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 DAY SEVEN - 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...

Got an early start, the bus picked us up at 7.30 am for a City tour. This is one of those side tours our agent booked us so we were with about 20 other folks.

First stop was Reunification Palace, formerly the Presidential Palace, which is now a museum.   You can see the president's room,  1st Lady's room, cabinet meeting room, grand dining room, etc. So much ho, hummmm. We don't really like museums so we avoided the ridiculous crowds (I swear every kid under the age of 7 was there on a school tour. ARGH.) Along with every tourist in the continent - it was a mob scene there!!!  

In all honestly, the building was pretty boring too, built in the 60s.  The original Palace, built by the French, was much more opulent.  Oh, but wait, I'm pretty sure we blew it up.   From there on to a Notre Dame Cathedral and the central post office which was a little cooler, you can definitely see those French Colonial roots.

See pics below.

Sure is funny to see those old time phone booths, I forgot we used to have them back in the day.

The next stop was a little more sobering, the War Remnant Museum. It was really sad to see the horrendous effects the war had on the locals with Agent Orange. Three generations later babies are still being born deformed. And conversely the torture chambers were pretty gruesome too.

Guillotine and torture box. We decided taking pictures of pictures of the actual victims who were beheaded in the war would gross you out too much.  You're welcome.

All the aircraft tanks, and guns on display were relics the US Army left behind.

Wendy's Note: For those of you who have experienced the Holocaust Museum, that's a sunny day in the freakin park compared to this museum.  I was starting Kindergarten when US involvement ended and it was never taught in High School. I am sickened and appalled at the cruelty and injustice of what Americans did to this beautiful country.  The photographs in the museum will forever negatively imprint my memory. What we did was beyond abhorrent.  Morale of the story...Not my circus, not my monkeys.  If your monkeys fly, don't let them loose in a another country you have no right to launch flying monkeys in.

(Above)   1968 Telegram from President Ho Chi Mihn to his people.


(Right)  Tiger Cages.  These were used by the Americans to torture and detain Vietnamese.  All six sides are barbed wire.  They measure approximately 2ft high x 5ft long x 2.5ft high. 

On a happier note, it was now time for lunch! The meal was included in our tour at a nice poolside restaurant. Sticky rice, chicken omelet, chicken & veggie soup, braised pork and fried water spinach (whatever that is, tasted pretty good) finished off with a fruit platter.


We paid just $1.50 for a tall 630ml beer which was enough for 2 mugs of beer.

The final stop for the day was a 2 1/2 hour drive to see the Cu Chi Tunnels the Vietnamese lived in during the war. They built an entire network of tunnels over 120 miles long with living quarters, kitchens and resting social areas so the entire area could stay safe from bombing.

The hour and half long walk and climb through the tunnels was too much for me and my incredibly painful foot so I had a couple beers at the local pub while Wendy went exploring. The beers sold at this premier tourist attraction were 90 cents each - less than I pay for my beer from the grocery store at home.

Looking at Wendy's pictures, I think I am now glad I didn't go. That hole looks pretty damn tight for a big claustrophobic boy like me!

Wendy's Note: The lady entering the tunnel was TINY!!  Maybe 5ft and all of 95lbs!

That's a pretty nasty looking trap that they set for any person crazy enough to try to follow them.

And this is how you would get into the tunnels, slip down a narrow tube closing the camouflaged lid behind you. This is how they appeared to disappear into thin air when being followed.

They also had a gun range where you could shoot and of the automatic weapons used back then such as an AK47. But you had to pay for the ammo which cost $2 a bullet - gets pretty expensive if you bang out a full clip for 30 rounds!

We got back at 7.30 PM so a full 12 hour day. Filled with museums. Which we hate.

To be honest we didn't take the tour to see the museums, that was just a by-product of the tour. We took the tour to see the city and how the people live, and this is what we saw:

Wendy's Note: Exploring and learning about the tunnel system and how they lived was truly fascinating. I didn't not go thru the tunnel myself as I felt it may be a bit claustrophobic. After speaking to several in the group who did it, it was MUCH better than some of the tombs of Egypt (which I also did not do because of lack of air, light and claustrophobic issues).  It's OK.  I wasn't really in the mood to be hunched over for 25 minutes in a narrow little tunnel with temps at 120F.  Plus, who really wants someone else's farting ass in front of you with no air circultation? 

Every where on every street - this is what you see - a vendor set up on the sidewalk serving coffee, tea, sodas, snacks and cigarettes. They provide a little table and a few little chairs for their customers.

And it creates THIS situation, wanna steal some business from Starbucks, no problem! Open your own coffee stand right next to their front door!

Or set up shop right in front of your favorite convenience store and sell the same damn thing they are at half the price!

Easy carry movable store

No vendors cart? NO PROBLEM> Sell your wears off your head!

You name it, I got it!

Lets get to work. Ladder? Check. Bag with brushes and rollers? Check. Paint clean up bucket? Check. Scooter? CHECK!


And finally, we have the WTF moments...



Fashion statement, perhaps?

Fleas, maybe?



I will NEVER PLUSH your toilet, ever again!!!