We pitched up at the Phnom Penh bus depot to meet the 8.30am bus to Ho Chi Minh City. It's Saigon to you and me and the locals still call it that.
The bus depot is like everything else in Cambodia. It looks like total chaos but there is an order to it.
8.15 the bus arrives and we load our cases and take our seats. There is a driver and a representative. The bus is actually very nice. Air conditioned, reclining seats, toilet and TV. The nice young man in a tie helps us with our paper work and collects our passports etc.
We settle down for the journey. Unlike the last bus trip this is mostly westerners and just a few locals. We know we have 7 hours ahead of us.
I get the feeling the Cambodians don't really like the Vietnamese. The first movie is a Rambo film. Basically Rambo shoots half of Vietnam. I think that is Cambodian humour.
So one movie and a little kip later and we stop at a lunch spot. It's the Cambodian version of a service station. Two lines form. The locals all head for noodles and squid while we head for Pringles and 7UP.
Back on the bus. Eventually we reach the border. Organised chaos reigns again. Jill and I both have management heads on and suggest to each other ways to streamline the system. Still we keep our opinions to ourselves as the border guards don't look like they do humour.
Soon we are in Vietnam. One of our number seems to have disappeared. A grey haired chap who we all saw pass through control but he didn't re-join the bus. Oh well, drive on.
We eventually arrive in Ho Chi Minh City. Named after the revered leader of the war against the Saigon government and the Americans. Our hotel is very nice. It is obvious that there is far more investment in Vietnam than in Cambodia. As our guide says 'its a communist country with a capitalist economy'
Hands up who thinks they've seen traffic congestion.
Sorry but you aint seen nothing like this. Bangkok is manic. Phnom Penh is double manic. Saigon is add the two together, treble it then square it.
There are 8 million people living here and they own 5 million mopeds. It seems they all come out together. It is hard to describe but there are only a couple of road rules.
1.Carry as much as you can on your moped. Today we have seen one with three lives pigs strapped on a rear rack. Another with a passenger holding a car windscreen. Another with the rider having both his arms full of cycle tyres. Oh and he was texting at the same time.
2.If the road is full take to the footpath.
3.You can go the wrong way around a roundabout if its shorter.
4.Red lights are pretty
As for pedestrians its a nightmare. To cross the road you breath in and step out. Forget the green cross man or the Tufty club. Rules are.
2.Try not to stop
3.DO NOT run
4.DO NOT step backwards.
5.Put your hand in the air so mopeds at the back can see you
The idea is you don't try to avoid vehicles, they try and avoid you. Believe me at times it is terrifying.
The city is constant hustle and bustle. Heat and humidity to the accompaniment of car and moped horns. An experience but no place to live.
Last night we had cocktails on the roof terrace of the Rex hotel. This was the CIA HQ during the Vietnam war. Today we went to Cu Chi tunnels. 250kms of underground tunnels where the Viet Cong hid from the Americans. Its a good job they are little. Jill and I went in but some of the larger folk couldn't get through the squeeze. Too many KFC said our guide !!
This afternoon we went for a walk in the city and visited the market. I bought a hammock !!! I know but after some hard haggling I got it for £2.
Tomorrow we are going on a boat down the Mekong Delta. 'I love the smell of napalm in the morning air' Queue the Rolling Stones and Paint it Black.
Tomorrow evening we catch the night bus to Na Trang.
Oh one last thing. 10% of the population here is Catholic so its been Jingle bloody bells everywhere. Ggrrrrrrrrrrr.