Day 45: Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) II, Vietnam

26/12/2006

Today was a write-off, after getting home at 4 from GO2 I only got 5 hours sleep, had to get up at 9, but didn’t end up getting out until 11, sitting in bed watching the Boxing Day Test (yay for satellite!). We were supposed to go to the Cu Chi tunnels today but didn’t end up going, we were waiting for Jem and Manny to get their Indian visas. So after meeting up with Richie ( richie.wright@hotmail.com) we walked around for a bit – then decided to go to DAM SEN WATER PARKK!!!!

It was friggen SICK!!! hehe They had some awesome slides there, from travelling into black holes/slides with inflatable rings – to the ‘super magic bowl’ which was a 30meter straight slide that ends up in a bowl where you slide around in circles hehe. We spent a good 3 hours there and had a blast, although there ziplines were NOTHING compared to Vang Vien. Getting back at 5 we rested up before my final night in Saigon.

I decided to go to my mum’s old place, where she grew up in Cholon – it was an amazing experience. When I got to the front it didn’t look like a house, it had no windows and there was a sign that said “cd’s”. Called mum and she confirmed it was the only place with that address. Two levels in the front and four in the back, the place was pretty run down. 5 of us walked around in this random area of town which had no tourists, people started getting worried when a girl came out with broken english asking me WTF we were doing there. Turns out she had no idea about anything, then the shop next door opened up with a chinese looking woman. I went up to her and her son and we started talking. Turns out no one lives in my mums place anymore because it was too run down and no one wanted to renovate it – the shop owners now living somewhere else and just using the frontage as a shop.

We ended up catching a cab back to Pham Ngu Long and catching some great pizza. DVD shopping and organising the Cu Chi later, we ended up at G02 for some very subdued farewell drinks and pool.

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Day 44: Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Vietnam

25/12/2006

We got up early in the morning to finish packing our bags and also so I could go and pick up my custom made messenger bag. I made my early morning phone calls back home to wish everyone merry christmas and then had some pho as I rushed to around the city, it was crap, but I sat down for some great Cafe Suda! We caught our flight and was introduced to Saigon in the mid afternoon. My first impression wasn’t that good, but as we moved around the city it was great – one of my favourite cities. A lot more commercial than the rest of the country, but there were lots of things to do and see. The taxi drive took us to Pham Ngu Lao, the backpacker haven, it was great as we found a nice guesthouse which had regulations – such as “No bringing back prostitutes”- GOLD.

We hit some markets and it was my time to get some last minute gifts. It was great, the bargaining skills came into play as we walked around the markets firing up shop owners by dropping their initial prices down to a quarter – and it worked! We had all the strategies down pat, but some people were pissed off because we were shopping around – jeez. I ended up getting a Samsonite suit case, 4 watches, 2 bottles of perfume and a few belts. We went back to the hotel to rest up before we headed out for the night.

Rosh felt sick, Manny couldnt be bothered going out – so I enlisted Jeremy to enjoy Christmas night in Saigon. We walked around for a bit and couldn’t find anywhere good to sit down and have a few, until we hit some corner bar (I forget the name). We sat down next to an Aussie who was on his own, Rich, he’s from SA and we decide to have a big one. Jeremy and Manny had left, but I stayed out and drank till the wee hours of the morning – 3 am. We played pool and had heaps of beer, people were getting the shits with us because we owned the pool table hehe. That’s when I told Rich to join us for my final days in Saigon.