What a trip so far. I am blogging right now after some of the longest travel days of my life. After spending 32 hours traveling, it has been great to spread out over Ho Chi Minh City and really explore. A group of us decided to not sleep this morning after we got in so we instead went to try to find the Super Bowl. There was sports bar not far from where our hotel is and low and behold the game was on and the place was crammed full of Americans and ex-pats. The group was joking that this bar could quite possible hold all of the Americans in Ho Chi Minh City. Now granted we are here to see Vietnamese culture, but still, we really just wanted to catch the game.
Afterwards we really got out and explored District 1 in Ho Chi Minh City. We got to see many of the landmarks, The National Opera House, The Continental Hotel, tha Caravelle Hotel, the American consulate and many more. We made our way down to the Saigon River which if taken downstream for about an hour, one could reach the ocean. On the river we saw a ferry that had mopeds and motorbikes cramming onto it to be taken across the river. That was the only way for some distance to cross the river and it was kind of comical to see people vying for a spot on the next ferry.
Then there is the issue of traffic here in Vietnam. One certainly does cross the street holding their own life in their hand. The main idea for pedestrians is to just keep moving, but do not stop. This was the same type of situation that I encountered in China where traffic was incredibly busy (here with millions of mopeds and motor bikes) and the pedestrians have to cross with care knowing that the motorists will just move around you accordingly.
We had our first encounters with Vietnamese people also on our first day. A very small older woman came up to me and asked how tall I was. She was at least I told her 6’4″ and then felt dumb because things here are in metric. So instead I just said very tall. She then asked how much I eat for breakfast. Someone in my groups mentioned that I ate a great deal. As we parted ways with the woman she gave me a western style handshake which I thought was pretty cool. Later in the day we met out first street vendors and Ken Haltenhof had his first bargaining session of the trip over a pair of sunglasses. He didn’t get them.
We lunch as a group and took a bus tour after. Ho Chi Minh City is a pretty amazing place. We had dinner at Pizza Hut to try to compare how it was to Pizza Hut back home. Dr. Ericson seemed to like the pizza here, I like the pizza at home haha. Look for more about Ho Chi Minh CIty soon. If you have any questions so far. Let me know.