The village i come from seems so far away.
Arriving in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
After a terribly uncomfortable 15 hour “10 hour bus ride” to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, one that had me switching seats three times on the first sleeper bus only to end up next to a man who talked on a cell phone for an hour and then invaded my space as he snored, one that after four hours switched to a regular bus that had me sitting in the back row in the middle of five people, I was just ready to find a place to sleep.
Apparently, as a backpacker, I’m supposed to just show up in a city with no place to stay and find one. It’s something that I’ve decided to experiment with, which really just meant that as soon as the bus parked I latched onto the Australian guy who had been sitting next to me and asked if I could join him and his friends in sharing a taxi and looking for a place. I didn’t quite realize he was traveling in a group of five and I kept asking if it was OK and if he was sure I wasn’t intruding. But I was assured it was OK.
When we landed in the area I walked around with the boys to check places out. And, although it hadn’t been my intention, ended up sharing a guesthouse room with them on top of a tailor shop.
We all were too exhausted to really do anything that day. So we mostly ended up taking a short walk for lunch and a longer walk for dinner. Where we braved the chaos of Saigon. Where ended up eating dinner in what may have been a gay bar. Where we got completely turned around, lost, to the point where we had to hail a taxi to take us back.
I was warned before coming to Vietnam about the traffic. We all know how hard of a time I had crossing streets in Kuala Lumpur. But I found it easier here. Yes, the beautiful chaos of motorbikes makes it hard to find a place to step, but it’s easy. Just walk. Cautiously, of course, but just put on foot in front of the other. They, mostly, can move around you. It was easier than with the traffic jams of cars in Malaysia. Or maybe it has just gotten easier.
AliDecember 19, 2011at12:15 am
One of the reasons I got so sick of bus travel was that any time they told you how long it would take, you needed to add at least 2-3 hours. More for longer journeys, until you get what you ended up with, 10 that becomes 15. Yuck. As for the traffic, I didn’t make it to Saigon, but I experienced it in Hanoi, and it actually didn’t seem so hard to cross the street. You know they don’t want to hit you, so they go slow and drive around pedestrians. I felt such a sense of accomplishment every time I successfully crossed a street!
ValDecember 22, 2011at7:49 pm
Me too! Yeah, I found that in Cambodia it was always 1.5 times whatever amount of time they told you.
Dan CollinsDecember 19, 2011at2:26 am
Sharing with 5 guys?! haha. Awesome photos Val!!
ValDecember 22, 2011at7:48 pm
Yup, 5 guys. Mmmhmm. 🙂
MarloDecember 19, 2011at9:59 am
Is pollution very bad there? Why do so many people have on masks?
ValDecember 22, 2011at7:44 pm
Well, I think there’s a lot of exhaust fumes from that many motobikes. Plus I’ve been on some roads where the dust they kick up makes it hard to breath.
Flip Flop MensMarch 11, 2015at5:38 am
A really good read and awesome photos, thanks for sharing