Impressions of Saigon
I'm in an internet cafe in Pham Ngu Lao, the backpackers location of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. Sensory overload so I'll just jot down some brief images that remain. There are motorbikes everywhere. It's an national obsession to honk. Of a population of 8 million in this city, nearly half own bikes. Some things I've seen being transported on two wheels rather skillfully: a washing machine, a 12 ft ladder, at least 5 slabs of granite about 6 ft long. Nobody wear helmets here. It's caps & hats, and masks & hankerchiefs around the mouth.
Food is yummy. Had 'pho' (beef noodle soup) twice already, delicious Romano pizza, duck l'orange & crepe suzette at Augustin last night, crispy Vietnamese spring rolls at Restaurant 19 the night before.......juicy swimming crab grilled to perfection.
Some eventful things. While crawling in the Cu Chi tunnels yesterday, I thought the old fellow in front of me was going to have a coronary heart attack. The tunnel was only 20m long but he couldn't take it. It was pitch black and possible to navigate either on all fours, or duck walking. Tim was crawling behind me and taking photos of my behind. Tsk. Those tunnels are something else. A testament to willpower and determination to live. Very ingenious. There are three levels - 3m, 5m and 10m.
Today, we went to check out Diamond Plaza. There was a elderly lady that fell backwards on the escalator. Think it was her first time. Yesterday we went to Ben Thanh market. Reminds me of Chatuchak in Bangkok, though not as big and with concrete floors. Rows and rows of street stalls. Tim is doing more shopping than me. It just gives me a heachache really.
One last image before I sign off. Bottles and bottles of snake wine. I find myself staring morbidly at the various snakes bottled in there. Always the requisite cobra standing straight up giving me the eye. Bleh.