Overall, I was not a fan of Ho Chi Minh City. If I ever have the chance to go back to Vietnam, I would stay up North and away from big cities. The people were very nice, but it's just not a pretty area. I heard people rave about the food, but I was just not impressed. I know there's more to Vietnam, we just didn't have the time.
Next we had to fly to Manila, Philippines then we had 1 hour to catch a different flight to Siargao. Luckily we landed a little early but we still had to run through he airport in case the passport checking line would be long. It felt like the longest terminal in the world when you're trying to run with a 30lb backpack wearing flip flops. Luckily everything worked out and we made it to the gate with 10 minutes to spare! We had a 1:00 am flight and landed in Siargao at 7:00 am. I can't sleep on planes so I pulled an all-nighter. I think I was also super excited to be going to the beach.
4 July 2017
Today we took a tour to the Mekong Delta. We went to an island and saw a bee farm. Then we tasted some hot tea with the fresh honey, bee pollen and lime. We enjoyed some local fruit while listening to the natives perform traditional Vietnamese music. They also sang "If you're happy and you know it." which was pretty cute. Next we stopped by a place where they make fresh coconut candy. Then we hopped on motor bike wagon and he took us to a local restaurant where we ate spring rolls, vegetable soup, fried rice and fish rolls. The place had all kinds of animals like exotic birds, snakes, alligators, frogs, and huge porcupines. I was very nervous eating any kind of meat in Vietnam because I really couldn't be sure what animal it came from.
We then stopped the fishing farm which was nothing special and not sure why we went there.
Upon returning to Ho Chi Minh, we found a really cute restaurant called The Secret Garden. Food was OK but the atmosphere was cool.
We did a half day tour to Cu Chi Tunnels, where the Vietnam Cong would hide during the Vietnam war. It was interesting to see. It's amazing how they built the tunnels and their tools. Of course it was set up as a tourist attraction but it was sad to think about all the people who died there.
When we were walking around, this guy carrying a pole with his ice chest and coconuts started talking to us. He told Eddie to carry his stuff for him which we thought was funny. Then he was like Ok I'll give you a drink. We thought he was just being really nice and offering a free one. Then as he handed them out, he charged us $7!!! In Vietnam, that's a lot of money for a coconut drink. We can get a good meal and drink for $3.
We went down backpacker alley that evening. It was lines with bars and restaurants blaring really bad American dance/ pop music. We found a hostel with a rooftop bar and watched all the young backpackers party. Those used to be the days.
3 July 2017
We went to the big market where they sell everything from animal organs (brain, heart, etc..) to fake Prada bags. Then we went to the Reunification Palace. It was the place where the last American soldiers were picked up from the Vietnam War. Now it's just a big building with nicely decorated rooms for sitting.
Once I got to the hotel and took a shower, I fell asleep while waiting for my friends to arrive. They got in around 11 pm and were ready to explore, so I dragged myself out bed. First impressions of Ho Chi Minh is not so good. It's really dirty and smelly. We walked by a few food places that were washing their dishes in buckets on the sidewalk. Some people were even having what seemed like picnics on the sidewalks. I'm open to different cultures but sanitary issues make me nervous. Eddie was brave and bought some street food, which was just a boiled egg. But when he bit into it, it was very different. He spit it out right away and said it was horrible. We looked it up, and it was actually a fertilized duck embryo. 🤢
We shall see what tomorrow brings...
After a 10 hour flight from Istanbul, I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon), Vietnam. I arranged a ride from the airport with my hotel, so there was a guy holding a sign with my name waiting for me. He put me in a car with his driver and off I went. The ride was very interesting. I was pretty sure we were going to crash into a moped at least 50 different times. There were people driving mopeds while holding a baby! 😳 And I thought kids without seat belts was bad. Apparently, it's also Ok for kids to pee right in the middle of the sidewalk. I saw that a few times. So the guy who was driving finally came to stop. He got out of the car and looked around then said yeah your hotel is up the street around the corner. OK, not sure why you're dropping me off here, but I guess it's fine. So I take off on foot and turn where he said but don't see the hotel. I walk into another hotel and ask them. The guy points me in the opposite direction. I finally arrive tired and hot