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 DAY SIX - Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, VIETNAM

Previous Blogs: Day 1 Tokyo | Day 2 Tokyo | Day 3 & 4 Singapore | Day 5 Singapore | Day 6 Ho Chi Minh City | Day 7 Ho Chi Minh City & Tunnels

Day 8 Can Tho | Day 9 Floating Market | Day 10 Flower Market | Day 11 Hoi An | Day 12 My Son Temple | Day 13 Hanoi | Day 14-16 Halong Bay

Day 17 Luang Prabang | Day 18 Temples-Waterfalls | Day 19 Mekong River | Day 20-21 Bagan | Day 22 Bagan | Day 23 Inle | Day24-25 Inle

Click photos for a larger image...

After a short delay (our van driver was 30 minutes late) we were dropped off at Singapore airport where beers started at $9 for a HALF pint draft and $12 for bottled beer. Ouch!

Very modern airport, they even have a butterfly garden where you can hang out with hundreds of live butterflies, free movie theatre, work out room, botanical garden and tons more.

Security is at the gate and not the entrance to the airport which is weird, making it very expensive for them as they have 2 machines at EVERY gate - but then there was nothing in Singapore that pointed to these guys lacking cash!

We are very excited to arrive in Vietnam which is more our speed. Tokyo and Singapore were just stops for us. Both countries are too 1st World for us, everything is pretty much Westernized and big city like. We prefer to get off the beaten track and see something different and experience a different culture. The fact that Tokyo and Singapore are very expensive also contributed to our excitement at leaving. (Yup - we're cheap!!)

We flew with Vietnam Air on an Airbus 321 - no on board entertainment, but the flight was only 2 hours and there is a 1 hour time change which puts us at exactly 12 hour time difference from home in Florida. Your 1pm is my 1am! A full lunch was served and it was pretty good.  Free beer to boot!

All was in order and a little over 90 minutes later we were at our hotel in downtown Ho Chi Mihn City - formally known as Saigon. What is most interesting is that the locals still refer to the city as Saigon - only the Government calls it Ho Chi Mihn City. It is the largest city in Vietnam with 10 million residents.

It is a socialist republic, so they have elections. 

Our hotel room - very French Colonial - there are no non smoking rooms, and they still have the traditional bell hop in uniform - very old school.

The view from our hotel room window, not a lot to see just yet. We found a Circle K and bought some beer, whiskey and wine.

The street right next to our hotel, just street front little shops selling everything from fruit to shoes and clothing.

Everyone drives a scooter because cars are very expensive. There are over 6 million scooters in the city and they are insane, just ducking and weaving in and out of traffic.

And this brings me to the currency. The money in Vietnam is called "Dong", which of course opens up all kinds of potential jokes such as: "Is that a Dong in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"

There are 22,000 Dong to $1USD. Are you kidding me? What you see on the left is over 2 million Dong, which makes me a millionaire!!!  Really, it's about $100.

Makes shopping a little tricky converting in your head. They have no coins, only notes. The government tried to introduce a coin, but no one would accept them, so they were recalled.

The smallest note is D1000 which is 5 cents. Can you imagine a bank note for 5 cents?

Beers at the Circle K are $0.75 each for local (which tastes great 5.3% alcohol) or $1 for Heineken.  In the hotel mini-bar they are not much more $1.50 for local.

Wendy's bottle of Yellowtail Chardonnay was $6 and I bought a bottle of JnB Scotch for $20. This is from a Circle K so we can probably do better at a real grocery store.

You can't drink the tap water or eat street food so I just grabbed a pre-made sandwich for dinner from where other ...than the Circle K of course!

My Gout kicked me in the ass today so any walking is excruciating and completely out of the question.


Tomorrow we tour the city with a guide and explore the Cu Chi Tunnels.   Wendy's already threatened to leave me behind if I can't walk.  Uncompassionate wife!  The nerve of her!  Actually, I would do the same to her if she was incapacitated.  Which I actually did when we were in Hong Kong.  She caught some nasty swine or bird flu and basically kicked me out of the hotel room so she could sleep!

And finally....


Tạm biệt for now and we leave you with this.....(Click on picture!)