Our first night in Ho Chi Minh was Haing, our leader's, last night so we went out for his last meal. We all wrote in a card and gave him a tip. The Canadians gave him a 'Canada' baseball cap. Afterwards we all went out for a few drinks to a bar called Go Go's. It was brilliant; mostly filled with backpackers but also a few locals, prostitutes and ladyboys. It was quite a night. Got back to the hotel at 4am only to find the metal shutters locked, we thought we were going to have to sleep on the street. But luckily we found the doorbell and woke up the security guy who was sleeping in reception.
By this time on my journey I think I am realising that I really don't like the big cities. They are to hectic and crowded, full of crazy motorbike drivers that want to run you over and its really polluted. Give me a beach or small town any day.
After recovering from the drink we went to the Reunification Palace. It was built in 1966 and was where the tanks crashed through the gates when Saigon surrended in 1975. It has been kept exactly like that day. in the evening we met our new leader Huy (pronounced Wee). He is from Hanoi and likes to wear a cowboy hat that makes him look a bit like Indiana Jones.
On Friday we went to Cu Chi tunnels. The tunnels are a few miles outside HCMC and were built be a village to help them fight in the war and also to hide in. The tunnels were really tiny, it looked like they were built for children not for adults. We went down into one and followed it along for a while. When we got out the other side Huy told us that those tunnels had been made bigger for tourists! They still made us feel claustrophobic.
In the afternoon we went on a boat trip to visit the Mekong Delta, a place that has barely changed over thousands of years. We crossed the Mekong in a proper boat then had to get in smaller hand paddled boats to reach our restaurant. They made us wear those conical shaped hats like the locals. Our lunch was a five course feast of local food. I couldn't tell you what I ate and sometimes its best not to ask, but all the same it was tasty. Later, we took a walk around the village which was full of palm trees and tropical fruit trees. Vietnam seems very lush and green, its exactly how I thought Cambodia would look. Except that Cambodia has hardly any trees due to deforestation, most of the land is open space. We went to a hammock bar and had ice cream and loads of fresh fruit like pineapple, dragon fruit, watermelon and a couple of local fruits. All we seem to do on this tour is eat, its great. On the way back to the boat we stopped at a coconut sweet shop and tried warm, fresh coconut fudge. It was so good. We drank some banana wine but it was disgusting.
On Saturday we went to Dam Sen water park. It was the only day that it there was thunder and lightning, but it was still good fun. We thought that we would relax in the lazy river but we forgot that it was Saturday and the whole of HCMC was there. In the end we were splash attacked by all the kids and it was so fullof people that there was a rubber ring pile up.
That night we got the night train to Nha Trang. We had sleeper compartments with four to a cabin, and we were pleased that they weren't as disgusting and scary as we imagined. We made ourselves at home, amd got out our washing lines to dry our clothes on.