Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

I am back in the wonderfully mad and colourful city of Saigon for a few days before travelling to the island of Phu Quoc; with a recorded number of over 2 million scooters and motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh City, the place is constantly alive to the symphony of small engines, hooters and the squealing of brakes and pedestrians………..crossing any road is initially a pretty scary experience, but you soon get the hang of it; you cannot wait for a break in the traffic, it just doesn’t happen, so you step off the kerb having looked both ways (especially in one way streets, perverse, yes, essential, definitely) once on the road you must walk quite slowly and at an even pace……..they will avoid you so long as you allow them to, which means not walking very quickly, not stopping and under no circumstances taking a step backwards………..

This visit I have taken to using motorbike or scooter “taxis”……….they are everywhere, faster than a normal taxi, they supply you with an ill fitting crash helmet, because it is law  to wear one here, and surprisingly enough it is a law that appears to be strictly adhered to…………..  they are cheap as chips, safe (ish) and  extremely exhilarating……

They come at you from all directions, and don’t be fooled by the “Crossing” painted on the road, it is a flagrant waste of resources………..I believe that it might even be illegal for vehicles to stop at it……..

 

Anti-pollution masks have gained rapid popularity here, spawning many small cottage industries producing them in all imaginable colours………….

 

 

 

Breakfast at the Vien Dong hotel where I am staying was a shambles on my first morning, so I have been taking breakfast from this wonderful woman’s mobile fruit stall; I find her somewhere not far from the hotel at 7 in the morning and have seen her still pushing her little business around at 7 in the evening when I have gone to dinner………smiling and laughing all the time as she exchanges banter with people on the street…………

I couldn’t help thinking how great it would be if you could distill her attitude and work ethic and send it to the thousands in the UK that think they deserve to be given four hundred quid a week for doing nothing, because they consider most work to be too menial for them……sorry, I promised myself that I would not voice such opinions, but when I see somebody working so hard to support her family and to try and give her kids a better future, and all done with a smile on her face…………….well, I’ve said it now !!

Above and below, roadside beauty treatments…………….

No low bridges on the way home, I assume……………

The choice is up to you, because they come in two classes………….Rhinestone shades or cheap sunglasses …………..ZZ Top

The centre of Saigon is beautifully clean with lots of palm trees offering their shade as shelter from the hot sun………and a lovely old French colonial building below: Vietnam was, of course, a French colony up until the start of the second world war……..

I had always believed that I looked quite “cool” on a scooter………this belief was brutally exposed as a misconception today, when I saw, below, what it is really like to look “cool” on a scooter…………….problem is, I just haven’t got the legs for it…………..

4 thoughts on “Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

    • Undoubtedly……….and no prizes for guessing the colour of her underwear…………attention to detail is so important to the cool cats !!

  1. Good to see what you’re up to. Love the photos and Breakfast from the street vendor looks mighty fine! Enjoy and take care….

    • Thanks Donard……….glad to know that you’re keeping an eye on me……..I haven’t forgotten about the Malojian music links, I just haven’t had enough decent wi-fi to give them a listen………