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He only went out for some milk A blurb of monstrous proportions - it was only supposed to be a couple of lines and the odd photo.

Into Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), the Mekong Delta, Cu Chi Tunnels and Cao Dai Religion

VIETNAM | Monday, 19 March 2007 | Views [12243] | Comments [4]

This is an un-typical scene - fatty (sorry ladies) Vietnamese

This is an un-typical scene - fatty (sorry ladies) Vietnamese

Over a week has gone by since i entered Vietnam, and this has been the first chance to update my blog.  I've been travelling with two girls and a guy who actually went travelling around the world for 6 years, so I've kinda been distracted.

The journey into Vietnam was a long bus journey and my first taste of Vietnamese red tape.  It makes me laugh that my day bag keeps getting x-rayed and i have a huge knife inside it - perhaps only guns are a worry here.  Saigon (as it's still called in the south) is a huge relief after Phnom Penh, it's cleaner for a start, has a better feel to it and is slightly easier to walk around.  I go to the (re-)unification palace, it has a couple of pages in the Lousy Planet guide but $3 and 26 minutes later, and i guess I've just speed read the couple of pages.  Empty buildings, empty rooms, bad architecture, lots of history which i don't know as i hadn't read the guide book.  Still the War Remnants Museum was a better if not horrific experience.  Scenes of death, disfigured foetuses, tanks and bombs and masses of pictures that don't put the Americans in a very good light.  Even though it's terrible, it is a must see.

The next day i go to visit Cu Chi Tunnels and the home of the Cao Dai Religion.  This is a funny yet fascinating religion.  It was only created in 1926 and it combines the religions of Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Confucianism, Hinduism, and Taoism and Victor Hugo is one of their saints.  I guess they are just covering their bases, but who am i to laugh when they have over 2 million followers.  They can't all be wrong, can they :)  The tunnels were used by the Vietnamese to fight themselves and the Americans and before that the French and then themselves some more.  They are about twice their original size so us western fatties can fit into them.  The park - think of a Vietnamese Disney Land - has many attractions for the kids.  You can see lots of traps that were used to kill and maim people, you can crawl though 100m of tunnel and you can even fire some guns including AK-47's or M-16's.  Of course i wouldn't buy into any of that...OK maybe i fired an AK-47 and crawled through the tunnel a little bit.  Still i stopped myself from buying the Cu Chi t-shirt, mug and keyring.

I meet Darren a Canadian on the bus journey to the tunnels.  He tells me how he plans to ride a motorbike around parts of Vietnam.  It sounds like a great idea but unfortunately I've never ridden a proper motorbike, i nearly crashed 3 times upon riding a moped for the first time and i don't have a licence.  I've been in a strange mood the last couple of days, i can't say I'm tired of travelling, it's just that everything is "same same, only different".  If you've ever beento SE Asia you will know EXACTLY whati mean.  Subconsciously I've been looking for something totally new.  So with that it mind i will be joining Darren next week to ride around Vietnam...

This sort of mucks my plans up a bit, but hey you only live once.  He's only got two weeks in Vietnam so i will have to miss places and cut short others.  One of them is the Mekong Delta.  We do a day trip and it is fantastic.  It's touristy and alas we only have time for one day, I'm going to have to come back and cycle around here.  I also have a snake put around my neck - i don't mind snakes, but a large Boa Constrictor with it's rippling muscles around my neck...i really didn't like it.  i think our guide knew this, as he just left me there with it (the g*t).  No tip for him. 

I already know I'm coming back to this country, i love it here so far.  A classic case of why is when I'm bargaining for a book.  Me the trained negotiator ends up playing rock, paper scissors to agree the deal - great stuff.  It's a good start to Vietnam, not the best of cities but certainly not the worse and I've met someone who i get along with and who is actually travelling my direction.

Tags: ruins




Dear sir, I would like to correct you about something if you don't mind. My wife is Vietnamese (she's beautiful) and I've stayed in Ho Chi Minh City for a long while (by the way, I'm an american latino) and I crawled around the Cu Chi tunnels too. Name it I did it also. I've had one of those snakes put around my neck also. I know more than enough about animals and where they come from and I have alot of experience with them. The snake that you mentioned to be a "boa constrictor" wasn't that. Boa constrictors live in the tropical americas, not in SE asia unless they got very very very lucky and had one taken to them. The kind that you had that unpleasant experience with was more likely to have been a burmese python. Enough about that. I hope you had a lovely travel there, I miss that place so much. If you don't mind about this also, please e-mail me back and tell me where your next travel will take you, if you go. My address is ara_kard30@hotmail.com ....shane: I'm glad you clarified the type of snake, i've been having sleepless nights worrying what it was. This part of my trip was about 10 months ago, so i'm quite tired now. Alas i wont be sending you an email as my mummy told me not to talk to strangers. Seriously, thanks for the comment - new zealand is quite a bit different and i miss the 'culture' of asia.

  Pete Jan 18, 2008 4:53 PM


Sorry,I mean Dear Ma'am....shane: boy you're hilarious. For the record i'm male. :)

  Pete Jan 18, 2008 5:05 PM


OHH!! Sorry! Oops! And thanks.

  Pete Jan 22, 2008 4:42 PM


pls i need a female,who is 30...shane: don't hang around with me then, i only get the lady boys

  john Apr 30, 2008 6:06 AM

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one ruined t-shirt and one ruined pair of trousers.  cool.

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