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Friday, February 10, 2012

Ho Chi Minh City, Tetris level 9

Due to the previous nights events, explained in the last blog by miss Alex,  we didn’t rise from bed until around 10am the following day. We were both really hungry, probably due to the lack of food from the day before. So we went for a nice breakfast on the corner of the side street and watched from our roadside table, as what seemed like half of Ho Chi Minh City pass us by on their bikes. I’ve mentioned before that crossing the road in Thailand was an experience, but this is a level up. Imagine the 80’s game Tetris (Gameboy) as you progress and go up through the levels, the objects moves faster. This is like South East Asia. It feels as we progress through the countries the traffic comes at you faster and more in terms of quantity. Where as Bangkok we’d dodge 20 bikes to cross the road, now in Ho Chi Minh City were upto 60/70 bikes at a fast pace. I would compare crossing the road in Ho Chi Minh City to level 9 on tetris and Bangkok a level 5, my road back a level 1. We have been told the secret is to just walk out in front of the bikes and let them avoid you. Once breakfast was booked we took a walk through the streets eventually until we came upon the City Zoo. It cost us about 8000 Dong (25p ish) It was massive and it reminded me of the film Madgascar because of the high rise buildings either side, whilst wild animals run about their patch. Gotta say Alex the Lion was too busy tucking into his fresh chicken to entertain us with a dance. Tony the Tiger was an angry little devil. Tony the Tiger was on his own behind a piece of glass, his compound was about 100 foot by 200 and he was pacing up and down. Through life there is a certain type of person who likes to provoke, and this  situations this was no different, A Chinese group decided it would be fun to make noise at Tony and try to goad him. I however stayed at a safe enough distance to snap away, happily in the knowledge that if Tony decided enough was enough, and he was gonna smash the glass panel and eat some people I would be back of the que giving it big steps with miss Alex.
After the Zoo we went to see a traditional water puppet show, I kind of half expected this to be like a Punch and Judy show, however, it turned out to be not only funny but really clever. It was musical themed and the show was telling the story of Vietnam through the ages.
Today miss Alex wanted a few bits from the market. At midday first we headed to a big department store, a bit like our House of Frazer. We made our way on a proper tuc tuc. Miss Alex and I had to take once each as they only sit one passenger. Basically it’s a basket at the front of the bike for the passenger to sit in. We got a few funny looks at the lights and the old bloke who was peddling looked past his Tour De France looking best. I Felt like I should have got out and took it in turns with him to peddle. Before the department store we passed The Notre Dame Cathedral, no we didn’t pop into Paris on the way! Vietnam was once a French colony and the architecture has a lot of tell tale signs that the French have influenced here. So there is also many church’s. Whilst having a cwoffee yesterday evening we overlooked a small park, there was a main road either side of the park and the streets were lined with 100 foot tall tress. The buildings were of similar design to that of a European city.
We had a quick look around the department store decided everything was too expensive for 2 tax dodging backpackers and went to look for the market.
At the market miss Alex displayed some good teckas (good technique) in bartering. She had 4 tops and the woman wanted 800,000 Dong (£24) miss Alex was not budging from 400,000 Dong. After a couple of minutes of miss Alex adamant of 400,000 she got the deal. All the way down from 800,000 to 400,000 stopping at every 50,000 Dong. The market brought miss Alex’s happiest moment of the day and also the angriest. This is when she actually found a pair of nice flowery flip flops that she liked (been looking since Christmas) the girl didn’t have her size. “Too big, too big” miss Alex was told. When miss Alex asked if she had any flip flops her size the woman pointed to a pair of massive (size 10) blue Adidas flip flops that miss Alex wouldn’t wear for all the tea in China. I found this to be hysterical as the Vietnamese woman was trying to say miss Alex’s size are not made in South East Asia. Not that she has big feet!! :-) 
Tomorrow we have a trip planned to go see the Chu Chi tunnels that were used in the Vietnamese War. Looking forward to it,  should be really interesting to see then on the way home were going to go to the War Remnants Museum, up until recently as 1993 it has been known as the Museum of American War Crimes. I’m guessing there is still a lot of hurt.  

Speak Soon xxx

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