Wednesday, June 7, 2006

war of the wills

I arrived in Vietnam yesterday to heat, mobs of people, and taxi drivers trying to scam me. Luckily, I got into the city without losing too much money on the taxi. Unluckily, I picked a cylco driver who was out to get my money. At any rate, I started my touring around. Surprisingly, Ho Chi Min is pretty much void of things to see. I got downtown at noon and was done by 3pm.

Hindu Temple: not as impressive as Lonely Planet claims.

War Remnents Museum:
Although this museum does a good job of showing the horrors of war, I felt it was lacking in any explanation of why the war was started and how the people of Vietnam were going to do anything to prevent wars in the future, other than have children draw pictures saying “Peace.” I particularly liked the exhibit on war photographers, multi-national reporters who lost their lives to show the world what war really looks like.

Reunification Palace: Preserved just as it was on the day the tank broke through the front gates, 1960’s furniture, rotary phones, cement bunkers and all. It was here that I met David, a Candadian at the end of his four month tour of the world. We chatted throughout the tour of the palace, had lunch at a wonderful sandwhich shop, and he introduced me to the place I bought my bus tickets. He also showed me the wonders of Vietnamese laquerware, which I only avoided buying because I have no room in my bag at this time.

I spent the rest of the evening hanging out with David, eating a vegetarian dinner, drinking some beers, and walking around Ho Chi Min City. As a city, it’s not much different from Bangkok or Beijing, except for one thing: the motorbikes. Waves and waves of motorbikes. It is completely true that if you don’t just step slowly out into traffic and trust they won’t hit you, you won’t ever make it across the road.

At 8pm I boarded the night bus to Nha Trang, by 6am I was watching the Vietnamese enjoy their morning swim at the beach, and here I am at 8am sitting in an internet cafe waiting for my B0at Trip to Four Different Islands with Snorkeling to get on its way. Tonight I get on another night bus to Hoi An (yes, this will be the third night in a row in which I do not sleep in a bed), where I will sit on the beach some more, hopefully while beautiful yet cheap clothing will be tailored for me.

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