Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ho Chi Minh City and the Cu Chi Tunnels ~ My trip to Vietnam

So I walked into work one Monday and Andreas asked me if I wanted to go to Vietnam that weekend.  Huh?  Who does that?  Slightly intrigued, I asked for more details.  Turns out he and another guy, Aaron, decided the night before that they were going to Ho Chi Minh City that weekend.  Random, right?  Well, I didn't have any plans and they both came down to my desk with the print outs of the details and about 10 minutes later, I had a flight, hotel, and my visa was being processed.

My brother (i.e. yeah, I have one) had been to Vietnam a few years ago, so I already knew what I wanted to do.  I wanted to hit the War Remnants Museum, the Cu Chi Tunnels, and see whatever was there to see.  The guys wanted to take a scooter tour of the city and seeing that I'd never ridden a scooter, I had my reservations but I wasn't about to become the whiner in the group.

On the plane I met a guy from France who was talking about going to the Taj Mahal.  I want to go to the Taj Mahal!!!  Anyway, we'll see if that pans out.

When we all arrived in HCMC, we took a cab to the hotel and then went out for drinks.  The next morning the scooter tour people picked us up and we were off to see the Opera House, the Rex Hotel, the Reunification Palace, a Pagoda, and some markets for shopping.  Couldn't help but notice that Justin Bieber's song, "Baby" was playing loudly from a store.

After the tour we went to the War Remnants Museum.  I'd post pictures but it's a little too heavy.

After the museum, we decided to explore some more and ended up doing some eating and shopping.  Pure comedy ensued in the market when the guys were pursued by some aggressive saleswomen who wanted to sell them pants and shirts.  I picked up a souvenir Buddha and a jewelry box.

Plenty of drinks, a massage, a street massage, and more drinks was the plan for the night...  It was a fun time.

The next day we hopped on the bus and went to the Cu Chi Tunnels.  There I buried myself in a hole in the ground, learned about the traps that were set up, shot an AK-47, and did about 30m of the 100m tunnel tour.  Very interesting stuff.

Vietnam was cool and I'm glad I made the trip.  I screwed up though and only did a single-entry visa so now I need to wait before I go back.  I want to see Halong Bay...

The exchange rate is approximately 20,000 Vietnamese Dong for 1 USD.  Yes, I was rich in Vietnam...


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