Sleepless In Sai Gon
Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog› entry 7 of 11 › view all entries
December 17th, 2007 – by: fayebe0
I'd been looking forward to a nice lie in but the city of Sai Gon won't let you sleep past 6/7am...I still bloody well tried. When I did get up I decided to venture out on to the streets to see what I could find and hopefully find an ATM along the way.
There are somethings in life that if you can survive then you know you can survive anything. One of those things is crossing a road in Sai Gon where pedestrian traffic lights are non existant and hordes of bikes ride on the left and right side of the road in any direction. I was told just to walk at a nice, quick pace and they'll avoid you, easier said than done when you're facing a wide road and 30 of them are shooting past at any one moment.
After having sweated the majority of my sun tan cream off my face I was in need of some shade and wondering how to stand under a tree inconspicuously. When at a cafe type vendor some people said hello , waved me over and sat me down. The man spoke some English while the 2 women spoke only Vietnamese. They gave me a cool drink and having been told that nothing in Vietnam is free I pointed out I had no money and I was on my way to a bank, but they insisted I have the drink despite my broke-ness. We talked a little, the man translating what he understood to the women, I told them I was meeting a friend later, one women assumed this was my boyfriend, indicating this by pressing the tips of her index fingers together - no I said, just a friend, but I don't think she believed me.
Before I got up to go, the man told me the women wanted some souveniers (nothing is for free in Vietnam - once again sprang into my mind) the one lady taking an interest in my watch the other in my sunglasses, asking me how much I paid for them. The sunglasses were passed round the group, tried on by all including an elderly lady with less teeth than a retired boxer, a brilliant look, I only wish I had got a photo of it but didn't want to risk my camera coming under the spotlight as well. I politely told them I needed them but they could have my braclet I was wearing, they weren't interested in the wooden jewlery so I thanked them for the drink and said goodbye, grateful for the rest.
Having gotten no closer to finding money and starting to suffer from the midday heat I headed back to the hotel. To a room where the air conditioning blows out as much cold air as I do and a fan pushing warm air around - but it's out of the sun and that's fine by me.
I was noticed far more here than I have been anywhere else, which is not surprising as in my 1 1/2 hour jaunt out on the streets I saw no other Westener melting in the sun.
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