Flight to Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog› entry 171 of 206 › view all entries
Arrived at Bangkok at 3am, bleary-eyed, tired, cold. We hunted for comfy chairs but they were all taken by other sleeping passengers curled up under their coats. We found the end of a seat and Zoe left me with ear plugs in, listening to the faint sound of the piped Thai elevator music, arms thrown over the baggage trolley, where I slept relatively peacefully for 3 hours. It was still dark when she woke me, and we were cold so we had pots of tea in the Sky Lounge before beginning to explore for lack of anything else to do. Around breakfast time we discovered the food corridor, and then discovered just how cheap it was to eat. Forthwith we ate our weight in crab salad, garlic and pepper pork, meringue sundaes, chocolate velute and chocolate mint cake. And all for US$10.
Finally we were allowed to check in around 2pm and we got to go airside.
The flight was short, and we arrived spaced out with tiredness around 7pm local time. Zoe had a bit of stress over picking up her visa, but we got out eventually and began the first negotiations to locate the 152 bus that supposedly shuttles people from the airport. The taxi drivers tried to convince us that it was no longer running, and though both of us longed for the convenience of a taxi, we were both so afraid of being ripped off that we refused their persistant offers of a lift. Eventually though we became so harrassed that we allowed one driver to take us for an agreed price, but not before having to literally pull our trolley from the arms of another driver trying to drag us to his car.
Though our heads were fuzzy with the travel, the first sights and sounds of the city were a marvel. Hundreds of motorscooters carrying couples, familiies, friends sped all around the car, weaving in and out of us and each other, squeezing through gaps missing each other by barely a hairs breadth, veering round traffic pulling out, cars and bikes and buses all honking at each other to move. At corners our traffic mixed with the oncoming traffic, everyone going in every drection, crossing each other, honking and honking. The roundabout was the most astonishing thing with everyone slowing down, speeding up, brake lights flashing, crossing into each other's lanes - what lanes!?
He dropped us on Pham Ngo Lao, the backpacker central of Saigon and we discovered soon that the hotel we were aiming for had closed down. We wandered up and down the neon lit street, dodging motorcycles and vendors, trying not to look like bloody tourists and failing miserably. We veered into 'Minihotel Alley' and found another hotel from the book, Bee Saigon, which had hot water (this was a notable addition to the description), free internet, free breakfast, air con and hairdryers. We agreed to a double room at the top of a 4 story building housing a busy downstairs restaurant and settled into our funny little room with its wood panelling and tiled faux window, woven blinds concealing wall, pretend roof over-hanging the ensuite bathroom space and the quarter trunk of a pretend tree with plastic leaves in the corner over the bed. I don't have to tell you that after the most cursory of bedtime ablutions we both dropped like a stone into bed and were asleep by 9.30pm.