Thursday, 9 May 2013

Ho Chi Minh City

Determined to outdo the scammers, we walked form the drop-off point to our hostel, which took all of 5 minutes. The 'kind' tuk tuk driver had told us it would be a half-hour walk. Kat and Imy: 2, Scammers: 1. Again we found ourselves in the lap of luxury in our A/C dorm..we could certainly get used to this.

To make the most of our day, we headed for the War remnants museum. On the way, we stopped off down a side alley to sample our first taste of local Vietnamese food. Luckily there was an english-speaking customer on the table next to us who trasnslated our order for the waiter, as he was a little confused by our hand gestures and crys for noodles. We had Pho Bo (a beef noodle soup) - the first of many Phos.

Pho Bo

We made it to the museum in no time due to Kat's skills as a walking GPS system. We raced around it as we only had an hour before it closed. It was another really sad reality of what people had to endure during the Vietnam war and we left with a desire to learn a lot more about the history of the country, so we bought a couple of books from a street vendour - one about the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and one about Vietnam. On closer inspection, it transpired that the books were photocopies of the originals! We wondered why they were so cheap. Kat and Imy: 2, Scammers: 2.


The next morning, we headed on a tour to the Cu Chi tunnels - a network of tiny tunnels that the Viet Cong used to fight the Americans. They were home to twelve thousand people for over two years and  contained kitchens, hospitals and "honeymoon suites".  On the way, we stopped at 'Handicapped Handcrafts'. Not wanting to purchase any giant vases, we sat in the shade and waited to get back on the bus. Our guide was brilliant, and constantly took the mick out of us fat westerners for not being able to fit in the tunnels, while he himself sported quite a gut. He showed us the markings on the trees which were used as a code, so that the Vietnamese would know whether the nearby tunnel was a safe zone or one of their ingenious traps. With a severe lack of weaponry, the Vietnamese had to be creative.

In and our pretty sharpish!

Western-adapted entry point


Teeny tunnels

Our trip to the Cu Chi tunnels also offered us the chance to fire AK47s. Jumping at the chance, we donned big headphones and bought some ammo. We both think we were pretty good aims, but who knows!



That evening we sat on tiny chairs on a bustling backpacker street. We bumped into a Welshman we had met in India who lives in Ho Chi Minh! So we tagged along with him and his pals. After watching them down several buckets of Vodka and Redbull, we declined their kind offer of getting on the back of their mopeds and going to a club, and instead stayed put at a nearby bar. 

Backpacker haven

20p beer!!

Next stop: Mui Ne for some beach time. 

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