Ho Chi Minh City

The bus to Ho Chi Minh left at 7.20am, so we arrived in the city early afternoon. The hostel was just around the corner so we checked in and went for some food. After a shower we took a walk to the War Remnants Museum and read about the impact of the Vietnam War. There were upsetting photographs of what had happened to people then and still what the affects are for people now. Then we got a few beers and sat outside the hostel, chatted to some people and then tried to find a decent bar. There wasn't much going on so we sat in a sports bar, taking turns to go behind the counter and play songs from YouTube.

Today we walked to the old Post Office, the Palace and then went to the zoo and botanical gardens. A cheeky KFC on the way back to the hostel and then headed out to some bars again. I didn't drink very much but was surprisingly drunk. We had to be ready for the Mekong Delta tour before 8am the next day and I got home at 6am, vague memories of the night. Someone had vomited all over the bathroom floor and the guy in the bunk above me came back after me and woke me up, telling me I should have cleaned it up. I told him it wasn't me (which it definitely wasn't!) but he kept shining his phone torch in my face and going on about it for ages. I had everyone's ticket for the tour and turned up 5 minutes late, looking horrendous and feeling worse than I've ever felt in my life. I don't know if my drink was spiked or they were just stronger than I'd thought but I did not deserve the hangover I had. We got on the bus and were taken to a boat. Then we were taken from one crappy tourist trap to another. We saw how they made rice paper, coconut candy, tasted honey tea from a bee farm, had the most tiny lunch imaginable, listened to some ear shattering local singing. I was struggling. It was also boiling hot. Finally, after a long walk with my backpack, we reached the homestay. This was actually the highlight of the trip, although we didn't get to talk to the locals, which is the point of a homestay. There were about 15-20 of us staying there, so we all sat around a table while they served us a dinner of grilled fish, fresh spring rolls and some kind of chicken pancake. I really didn't want a beer but the group grabbed my hand and put it in the air, so I ended up with a large bottle of Bia Saigon. We played some card games and chatted for the rest of the evening. I was first to go to bed at about 10pm. It was a good sleep.

The next day of the tour was much better. We went to a noodle workshop and saw how they were made, then to a rice field. We stopped for lunch and the guys tried frog, snake and rat. I had a taste of the rat and it was alright. We went to the floating market, which was a few rotting boats floating in a brown Mekong sludge water, selling fruit. We sailed down the river on a small paddle boat wearing traditional conical hats and then had to tip for the 2 minutes it had taken. Then for 3 hours back on a bus with no air conditioning in 36 degree heat. Again joined the bar crawl.


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