Lets take this gig global!!
Hello to you all. Well after another quality flight )really impressed with Singapore airlines so far) and an easy 1 hour we arrived safe and sound in Ho Chi Minh or Saigon as the locals seem to call it. After the most stringent customs and visa checks so far we got a taxi into town at about 9am so it was literally 'good morning Vietnam'!! First off I was really surprised to see how developed Ho Chi is and is alot more modern than I expected. We have stayed in a nice guesthouse down a back alley in the popular backpacker area of Pham Ngu Lao which is really happening at any hour of the day. We've spent three days here and I've loved every minute of it. The people are unbelievably friendly and so sincere. They greet you in the street like a long lost friend and even when they are trying to sell something a simple and polite 'no thankyou' is greeted by 'ok' and nod of the head. And its true that a smile goes a long way here, a cheeky smile to the people, especially the children, is returned with a beaming, warm grin!! To be fair we havent seen a great deal of the city though. The first day we found our place which took a while and lossed about half our body fat in sweat lugging our stuff around in the seering humidity!! After a much needed shower we wandered around and just took it in really. Yesterday we checked out the Reunification Palace which was more of a 'tick the box' job really and nothing too special then in the arvo we headed to the War Remnants museum which was as expected really with some brutal photos and interesting details about the American War although it was alot smaller than I imagined. Today we have been to the Cu Chi tunnels after a supposed stop off but more of a de+tour to the Codai )not sure on the spelling) Holy City and temple which was interesting as its a fusion of loads of religions from Buddism, Taoism, catholicism and a few more. WE got to watch the daily 12 noon ceremony which was pretty weird to be honest as they are all downstairs deep in meditation while all the tourists are up on balconies going snap happy crazy. Kind of a strange contrast and it somehow didnt feel quite right. The Cu Chi tunnels were awesome and defo worth a visit.You see alot of famous sights on the way too. Its unbelievable how small the tunnels are and the two open to the public have had to be more than doubled in size for us porky westerners to fit in!! and its still a hands and knees job!! One of the best parts of today tho was our tour guide Taho )again not sure on the spelling) or as he put it 'I eat like a bird, drink like a fish and smoke like a chimney and yet I still stay wafer thin.....so my friends/ drinking buddies call me Slim Jim'! So it was Jim from there on in. His English was really good along with all his info on everywhere we went and passed and delivered with unteachable humour! He was a bit of a character to say the least and im sure that someone must have given him a book on cockney rhyme and slang for xmas!! Another reason to love Vietnam is the food! Again it is dirt cheap, maybe even cheaper than India, and the menus are huge and most of what we've eaten so far has been awesome! Mum you would love all the noodle soups and rice dishes! Packed with lemon grass, coriander chillis etc. The beer is about 65p for a big bottle of Tiger too so a few of them have been washed down along the way!!! We are off on our trip up the east coast tomorrow morning which I cant wait for. Its supposed to be a really scenic route and looking forward to getting back to the beach too which is our first stop in the arfternoon. In this heat its gonna be great to exercise and get a full on bead on then cool off in the surf after!! Gotta keep the tan topped up too! So loving Vietnam so far, hopefully I'll update you all soon on our beach antics and with the internet just 20p an hour I think the budget can just about make it!! Take it easy Dan