Hot & Hectic Ho Chi Minh City

I haven’t had someone hold my hand to help me cross the street since I was seven years old. Well, until now.

Apparently concerned by our lack of experience crossing several lanes of traffic in Ho Chi Minh, a lovely middle aged lady took my hand, put it on her wrist and with a smile guided us across the busy road to safety. All the while making sure I was also under the shade of her umbrella.

This wasn’t really necessary but we did appreciate the kind gesture as the traffic in Ho Chi Minh is as crazy as everyone says it is. There are literally motorbikes and scooters everywhere but we’ve learnt that as long as you walk at a consistent speed people will generally go around you.

The people of Vietnam are very friendly. Of course, they usually want something from you. An enjoyable chat will undoubtedly end in some sales pitch. The one time we were more than happy to give someone what they wanted was a delightful young girl who was after someone to practice her English with. Funnily enough one of her first questions was what we thought of the traffic in her city.

It goes without saying that not everyone is as lovely and our guesthouse staff were quick to point this out. Upon arrival they sat us down in their living room to explain how to barter, how not to get robbed, where to eat, what to see and how to avoid being scammed by taxi drivers. Unfortunately, it was too late for that last one. Within five minutes of arriving we had jumped in a cab with a dodgy meter and were taken the long way.

Luckily for us our guesthouse was within walking distance of most places we wished to see. The first of which was the War Remnants Musuem, formerly known as the Musuem of American War Crimes. It was both brilliant and disturbing. In terms of a depressing day out it was on par with Cambodia’s Tuol Sleng Musuem and the Killing Fields. What made this musuem so moving was the number of photographs on display. From soilders posing with dead bodies, to crying families and victims of Agent Orange, which is still affecting many people today. It was truly horrific and I’ve included a plaque below to give you an idea of the atrocities committed.

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The following day was a more pleasant experience. Once it got started that is. We set a new pb in the waiting for a tour to commence category. The tour was due to leave at 8 am and instead left at 9.20 am. Apparently, our had bus broken down so we finally crammed into a much too small minibus for a 1.5 hour ride to the Mekong Delta.

Once we arrived it was a short boat ride across the Mekong to visit a coconut candy workshop and bee farm where we were able to try a royal jelly and pollen tea. Both were quite tasty.

After lunch we strolled through the local market and jumped aboard a smaller boat for a ride through the water coconut palms. All in all it was ok. Maybe we’ve been a bit spoilt recently but in hindsight our time might have been better spent visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels. Oh well.

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Finally, if you think I’ve made it through a post without documenting what we’ve eaten then yes you’re right, but only because Vietnamese cuisine will be getting a post all to itself. It’s that good!

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