Uncle Malcolm, we found them to be very efficient) such that our plans are now as follows:

tomorrow - the Cu Chi tunnels
Tuesday - flight to Da Nang, transfer to Hoi An
Friday - night train to Hanoi
Thursday - night train to Sa Pa, for three days trekking in the mountains
Monday (11th) - back in Hanoi
Tuesday (12th) - late-ish flight to Kuala Lumpur
Saturday (16th) - late-ish flight to Bangkok
Tuesday (19th) - late-ish flight back to Amsterdam

We met some lads - English, Irish and Scottish (!) who had been in the north and were raving about it, particularly the old quater of Hanoi, which seems to be a better tourist proposition than Saigon, with the added bonus of the rock formations of Ha Long Bay in the vicinity, so we are glad we are giving ourselves the time up there.

We would have liked to have gone up to Da Lat, in the mountains here in the south, but we do not really have that much time to make a proper job of it, so we decided on the flight to Hoi An/Hue.

This afternoon, we visited the War Remnants Museum, which had many exhibits showing the horrors of the American War, here in Vietnam. A lot of it was very shocking and was all-in-all an excellent monument to the fallen, albeit in need to moderisation.

In the meantime, Chelsea have equalised against Man U.



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