Thursday, February 4, 2010

Vietnamese Coffee, Taxi Girls and Long Bus Rides

Good Morning, Vietnam!  Well, I've spent the past week in Vietnam.  Saigon is a bustling capitol city of 7,000,000 people and.......3,000,000 motorbikes!  (Hsan - You'd fit right in.)
The street food is wonderfully fresh and incredibly inexpensive.  The room  I have in Saigon is $10 USD per night.  Clean, hot shower, satellite TV and WiFi.  I've met some interesting people, expats and locals, who have showed me around and helped me get situated.  The people are kind and friendly though the language is just not attractive sounding and fairly intimidating.

I was taken to the Saigon amusement park and must say that using the word amusement for this park is a stretch the definition of the word.
This ride is definitely "Under Construction".
The "highlight" of the park is the "Coldest Place in Vietnam" attraction where you don a silly coat supposedly for warmth, and walk around in a giant freezer with ice sculptures of many architectural and cultural sights.

After several nights in the sometimes-too-busy city of Saigon, I decided to take to the beach of Nha Trang, a ten-hour bus ride.  Certainly not the most pleasant way to go, but for $8 USD, I figured I'd give it a shot.  Many bus stops and one sore back later, I arrived in the beautiful town of Nha Trang.

I spent on morning at the local market where motorbikes not-so-peacefully coexist with bicycles and pedestrians.
But the colors, smells and sounds of the market are truly remarkable and unbelievable.

I am a sucker for Vietnamese popcorn.  They make it here with some sort of delicious sugar that makes the mouth water at the mere smell of it.  I happen to stumble upon a popcorn cart and loaded up on my provisions for the trip back to Saigon.

Saying goodbye to Nha Trang, I vowed to come back one more time.  Can you see why?
Other thoughts thus far:
I love Vietnamese coffee!
I am intrigued by (not partaking in) the "taxi girls" who circle the streets on their motorbikes at night like vultures offering, and I quote, "one hour massage and boom boom", right down to the "I love you long time!".  Too funny!

At midnight, you can see entire families on stools on the sidewalk sharing a late dinner together.  Apparently, the Vietnamese don't believe in getting their kids to bed at a reasonable hour.

I have started reading the Twilight series of books which I bought for $2 USD each.   Opening up the front cover of the first one, I realized that it was not an "official" book (shocker!), but instead a photocopied version.  Alas, technology is still caching up here.

Well friends, it is 8 am on 5 February.  I will stay in Saigon a little bit more, then back to Nha Trang, then on a three day, two night boat ride up the Mekong Delta where I will move on to Cambodia and Laos before heading back to Thailand to get my TEFL accreditation.

Time now though to go take in the sights and sounds of Saigon and have some coffee at Sozu Cafe which uses its proceeds to hire underprivileged Vietnamese children and provide them with a means of supporting themselves.  Some are deaf.  Some are blind.  But, all are very nice, sweet people.

I hope all is well in the States and that you don't miss me too much.


  1. Glad to see you are having a good time! Next trip Cambodia?

  2. My goodness! You're having such a great time - will you want to come home again? Thanks for sharing all of the details. It feels like I'm there on your shoulder. Well, I am on your shoulder in case you need a guardian angel who knows how to whoop ass. hahahha!

  3. You're a lucky man! And a great photographer. Thanks for sharing. Be safe and stay happy!

  4. Living vicariously through you buddy, keep the stories coming!!