Social Whisper

Saigon

Posted on: April 2, 2009

I’ve worked out that the first 36 hours I spent in Saigon I was asleep for 26 of them. I was literally out for the count as the last month caught up with me.

In the short while that I was awake I had a little wander round the city. Luckily everything in Saigon is relatively close together so it is easy to walk about from where I was staying in the main backpacker area.

One of the things I had been pre-warned about was the traffic. Although its generally pretty mental where ever you go in Asia, the traffic in Saigon takes it to a whole new level – utter madness. Unlike Thailand and Cambodia there’s no Tuk Tuks in Vietnam and apart from the few cars theres just millions of motor bikes – literally millions. I think some one told me that there are about 3 million motor bikes in Saigon for about the 2 millions people that live there.

But its not only the number of them it’s that theres no real order to when and when they drive. At some places there’s some sort of traffic light system but thats for the other traffic not for pedestrians so you have no chance. This is a relatively calm picture as I forgot to take one when it was mental – probably fearing for my life.

Saigon

This means that to cross the road you have to walk out into the traffic when the traffic is not so bad and keep walking. If you keep walking they know where you’re going and will go round you if you stop you’re going to get hit.

The first place I visited was the Reunification Palace which was where the North Vietnamese Army’s tanks broke through on April the 30th 1975 which was when Saigon fell and the Vietnam war ended.

Reunification Palace

The palace isnt actually a palace as you’d think more like some sort of office space with some of the rooms decorated in a traditional oriental style. Its gets better if you go to the basement which has all the maps and radio equipment from the war and has all been left since the day it was taken over but its not some where you’d stay long.

Wandering down to the market I had some amazing Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) which I think is to become my staple diet for the next few weeks while in Vietnam.

Pho

After some harrassing from a guy called Sinh I took a cyclo to the war remerants museum amoung other plaes that I wasnt planning to go to such as the Ho Chi Minh museum which he insisted I see (gorgeous french building but not much there).

cyclo guy

The war remenrantsmuseum is I suppose unsurprisingly very one sided with allthe things the Americans did to the Vietnamese. incidently you dont actually see mny people from the US here and all the Canadians put a Candian flag on their bags so they’re not mistaken as Americans – some people told me that the Americans do this as well.

After Mr Sinh tried to have one over on me on the price – was having none of it, I went back home havea shower and quick sleep before going out but passed out till the next morning….

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