Out of Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City

We arrived in Ho Chi Minh City just in time for one of two Independence Day celebrations, and there were Vietnamese flags absolutely everywhere. We were assured more than once that this was not an every day thing, and the flags would be gone soon. Roundabout? Circle? The view from the hotel roomHotel room view All over Vietnam there was graffiti, but Ho Chi Minh City had the most intricate, and the largest, and simply the most.She and her sisters down the block wouldn't stop staring. More Independence decorations.Again, perspective fucker-wither. Batman’s face.I regret only that I didn't stick around for the show. Rented a scooter and got to play in traffic some more. It’s surreal being on two wheels in this kind of crowd.Stuck in traffic We visited the Emperor Jade Pagoda, which was an oasis in the middle of a dense metropolis.Temple guest One way to remember family members was lighting incense for them Another was writing on a turtle. Then back into traffic. Street lights are still new to most of Vietnam, but they are mostly obeyed in the city, and ignored elsewhere.Just pretend they're all gunning the engine and shooting each other sideways glances, waiting for the green. There are repercussions for not obeying.Running into traffic to grab a dude on a scooter and write a ticket for...something. I have no idea what, and I stuck around. And living on two wheels requires planning. By the time it rained, we had planned to park, and were inside a coffee shop watching those unfortunate folks caught in the deluge. The coffee was so strong I grew chest hair before I payed the bill.Problem solvers Interspersed in the scooter and bicycle traffic were one or two cars. What shocked me is how frequently they were Bentleys.Fuckin Bentley ruined my picture of City HallMostly, they were scooters. This is a sidewalk-turned-parking lot outside an office building.
This is a pay lot Ho Chi Minh City at night. The LED flag on the center building was “waving” all night. On the right…HCMC from the ground…is the Bitexco FInancial Tower. We’d be heading to floor 52, home of exactly two things: one bar, and one helipad.
Room with a view But what a view! The single-story unlit rectangle right of center is the central market in Ho Chi Minh City, and is more intense than the traffic. You will be offered pants.The best view of Ho Chi Minh City possible, and its a bar! It’s like a black hole of grassroots commerce.Single-story market of accostomania.Back to daytime. Pretty much anything is legal on the roads, so there are some sweet hack jobs.Big RigLots of hack jobs means lots of parts stores. Here’s a typical scooter parts shop.
Crowded parts shop!I giggled.
YOK YOK YOK I stared in amazement. Cherry picker: $45,000. Rope and pulley: Priceless I was only allowed in the right two lanes.Lane assignments!I found out that Lambretta, much like Land Rover and Jaguar, is owned by an Indian conglomerate.
Dealership! But really, those Bentleys are everywhere.Weird traffic in Saigon I chickened out. Get it?Interesting drinks, too. Not as strong as the coffee.Short Round! Also not as strong as the coffee. In the center of Ho Chi Minh City is a large park, which is constantly populated with people exercising, playing games, or just relaxing. There are sculptures everywhere, running the gamut of styles. We wandered between them, all the while our footsteps punctuated with 20-30 person exercise groups chanting and keeping time.Thumbtack! Dragon Bush. Does not shoot fire. That would be cool, though. Punching rocks not recommended Unless you do it right Then back into traffic. One more night of pacing the shop-lined streets, and it was a 12-hour flight home.Parting shot. The only reminder in Saigon that I was anywhere near the ocean. Labelled as artichoke tea.

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~ by horizonmanifest on February 2015.

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