Saturday 2 June 2018

Ho Chi Minh City i

Formerly known as Saigon and the capital of South Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam with over 8 million inhabitants. It is a city full of history, culture and motorbikes / scooters. They also have a Stark Tower!

But first, let's rewind.

The journey to Vietnam consisted of two flights: SYD - BKK, followed by BKK - SGN. A transfer time of 2.5 hours seemed adequate until I realised that the first flight was consistently late.

The first flight was delayed by an hour and we were also sitting in the third last row (bloody Qantas and the inability to select seats). Many many years ago when I was running from security to the gate in Germany, I realised that I could never be a contestant on the Amazing Race. I can confirm that that is still the case. We legged it from the plane to immigration, to check in counter and back through immigration with 20 minutes before boarding commenced. Phew.

Sixteen hours of travelling later, we arrived in Vietnam.

10 000₫ (AUD $0.60) - bánh mì

First attraction of the day was the War Remnants Museum. There were a handful of reviews online that described the place as propaganda against America. In all honesty, I would like to understand how a museum about the Vietnam War could ignore the atrocities that did happen as a result of US decisions. The most haunting and uncomfortable exhibit contained photographs of the victims of Agent Orange. The deformities that affected not only the individuals at the time of the war but also individuals from subsequent generations.

Evidence of the French colonisation - colourful colonial buildings- is prevalent throughout the city.

During the course of the day, we mastered the art of crossing the busy roads - walk at a slow and steady pace as the bikes simply go around you. We walked a lot. Oh, and I sweated like never before.

Venturing outside of the main area, past the "Stark Tower" and across the river, we found a food vendor selling bánh tráng nướng.

10 000₫ (AUD $0.60) - grilled rice paper roll with quail egg, dried shrimp, spring onion and pork mince

After a well deserved break in the hotel for a few hours, we ventured out for dinner to a highly rated eatery. This was the first and only time we were "scammed" / over charged in Vietnam. An additional 4000₫ was charged simply because I didn't get a meal and sat on one of the chairs. Hmm. In the grand scheme of things, 4000₫ was not significant but it did leave us with a bitter taste.

44 000₫ (AUD $2.55) - bún chả

Thankfully, the cơm tấm we randomly found on the way back to the hotel lifted our moods. Incredibly delicious and cheap!

25 000₫ (AUD $1.45)- grilled pork chop with broken rice

Day 2 - 11 May 2018

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