Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vietnam - Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh city)

Wow! I don't think I have ever seen so many motorbikes in one place. My head aches with all the concentration required to cross the road, and the constant noise. Everyone wears really cool retro sort of helmets, whether they protect your head or not I don't know. But I tried one on anyway for a quick ride on the back of a xe om or motorbike taxi. We only nearly crashed into another bike once, so I thought that was pretty good going. The best thing about Saigon, is the food. Its full of different flavours and it' s so cheap!

I visited the War Remnants Museum which was very eye opening. It was especially sad to see so many photos of torture carried out by American soldiers on unarmed Vietnamese villagers. I think war turns ordinary people into terrorisers. Also upsetting was the amount of photos of deformed children and adults who have ended up like that because of the agent orange dioxin the Americans sprayed everywhere. It is still affecting even third generation children, and one photo showed a deformed child born in 1997.

One of the markets near my hostel, you could still see the fish flopping about

The Opera House

I am not sure what this building is but it is very pretty

One restaurant where I had a delicious Vietnamese lunch

The post office, I think that is Ho Chi Minh at the back (celebrated here for bringing communism to Vietnam)

Pretty decorations everywhere

The streets are all lit up at night with lanterns and falling rain and of course millions of motorbikes

Inside one of the many pagodas in Chinatown in Cholon

Another pagoda interior, the hanging cones are incense sticks, people light them when they come to the pagoda, in one pagoda there was also a statue of a horse and everyone rang it's bell when they left, very funny.

How many mushrooms?

Inside the Fine Arts Museum which was a French colonial building

The courtyard of the Fine Arts Museum

Snake wine is popular here and is known to cure many ills including impotence

Hotel de Ville (People's Committee Building)

More bikes

Yet more bikes and Cyclos (the ones used to carry people)

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