Thursday, December 14, 2006

Vietnam - Saigon

Well, after a long plane ride and 3 movies for me later we arrived at vietnam (Ho Chi Minh) airport - For the record, dont bother watching John Tucker must die, its a shocker!! We braved the large amount of people waiting in immigration to get in, somehow ended up at the back of the queue and after waiting a fair while we all made it into vietnam. No cavity searches either!! First setback came at the baggage carousel. Our backpacks werent there. Speaking to our first proper Vietnam contact (and he gets mad props for how good he was) revealed that our baggage only made it to Bangkok. The lady in melbourne fobbed us off and told us it was going all the way thru. Anyway he worked some magic and so it was on the next plane and would be dropped off at our guesthouse later on in the arvo (we got in around 11).

So we were picked up by Shane (Anje's cousin), his wife Nhung (sp?) and their son Sam at the airport. Weaving our way through our first encounter with crazy traffic and we arrived at what shall be dubbed the backpacker district of Saigon and our place called the Yellow House. Reasonably clean with shower and beds etc... Oh and free breakfast!!!!

Claire and I out the front of our first nights accomodation

Few things about Vietnam...

The people will go out of their way to make you happy. Almost feel like royalty. Traffic is crazy. Supposedly the city of 8 million contains 3 million motor bikes. I believe there is more than one for every person. Crossing the road is hell. Took as a little while to get used too. Tips we received were to close your eyes and then walk but you just have to make sure you dont rapidly change direction and you are safe. The traffic expects you to move in one direction and will swerve behind you if you are in their way. We got that down. See below for early attempts. Telephone lines look like they dont actually do repairs but rather just add a new line if there is anything wrong with an existing line. Kind of looks like Telstra to me. :D

After wandering aimlessly for a while we were takin our for dinner by Shane to a restaurant in the markets. It amazed me how quickly a hardware store that took up most of the footpath and some of the street could turn into a restaurant at night.

Next night we visited shanes place. Humble house for someone who earns a very decent wage but that seems to be the norm in Vietnam. Eat and sleep on the floor of the family room and then a kitchen and bathroom. Also ate out that night (monday I think) at a very nice restaurant on the footpath and drank snake wine. Interesting spirit that is left to brew in vats with snakes and other assorted animals.

The next day we all piled into a van and headed out to Nhung's grandma's place. What would be considered a hamlet, a few hours drive from Saigon.

Stupid thing wont let me add more images so ill create a new post with other ones in it...

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