Ten photographs to remember Vietnam

While declassifying my ‘uncategorised’ posts, it dawned on me that of all the countries I’ve been to, I’ve never posted anything about poor ol’ Vietnam. I don’t know why, because I had a ball there.  So for a start, here’s ten photos to rectify the omission.

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Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)

I never knew it was possible to fit five on a bike – and on closer inspection, there’s possibly a sixth rider – see the tiny whisp of a pink tshirt at the back?

Backpackers tend to travel from A to B on the back of a motorcycle rather than by taxi or tuk-tuk. Doing so was particularly thrilling in the crowded city of Ho Chi Minh, with the general zig-zagging style of navigating multiple lanes.

Note the toddler’s windswept motorcycle hairdo.

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Nha Trang: go hard or go home.

For backpackers, Nha Trang is famous for diving and getting absolutely wasted (not simultaneously but I wouldn’t be surprised if the feat has been achieved…)

I arrived around 7am after a horrendous night bus – it broke down and weren’t allowed to pee for hours and hours. By 9am my fantastic little travel posse – Romi, Paula, Adam and I – were ridiculously drunk. We only intended to take a quick swim after checking in at the hotel, but it was too hard to resist the seafood, icy cold beers and massages that kept appearing beside our beach towels. My lighter exploded in the hot sand and we thought it was hilarious… But it was nowhere near as funny as this guy, who pranced and danced the afternoon away after a strange performance of fully-clothed syncronised swimming. He knew he was the dude of the beach…

A word of warning though – about ten hours later, and obviously still wasted, Romi’s wallet -containing her passport – was snatched by a guy on a passing motorbike. It happened so quickly that even a sober gal couldn’t have avoided it. Nevertheless, it’s probably best to leave every smithering of a valuable in a locked backpack in your hotel room. Night crime is apparently pretty common

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Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)

I’ve never seen such a novel approach to book selling. Ha ha.

I’ve no idea how this woman managed to carry so many books and it puts regular door-to-door salespersons to shame.

Presumably sales are pretty good, or there wouldn’t be a need to carry so many books at a time.

I hope so anyway.

I did relieve her of one…

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Hoi An

A Vietnamese friend brought me to this beautiful beach in Hoi An and cooked a delicious lunch with a gigantic fish and a garnish I’ll never forget.

However one of my worst ever language stuff-ups occurred after the meal.

While attempting to say, “This meal was delicious,” what I actually said with a satisfied grin was, “I’m very horny.”

It put me off trying for a while.

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Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)

Technically speaking, this photo has nothing to do with Vietnam, except for the fact that the tattoo belongs to a nice young guy I met while travelling in Vietnam. I wish I could remember his name, but Facebook wasn’t invented back then so I lost contact with most of the people I met.I think it’s the lyrics to a Blind Melon song.

At any rate, hats off to his pain threshold…

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Hue

I guess this photo speaks for itself. The only thing I’ll add as an aside is that during university, I remember a lecturer telling us that Coca-Cola’s marketing aim is to become subliminal. That is, the company aims for us to see a reference to the brand every eight seconds of our lives – this would incorporate sightings of the brand that include a discarded Coke can on the street, a Coca-Cola sign above a shop, a person drinking it, a TV ad – and so on.

It’s one of those university facts I never forgot.

And it’s true that Coke follows me wherever I go, and although Coke Zero is supposed to ‘the man’s Coke’ (lest they be seen Diet-ing), I drink it more often than I probably should…

Cu Chi tunnels
Cu Chi tunnels

I shouldn’t have done this.  I wanted to know what it felt like to fire an AK-47 (bullets for the M-16 were quite a bit more expensive). It feels awful. Even though the semi-automatic is attached to the post, the kick-back was extraordinary and the sound grotesque.

Visiting the Cu Chi tunnels is an eerie experience, partly because while wandering through the jungle that was the base of the Vietcong’s Tet offensive in 1968 and contains a vast network of tunnels that apparently lead all the way to Laos, the sound of gunfire from this tourist shooting range can be heard.

As I crawled through the teeny-tiny tunnels (which have been widened for tourists), I very nearly had an attack of claustrophobia. I couldn’t make it the full 100 metres and exited after 50, though the tough-looking Italian guy ahead of me had to pull out right out at the beginning, so I had to back out and proudly re-enter. That said, at over six feet tall, the tunnels probably felt much smaller to him…

It’s difficult to comprehend how the Vietcong survived in those tunnels. It’s a place definitely worth visiting in Vietnam.

 

 

 

 

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Hoi An

I met this baby during my ‘horny lunch.’

Just looking into his eyes made my heart melt… And what a cute hat to match!

He should have been in a baby calendar… I guess he’d be seven-years-old now – surely a lady killer already

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Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)

Taking an uneducated guess, this nasty looking potion is possibly used for the purposes of virility.

Or long-lasting life?

At any rate, it was really expensive (not saying I bought it!) so I was lucky to be able to take a cheap shot without being asked to pay a fee, which sometimes happens.

I took the photo in a huge market in Ho Chi Minh, just before getting flowers painted on my toenails…

Each to their own 🙂

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