Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) & Cu Chi Tunnels

We actually arrived in Saigon on May 20 but only stayed one night before we headed to Can Tho. I'm combining our Ho Chi Minh City activities from May 20 and May 23-25 in one post.

When we read about Ho Chi Minh City, it was described as super chaotic with tons of motorbikes. This should be the description for most of the cities in Vietnam but Saigon was supposed to be the worst. We saw a lot of traffic and crazy moves but we didn't think it was worse than Ha Noi.

Just look at this traffic

Everywhere, really

After checking into our hotel, we headed for a walk

And we found the only Starbucks in Vietnam...

A nice one!

Everyone loves their Starbucks!

Then we walked through a park

It was nice except my face was melting

Paul played the Vietnamese version of hackie sack with these guys

We also walked by the Ben Thanh Market and the statue of Tran Nguyen Han

Later that night we had dinner on the 23rd floor of the Sheraton for this spectacular view

Upon our return from Can Tho, we noticed how dirty the Saigon River was.

After recovering from our Can Tho trip, we took a day tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels on May 25.

We opted for a boat ride along the Saigon River instead of a car

It took about the same time but we were spared constant honking and bad driving

Our guide, Tree, gave a quick explanation of how far the tunnels went - about 250km of tunnels!

We saw some trap doors

Here's a different angle of the same trap door

Can you see where the door is?

Peek a boo

I got to give it a try too

And with my weak upper body, almost got stuck

More tunnels

Air holes were needed for the tunnel system - the VC disguised them as ant hills

Paul checking out the tank

Anyone home?

These are just a few examples of the different booby traps used by the VC

This mural shows how the soldiers may have reacted to the booby traps

Here is another hidden tunnel entrance about the width of Paul's foot

Then we got to shoot some guns

Paul shot a M60 - boy, were they loud!

I was excited to shoot a M16

I don't think I hit any of the targets

Paul tried the M16 too

Another tunnel entrance

Villagers also made rubber shoes with old tires of the jeeps

B52 Bomb Crater

Here's the entrance to one of the tunnels - I went in but Paul stayed back

This was a kitchen

Here are all the different types of bombs that were used

Then we headed back to Saigon

Once back to Saigon, we walked around a bit more to see some other notable landmarks.

One being this stupid looking penguin trash can

That Paul had to punch

Which made the penguin puke

We then walked by the Opera House

We walked through Lam Son Park with interesting propaganda displays

I liked this photo of Uncle Ho with the people

The next park had a statue of Uncle Ho

Uncle Ho statue sits in front of the People's Committee Building

We then wandered to the Notre Dame Cathedral

St. Mary statue in front of Notre Dame Cathedral

The time was 2:55pm

All the stained glass was destroyed in the war

The Central Post Office designed by Gustav Eiffel was built between 1886-1891

It was 2:59pm

Uncle Ho looks at his people inside the post office - it was 3:00pm

A side view of Notre Dame Cathedral

After an exciting day, we rested so that we could be ready for our night out on the town. We had heard that the discotheques were all the rage here in Saigon so, we got our jeans on (boy was it hot to wear jeans), cleaned up a little, and headed out for a nice Italian dinner and some dancing.

In the elevator headed to dinner - without the chick behind us

We had pretty good Italian at Pomodoro

We heard that Lush was the place to be

We may have gotten there a little too early...

We felt like we were in the fortress of solitude...we left after 1 drink

We then headed to Apocalypse Now, an iconic club of Saigon...which was conveniently located right next to our hotel.

This guy (alone) bought this huge bottle of Belvedere vodka...

...Faux Sho!

We were back in our hotel room before 10:30pm. I think we were supposed to start going out at 10:30pm...oh well! We're not the young whippersnappers we used to be.

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