Posts tagged 'Vietnam'
Upon arriving at Duong Dong Airport in Phu Quoc I got a taxi to my hotel, the A74. I checked in and was shown to my room by a very friendly concierge. The room smelt a bit funny so went back down and asked if I could change rooms and they put me in a much bigger room, which still has some odd odour in it that I cant identify but I guess the whole place might have that smell.
I did some washing in the bathroom sink and nearly accidentally tore it off the wall. it turns out it was only held up by the plumbing and two flimsy little brackets, which I bent a bit (and then bent back as well as I could).
For the trip to Phu Quoc I decided to fly since it was only $80 and it would save me many many hours on buses and ferries. For a laugh I looked at business class prices and they were only $30 more. I'd never flown business class before so I thought "YOLO!" and booked myself a business class ticket.
For my final morning in Saigon I got up and ventured out north in search of something different for breakfast than the noodles and mystery meat I'd been having. I stopped along the way a few times to sit in tiny plastic chairs with the locals and drink iced coffee while the traffic did it's crazy thing. I ended up buying a half kilo of mangostein for breakfast with which I made a huge mess before the owner of one of the coffee stand I was sitting at came over with a knife and helped me out. Ugly fruit, but so very tasty.
On the third day I finally took first motorbike taxi, which was a fun, cheap and fast way of getting the War Remnants Museum (Previously knows as the American War Crimes museum), plus the breeze from zooming around is nice and cooling. Why was I walking everywhere like a schmuck!? And yes Mum, I wore a helmet, although they're all so small in Vietnam I half think it might actually make things worse if there was actually an accident, concentrating the force in a ring around the top of my head.
The war museum was interesting, but not catered to someone who knows next to nothing about the history of the war. There was lots of stuff about the specifics that happened, but very little about the motives of either side. There was a load of stuff about the after effects of agent orange on people of both sides of the war, but I needed to look up it up online to find it was a herbicide being sprayed to kill off all the vegetation so the Viet Cong couldn't hide among it.
On day 2 I headed to the Cu Chi tunnels on a tour booked through my hostel. Our guide was a very interesting half-Filipino, half Vietnamese man who fought in the war on the USA side. It sounded like he'd had a pretty horrific life, with both his wife and mother killed in the war, and his siblings fleeing the country. It was nice to have someone who was actually involved and from Vietnam tell us that most of what the Vietnamese museums state as truth is horribly biased propaganda, but that the USA is just as full of shit with their telling of events. Both sides did messed up things and there was no real winner.
When we arrived at the tunnels we sat and watched a video that was so nationalistic/anti-American it was painful to watch; how the evil Americans were out to prevent Vietnam re-unifying (completely ignoring that, as I understand it, the south wasn't actually supportive of that, hence why the war didn't end when America and Co pulled out), and how this guy, that guy and another guy was awarded the killing Americans bravery awards for killing Americans, killing American this, killing Americans that. At one point I'm sure that every sentence spoken for a few minutes had "killing Americans" in it at least twice.
The after the propaganda film we moved onto the actual site, were shown huge B-52 bomb craters which were all over the place. We were shown one of the "manhole" entrances to the tunnels. People were allowed to hop in for a photo but the hole looked crazy small and I didnt think my shoulders would fit through so I didn't give it a go. Next we saw a variety of different booby traps they used with the intention of perforating the Viet Cong's enemy soldiers and dogs; they were pretty vicious looking contraptions.
On my first morning in Vietnam I woke, packed my stuff in my private room into my bags and checked out to walk 30M around the corner to the dorm style accommodation I have booked for the rest of my stay here. I wasnt able to check in until 1pm, so I left my big bag and took just my day pack with all the valuable stuff in it. Even with just a tiny laptop and an MFT system camera, valuables still weigh a ton.
I went out onto the main road to try some delicious baked goods from the bakery recommended to me by the first hostel. They had some pretty tasty stuff, but the place was a big franchise and felt very much like Breadtop back home. I sat outside eating my coffee bun and croissant and a little older Vietnamese lady who was there eating started to talk to me. She asked me where I was from, how long I had been travelling, etc. Then she offered me a massage. I could already see where this was going and told her no, but just in case I had missed her meaning she repeated she would give me massage and "boom boom". At 10am. At a franchise bakery. It seems that being a single male in Vietnam leads to the locals assuming you're a sex tourist.
I spent my entire last night in Melbourne with my mind racing, completely unable to sleep. I think I nearly feel asleep for a bit at around 5am, and then was woken not long after by a notification on my phone lighting up the room.
By 6:30am when I planned to get up I'd completely given up hope of getting any sleep and got up and made myself a coffee, then zipped up my bag fully packed.