Tuesday, 29 November 2011


From the very punny title of this post you would be right in guessing we decided to come straight to Saigon and spend our last week in the city.

Although we did have an extra day in Can Tho and spent it riding around the town on bicycles, having a little look around. And as a welcome to the south we found a little cafe in a little corner of Can Tho where the proprietors were extremely friendly and eager for us to enjoy our coffees and even brought us some odd peanut/chilli/salt mix to go with our strawberries. We found real Vietnamese people! After being in Asia for 2 months that is way more exciting than it sounds on paper.

Anyway, Saigon.

We thought we would get really bored being here for 8 days but actually the time has flown by....and we leave tomorrow!

On our first day we dove straight into war history with visits to the Reunification Palace (the building whose gates were crashed through by North Vietnamese tanks when the South surrendered on April 30th 1975) and had a look around the 70's decor that hasn't changed since that historical day. We then visited the War Remnants Museum, which holds a horrifying photographical account of the war (from the side of the North Vietnamese, so a little biased against the Americans). That was depressing.

The control rooms of the 1970's.

The next day we concluded the war tourism aspect of the city with a trip to Cu Chi tunnels, one part of the VietCong tunnel system that stretched on for more than 200km (when you remember this was dug completely by hand and mostly at night, it becomes more incredible). We looked at some booby traps and listened to the stories of a veteran from the South. Will fired an AK-47 and crawled through the claustrophobic tunnel for 120m (I opted to stay above ground because I definitely would have had some sort of major freak out being in a tiny, cramped, boiling hot nightmare...I'm a wuss).

I can't really remember exactly what else we did this week....but I know we had a look at the Fine Arts Museum, which was lovely even though we were hungover. We did a lot of sitting by the river and sitting in cafes. We elevatored to the top of a large new financial building to gaze at Saigon from the Sky Deck.

We were ripped off at the tourist market, had a picnic in the park and met some young Vietnamese students who were eager to practice English. We were told by a policeman that we shouldn't sit underneath a tree in the park in case a branch fell down and hit us. After which we had to cross the road by wading straight into two busy lanes of traffic speeding in both directions. Ahhh, Asia.

We ate a lot of delicious soup. We drank a lot of cheap beer. We did some shopping and a lot of walking. We visited the zoo and we went to the movies- go see Tower Heist, it's hilarious. Like this photo...this is what happens when you are constantly being harrassed by people selling things you reall don't want to buy.

Yesterday we decided to have a break from the pace of the city so we caught a bus out to the closest beach (2 hours away). It was nice though, to have a swim and escape the heat and the noise of Saigon- Will and I were walking down a road the other day talking, and we were halfway through a conversation before we realised we were both yelling in order to be heard above the noise of constant traffic. We caught a boat back to Saigon after a long walk along the ocean in and being quickly transported to Rio de Janiero via the giant Jesus atop the small coastal mountain in Vung Tau.

And that about brings us to now....our last minute shopping is finished, we have visited all we want to visit and we are having a bit of a relax before going back to work next week. Ugh.

This is the end of our Turkish/Asia story of 2011, but I think to cap things off nicely I will write one more post explaining our favourite trip in jokes, so when we come home and crack up over bizarro things, you won't think we are idiots.

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