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Ho Chi Minh City

and the adventure to the Reunionfication Palace

sunny 30 °C

What should I pack for a world trip? What are the important items? What will I need? These questions that I am sure most people go through when preparing for a big trip. These questioned were only answered for me while sitting at the bus stop in Dalat with Annie waiting for the bus wondering how to survive the journey ahead. The answer came to me light a cartoon light bulb over my head, I suddenly remembered what was sitting at the bottom of my bag wait patiently wait like a good friend waits in the wings. The item was a small bottle of Gin I bought in India and never drunk. The reason I bring this up is not because of some obscure backpack inventory but because it was the time that I created the ‘Travellers Emergency Survival Kit’. Like all good survival kit it is important to keep with you at all times and used only in an Emergency… or boredom. These items in this kit will help you through the stress and strain of the life on the road and these items are;

Emergency Gin
Emergency Biscuits*

To no surprise after a bottle of gin, cognitive functions are a little slowed. So when we arrive in Ho Chi Minh City at 3:30am about 5km away from the centre it took us a while to work out what the hell was happening and where we were –local buses don’t always drop the same place as tourist buses, remember that! The confusion was heightened when we arrived in the centre to find a city like none in Asia I have come across. It was 4.30am the city was still alive with people drinking in bars and on the street, food stores still seeing food, you have to remembering every other city I have been in Vietnam shut down by 11pm and now I am now in the city that never sleeps (well it’s more of a tourist street that never sleeps). The night gets more bizarre when Annie and I choose hostel at random and checked in to room to only find the people we had kept meeting and became friends with during our travels together. Josh, James, John, Burt and Buster.

Being in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) was a great thing because it was good to get back to being a normal tourist. After a needed sleep we headed out to explore the new city. We headed out for the reunification palace the place of the last stand of the American Army, the place that confirmed the independence of the country, so of course on Vietnamese Independence Day the place was of course closed for government ceremony… well done Joe. So instead we headed for St Joseph Cathedral. After that we decided to head for the War Remnants Musuem, formally called The Exhibition House for Crimes of War and Aggression –which may give an idea to the sort of things I saw. I won’t go into the stuff I saw as I won’t do justice for a fantastic but horrific museum but I will describe my reaction afterwards. I walked out of the building and just collapsed on the stairs and for about 20 minutes just stared into the void. I am not sure who said it but someone turned a said “should we get drunk” the only thing that would get us out of this slump.

The next day start off with a bit of déjà vu as we headed for the Reunionification Palace to find out that today we were too late for the palace so once again to head off, disappointed very much like the Americans were all those years ago I can imagine. After this lost we head back to the Bui Vien (the street where we stayed) to regroup and work out what to do. Instead of heading back out we went for food and meet up with Marji and Annabelle, even more people and that night enjoyed the delights of the crazy lam cocktail and the night club Apocalypse Now that finished the night with the theme tune to the film, which in my mind was bad taste but I think that was the flash backs of the war museum. I say I went to the night club but spent most of the tie outside of the club in the street bar with Annie and then went into dance before heading out to drink more on the street.

The next day will decide not to try the Reunionfication Palace but instead headed out of the city for the Cu Chi Tunnels the war tunnels that befuddled American’s and made me see sides of Josh Lynn that not even his wife what’s to see. Let me explain, the original tunnels were so small that I struggled to fit my leg in but they expanded the tunnel for the fat western tourist to experience the feeling of the Viet Con so in tight, hot, sweaty conditions you like around to the drop that you just scaled down to see Josh in a interesting position and you wonder about all the strange situation that you have been in is this the strangest? And when the next situation will come? Well that was when we were cooling ourselves and get caught topless in the middle of a forest pouring water over ourselves by our guide and females who did not venture down the tunnels. This is also the place where after so much war you can still pay to shot a rifle, so the tunnels feelings is greatened by the sound of a AK-47 being fired somewhere in the distance… spookby the sound of a AK-47 being fired somewhere in the distance… spook as.

That night we as a group had our last drinks together a night of laughter and good times, one of the most memorial nights of Vietnam and the night where I paid for 45 beers with one note. 450,000dong about £16 about $24 for the foreigners out there. I wake up the next day so see off everyone and am left for the first time in a month and I feel lost without Annie on my side. But freedom has got on positive as I head to the Reunionfication Palace and at last make it in, yay I hear you say and head for the airport – destination Singapore!!!

But I would like to say how much I have loved and enjoyed Vietnam, the people so welcoming, the country so beautiful and the first country that I have visited that when learning about the history I don’t feel bad about being British and for that I thank America and France.

  • Items are exchangeable to personal preference!

Posted by Joewhittaker 02:52 Archived in Vietnam Tagged saigon

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