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This is the end...

VIETNAM | Friday, 11 January 2008 | Views [798]

This evening we take to the skies on a 24 hour trip home that will take us from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi for four hours, then thirteen hours airborne towards Paris, where we sit tight for another four hours waiting for our two hour trip back to the Emerald Isle. Back to life in Ireland, back to work.

The guy above, Tran Hung Dao is a former commander of Vietnam's military forces, who, bacuse he kicked Mongolian ass some 800 years ago is honoured with a statue outside our hotel where every day he watches the boats pass by on the Saigon river. Cork people note that the smell on Patrick's Bridge is wicked, and wonder how does Fr Matthew stick it. I'm sure Fr Matthew would be happy with his lot if he were offered Tran Hung Dao's alternative.

Here's a few things you might like to know about Vietnam:

1. Small people with large personalities - very friendly and hospitable.

2. Water puppeting is an ancient and honoured part of local tradition. This doesn't mean it's worth a visit.

3. The smog does clear up now and again, and worryingly you actually get used to it.

4. Noise, noise, noise. Beep. Beep. Beep.

5. Safe streets - maybe the terrifying idea of prison here discourages crime, but you can pretty much walk the streets at any time without concern.

6. Leftovers from the American war are everywhere, and lots of replica army surplus for sale.

7. Every tourist has a Good Morning Vietnam t-shirt. No locals do.

8. Upon changing your first EUR 50 note you're immediately a millionaire.

9. Footpaths seem to be constantly under construction. This does serve to prevent the motorcyclists using them, which is good.

10. City children seem to work constantly selling postcards to tourists. Nice kids though, not pushy at all.

All said and done, we'd a great time here. The musical was right - we will Miss Saigon.

Tags: planes trains & automobiles

 

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