Last entry for Vietnam :( Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog

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On the cable car to VinPearl for some VinPearlLand fun. Ok, a pretty lame excuse for a theme park but we were desperate.

Only 1 day in Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon) is probably not doing it justice but I think we got a bit in.  Our 2 evening meals we ate at the local market just out in the middle of all the hustle and bustle.  Great service and fast and cheap.  Probably some of the best meals we’ve eaten and for around $10-$15 for all 3 of us.  It will be hard to go back to the ol’ meat and 3 veg for dinner back home. 

On our one full day in HCM, Lauren went to check out the water park with Margaret and Olly from Sydney, and James and I checked out the war museum with the NZ family.  It was pretty confronting and graphic.  Luckily James was pretty pre-occupied with the tanks and aircraft on display and with Will, the boy from NZ.   My eyes were glassy the whole time and it was really a grounding experience.  The museum is full of pictures and stories of the war.  There is a special area dedicated to the journalists who went missing in Cambodia.

One of the better rides. The chair-o-plane. Awesome views.
  Also, an area to the victims of napalm and the children born with severe deformities from people who were affected by it.  There were even photos of the Citadel in Hue that we toured around with the group only days ago – there is a picture I put on this blog with us all sitting there, on the steps.  Only in this photo it is complete rubble flattened to the ground with trenches and troops scattered throughout.  Certainly not the same Citadel I ignorantly walked around last week.

I never really new too much about the war and still don’t really but the images and stories that I saw and read about today made me realise what a tragic past this country has endured.  There were many schools, kinders and orphanages bombed during the war and to see pictures of it was something I could never have prepared for.  To read about the various forms of torture was something that I realised I just could not do and I moved on to other exhibits.  I walked away wondering what cause could be so worthy to warrant the death of so many kids.  I guess it hit home a little more with me because this is the country where I chose to travel around with my kids.

In the afternoon, we got out of HCM and drove an hour and a half to the Cu Chi Tunnels.

James braves it at Cu Chi Tunnels.
  These are hundreds of kms of tunnels in layers underground where whole villages lived during the period from the 1930’s to the 1970’s when Vietnam was at war against the French and the US.  What the Vietnamese people proved in building this elaborate rabbit warren type maze underground is that not only are they true architectural geniuses but have amazing courage as well.  And they were tiny!  There is a stretch where you can walk 100m through the tunnel.  You go underground in a few levels and it is quite dark, cramped and hot.  I’m telling you this not from personal experience but from what James recalled.  James was the only one in our family brave enough to experience this – along with others in the group.  Lauren and I woosed it.  Lauren took one look and said “nuh-uh”.  I put on a brave face and ventured in only to do a quick retreat back to daylight.  The ingenuity that the Cu Chi people had in creating camouflaged air holes and ventilation away from their village for cooking is remarkable.  The traps that they made above ground around their tunnels to fight the enemy are also quite clever but terribly gruesome.

Health report:  James still has a rash all over but it’s improving.

Lauren follows suit - not to be outdone.
  Lauren keeps looking for a rash so that she can get the sort of attention James has been getting.  We are all covered in bites.  The whole group has them which means we all had bed bugs or they are common mozzie bites – I’m going for the latter.  So far (and I hesitate here, not wanting to jinx ourselves) the kids have done really well proving they have cast iron stomachs which are not susceptible to Asian nasty bugs – even whilst dining in markets.  All in all, pretty damn proud of them....they are tough little critters who’ve proven to be quite adaptable.

Things I will miss about Vietnam:

·        The food, always good.

·        Putting our laundry in a bag and getting it back a few hours later – all clean AND ironed.

One of the gruesome traps.
  Well, sometimes clean.....sometimes “same, same”.

·        Tiger beer.

·        James has just added that he will miss the Vietnamese trucks (no panels – just a frame, engine and 4 wheels)

·        Riding on motorbikes.

Things I am looking forward to when I get home:

·        Brown and multigrain bread.....we’ve only had white here.

·        Fruit other than pineapples, watermelon or lychees.

·        Real orange juice – not Tang.

·        Straight hair!!  And brushing our teeth with tap water, not having to get bottles all the time.

·        Not having to look in 8 different directions when crossing the road (and holding on to James and Lauren whilst dodging motorbikes, cars, buses and cyclos)

·        A cold winter’s day – yep, never thought you’d hear me say that – did you?



wiseone says:
Love the photos and so great to see Lauren and james really enjoying themselves and getting into the spirit of vietnam. You know they are not going to stop talking about this holiday forever..I have enjoyed the journey too. See you soon and take care. nic
Posted on: Jul 22, 2007
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On the cable car to VinPearl for s…
On the cable car to VinPearl for …
One of the better rides.  The chai…
One of the better rides. The cha…
James braves it at Cu Chi Tunnels.
James braves it at Cu Chi Tunnels.
Lauren follows suit - not to be ou…
Lauren follows suit - not to be o…
One of the gruesome traps.
One of the gruesome traps.