Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog

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Water puppet

So here we are in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) back in the busy traffic, noise and pollution that the weeks since Hanoi have released us from. It was such a strange experience as the bus from Mui Ne started to get into built up areas. We both looked at each other with shared apprehension and once we had settled into our hotel we concluded that we felt like country dwellers visiting the big scary city for the first time!

Unfortunately you all too soon forget that a quiter life does exist and the honking horns, motorbike engines, begging and shouts to have you buy things rapidly become background to daily life again.

We now have the dubious please of being stuck here for the next eight days!! All the way down when we enquired about visa extensions we were told it takes one day and in fact it does if you get them in Nha Trang or Hue but come into HCMC and the standard 30 day visa extension takes 1 week!! Can you believe it the one place we really didn't want to spend any time and we're stuck here for a week!!!

Determined to make the best of it we have arranged a couple of day trips out of town which we'll write up separately.

Steph and a giant water puppet
HCMC has a few attractions of its own to offer and we went to the War Remnants museum which houses photographic exhibits of the "War of American Aggression" as what we in the west know as the Vietnam War is correctly called here. Again the propoganda is quite heavy although not as bad as some places we have been. The photos are simply amazing, horrific, disgusting, disturbing and induce countless other emotions all at the same time. You can't walk out of there without understanding that there are no winners in any war. The suffering still goes on with the lingering after effects of the millions of gallons of toxic chemicals and defoliants such as Agent Orange that the Americans used on the Vietnamese people continue to result in malformed babies and seeing the exhibition goes a long way to explaing the extraordinary number of people you see with physical disabilities here in Vietnam.
Water puppet show

On a much lighter note we were given a couple of free tickets to the Water Puppet theatre by the super friendly lady who runs the hotel we are staying in (Guesthouse 70). We almost certainly wouldn't have bothered going if the tickets were free thinking it would be a bit rubbish. It was actually excellant and very skillful. As with all puppet shows the humour is aimed at the juvenile but that doesn't mean it's not funny. Being largely visual the jokes aren't lost in translation either. The musical accompanyment is traditional Vietnamese which can be both beautiful and shocking at the same time. Still we'd thoroughly recommend it. 

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Water puppet
Water puppet
Steph and a giant water puppet
Steph and a giant water puppet
Water puppet show
Water puppet show
Adam and a giant water puppet
Adam and a giant water puppet