Thursday, December 30, 2010

Beep beep, honk honk

Our helmets!

It's funny, that's what you hear all day long, beep beep, honk honk. The motorbikes and cars talking to each other. I just wanted to quickly recap our first couple of days so far...

Our flight from Incheon was delayed about 40 minutes, so we finally made it into Ho Chi Minh a little after 11pm. Although that leg of the trip was considerably shorter, about 5 hours, it was definitely more uncomfortable. It's just hard having to sit on another flight after just finishing such a long journey already. Of course, a nap and the onboard entertainment (watched The Other Guys) helped me get through it. My dad picked us up from the airport and took us for a midnight pho meal (yes, there were people out eating pho at that time of night!) before we settled down for the evening.

My dad bought Raelene and I each a helmet, so we spent most of our first day touring the town on the back of a motorbike. We were riding in style, with a helmet and face mask to shield us from the dust (the picture above doesn't show us with our face masks, I'll have to load that one later.) First stop was breakfast, had some egg rolls and a yummy bowl of bun bo hue. We then visited the Reunification Palace, former home of the South Vietnamese presidents. It was a very interesting place, and my Lonely Planet desribes it perfectly, "Time has stood still here since 30 April 1975, a slightly scary thought. The striking modern architecture and the slightly eerie feeling you get as you walk through its deserted halls make Reunification Palace one of th emost fascinating sights in HCMC." We read that description after visiting and laughed about it, because that's exactly what Raelene and I were talking about as we were exploring the building. It definitely felt a little eerie, and everything looked like it belonged in a movie or another era. After that, we visited the long narrow aisles of a couple of markets, learned how to cross streets, did some errands, then ended the afternoon with a treat at a street corner ice cream shop where we watched the rush hour traffic flow by.

We had a very early start this morning and left the house at 5:30am to explore the South-Central coast for a few days. Today's destination was Nha Trang, a resort town a little over 200 miles north of the city. Although it's not too far in distance, road travel is at a much slower pace and it took us about 11 hours to get here. We did make a few stops, including lunch at a restaurant right on the beach--what a view! The strip of beach and hotels here reminds me of the hustle & bustle of Waikiki.

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