Ho Chi Minh City (SaiGon) Feb. 17 & 18

 Union square near Rex hotel Lemongrass restaurant. Metered taxis 22,000 dong to 1US dollar Because there were stormy seas the night of the 16/17th, the captain decided to dock at one of the container ports instead of docking right in the city. I really wanted to see how this ship navigated up what looked like very small channels on a map. There are lots of twists and turns and he didn’t want to chance that with the wind blowing us all over the place. Met up with Kingsley (who lives here in Vietnam in Vung Tau 6 months of the years & 6 months in Victoria), in SaiGon. He introduced us to what essentially is a fruit smoothie….. For about 2 dollars. Then we walked through the back alleys that mostly are used only by the locals. So narrow…like a maze, thousands of wires hanging, overhangs from one side of the alley to the other so close that you almost can’t see the sky. Talk about the electrical wires. At one spot we saw a workman go up a ladder that was leaning I against those wires looking for one particular one and then pulling it out. Not exactly the most safe thing to do but heh, he must know what he is doing …… He is still with us. Then we went into the Ben Thanh market. Another maze. Saw the Notre Dame Cathedral and the post office (designed by Eiffel), had lunch at a food court in a very posh shopping centre. Later we caught the hydrofoil down the river to Vung Tau. The river banks are much like the Amazon …..deserted, jungle lined with palms, roots exposed, brown water but not as brown as the Amazon. The ride was calm until we came to the South China Seas. Very choppy,slamming into the waves, had to slow down. It took almost 2 hours so it was dark when we got there. Too bad…. The place looks gorgeous…. A seaside touristy place …..I’d come back here again. Apparently they have the largest Jesus statue on the mountain. We could just barely see it from the street. It closes at 4 pm. We went to his apartment where Hien and baby Brett and her other son, live. Her father was there too but left shortly. Huge apartment 1500 sq. ft for $250US. Then it was a cab ride to the pier but they wouldn’t allow the cabbie to drive in and so we walked. Made it to back just before the buffet closed….. exhausted. Too exhausted to see the show again.
Feb. 18

I wanted to see the Cu Chi Tunnels but we were too late. Damn!!! Didn’t realize it was a great distance. To get to the city, we have an hour and half shuttle bus ride plus another 1 1/2 hr ride to get there. We leave SaiGon too early to get there and back. So we are just going to wander the city and probably get back early. One thing I will say…. Vietnam generally speaking is not very dirty but Vung Tau is spotless…. well maybe not as clean as Japan. And they are civilized drivers… Stick to their lanes but DO NOT stop for pedestrians. I think I’ve got itthough

….just walk….. not together in a clump. They will drive around you. Just never stop or hesitate. That creates a big problem for them.

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