Monday, October 13, 2014

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

^^What you see coming at you while crossing the road^^

After spending time in Malaysia we headed over to Vietnam. Many people we met in our travels raved about Vietnam, how wonderful the food was, how amazing the scenery, some people went on and on about it. So we figured why not go see it for ourselves, and I'm glad we did. We truly enjoyed ourselves during our visit. The food was amazing, it was different from the other countries we had been to in South East Asia. The city seemed pretty modern in ways, but in others it still felt like going back in time. Women wore their traditional non la or leaf hats while doing daily chores. There were small cramped ally ways that houses, apartments, restaurants and hostels spilled out into. These small allies were small but the people used ever inch, some would be sitting out eating (we witnessed an elderly women eat balut or a developed duck embryo as she sat crouched on her front porch) or playing cards, then pickup and move for a motorbike to pass. As we walked through we had to keep our eyes and ear alert in order not to get hit. The only rule when it came to traffic was don't get hit. As a pedestrian you are to just walk out into on coming traffic without hesitation while cars, motorcycles, and buses swerve out of your way. It some how works, but don't hesitate because that is something the drivers don't anticipate.
Talking about transportation, we took a sleeper bus from Ho Chi Minh to Mui Ne. It was the size of a normal gray hound bus, but instead of seats there were two levels of beds. 
It was nice, but roads were so bad and slow that it took 5 hours, when in the US the same distance would have taken maybe 2. 
While in Ho Chi Minh we visited the Cu Chi tunnels. We wanted to see the place we have learned so much about in history books. A place where so many laid down their life for the freedom of others. While there we got to hear history from the other side, and lets just say us American "devils" (their nickname US solders) are dragged through the mud pretty bad. The Vietnam War is not talked about in a good light in the states either, but The American War as they call is a victory they take great pride in. It was a little sickening to hear them brag about the number of Americans they killed. They took great pride in how they encouraged and honoured women and children to fight in the war, but then called Americans blood thirsty for the women and children they killed. It's no wonder so many solders came home messed up from that war. 
While there we crawled through some of the tunnels, and it was pretty miserable but cool. They had these "tourist tunnels" enlarged so more people could fit through. But I was still amazed Blake fit down that tinny entrance. I cannot believe people would live and "fight" down there.
We also went to the American War Crimes museum. Again not a very pro American atmosphere, and it made me glad to hear a Swed call it the biggest load of propaganda he had ever seen... I'm glad I was not the only one.
Please don't get me wrong, the people in Vietnam were great. Very happy, helpful, and kind. It was just a little uncomfortable being in a place that still has such animosity against your home country and people. The only true confrontation we had was while taking the sleeper bus to Mui Ne. While at a rest stop, I spotted an older man that seemed rather sketchy. I leaned over to Blake and mentioned that the man probably fought as a child in the war, how weird. Then a few minutes latter we crossed paths with him again, and in really poor English he ruffly asked where we were from. Without hesitation I told him Brasil and walked away, he then grabbed Blake by the arm and asked again. Nervous, Blake quickly lied and said Canada. He did not seem convinced then turned to some other men and went off talking in Vietnamese. We avoided him the rest of the trip.
Other than that Ho Chi Minh was amazing. We enjoyed walking around, window shopping (wish we had been there long enough to get some hand made cloths made), watching people play foot bad-mitten in the park, and weaving through traffic. 

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