Hi all, thought I'd do a quick post in our last couple of hours in Saigon (update ... I'm completing this post over a week after we have left)
On Saturday we were just basically finding our surroundings until we were to meet up with the group at 6pm. What better way to do it than trying to find the cheapest beer or bia as it is known in Vietnam. The first place we decided to try was the Alez Boo bar which was a reccomendation in the Lonely planet book. Here the local beer was the equivalent of about $2 a bottle. Across the road I spotted a sign where it was maybe $1.50 so we decided to go there. That place seemed a little sketchy though. A seedy Australian guy was introducing himself as Mark and basically propositioning women to come back to his hotel. In the end we wound up at a little joint where they were advertising 5000 dong beer - less than 30 cents! We met up with, and had a great time with two guys from Argentina and a guy from Holland. His aim for the next 12 months was to travel throughout Asia livng on a shoestring budget and drinking beer - not a bad life I reckon! There was also a few Australians there having a great time with the locals and we chatted to them for a bit. The great time we had here resulted in us being a little bit late for the first group meeting - maybe not the best impression - late and a little bit tipsy. There is six people in our group. A couple, Rebecca and Tyler from Perth, Kate from Adelaide and Holly and Danielle from Melbourne (originally from NZ). The group decided to go to dinner together on recommendation from our tour leader - Mr Minh. During the dinner a lady came around selling roses which were about 50c - I made sure Pat didn't buy one cos really, what am I going to do with a rose in a hotel room? The girl was very persisent and after about 10 minutes she finally got the idea that we would not be buying it. She used lines like 'don't you love her?' and 'you cheap Charlie' and in the end called him an ugly dinosaur (WTF???). It was actually quite amusing.
On day 2 of our tour we made a 70km journey (which took a little under 2 hours) to the Cu Chi tunnels. These tunnels were amazingly thought out and constructed by the VC people to plan attacks and hide from the enemy. We actually got to crawl though some of the tunnels - quite small that Pat actually had to crawl but I could manage to walk (crouched down though). It was extremely hot in there and sweat was dripping off me when we got out. The network of tunnels apparently spans about 250km - I can in no way imagine travelling even 1km but I guess it desperate situations you do whatever is required. At the tunnels location you are given the opportunity also to shoot a range of guns and bullets. You can hear the shots over the whole tourist area and every time a shot went off I jumped. Pat and I decided to share shooting an AK47. I've never shot a gun before so was surprised by how loud it was (even with ear plugs in) and how powerful it is to shoot a gun. That was an awesome experience. I have bought a little replica bullet lighter keyring thing - not sure if it will get through immigration but we will try at least! Early afternoon we returned to HCMC and went to an Aussie themed sports bar to catch the last half of the NRL grand final.On the way to the Blue Gecko bar where we watched the footy I spotted a line of shops I wanted to visit so we thought we had our bearings and set off on foot to find these shops. We somehow managed to get a little confused and got slightly lost but were guided by the park which was opposite our hotel. That park has free-to-use fitness equipment so we had a go mixing with the locals. We had an early night that night. Our final day in Saigon was spent bargaining hard at the Ben Tahn market - I picked up a diamond rolex and Pat got some clothes. It is not something I'd like to spend my life doing - it's hard work just to buy a t-shirt! The other thing that I was finding hard was that in Vietnam I am not considered small. One of the ladies at the market yelled out 'hello miss, we have your size ... XL' I was MORTIFIED!!!
Hope everyone is well! I miss opping!
Over and Out XOXO