First Day in Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog

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Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon, as it is known to oldtimers and Americans, is quite the city. When I read about it, I was expecting big, loud and ugly, yet exciting... I was 3/4 correct. It is big, loud and exciting, and an absolute onslaught of color. Something about it is incredibly gorgeous.

I was also warned of lots of thieves and ripoffs, though I have fallen victim to neither yet, aside from being overcharged about 20 cents for an authentic Vietnamese sandwich, which, it turns out, is actually a baguette.

Yeah, guys, ya know the food in Olympia isn't authentic Vietnamese food, right? It's almost there, but it lacks one thing - french-style bread to dip in the curries. Without that, it ain't Vietnamese.

I got picked up at the airport for free, to start with. The second I got out of the taxi at my hotel, I was greeted cheerfully by the hotel manager and by a moto driver who hangs around by our hotel. I was shown to the room, and Eric greeted me, and we sat down and caught up for awhile, before heading out for a snack. The moto driver brought a friend and said he'd show us around downtown. We had a blast. They showed us the market, a Chinese temple, and, perhaps most importantly, a really nice bar favored by the locals, with far cheaper prices than any of the tourist bars. We enjoyed a nice chat with cold beer, french bread and something that I am going to hell for eating.

The sunset was freakin' magnificent, and we enjoyed it while flying through the insane torrent of motorbikes that is Vietnamese traffic.

The moto drivers said we could pay whatever. We both payed about 15 USD for the evening. I would've been willing to pay more. 10 USD is standard if you're good at haggling, but these guys are worth extra as far as I'm concerned. We have new friends.
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