Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City Day 1

Today was another big travel day (every other day is, we're covering a lot of ground in a short period of time) so first thing in the morning we left Chau Doc for the capitol of South Vietnam, Saigon. Of course it should be noted that "South" Vietnam no longer exists and the city was renamed Ho Chi Minh City before I was even born.

The bus ride was supposed to take 7 hours but thanks to it being a Sunday we were able to zip through in about 5. We stopped for lunch but had to wait around a while since our bus broke and we had to wait for a mechanic to come, in the pouring rain no less, to come fix it. Thankfully we weren't delayed more than 45 minutes or so. Also thankfully, Marv didn't order the eel for lunch, as we saw where the poor little buggers were being kept, awaiting their destiny on a plate.

I never would have pegged Marv for an animal rights activist, thanks to his insatiable appetite for all things once alive, but these poor birds - still alive, tied at the feet, and dangled upside down for sale as dinner - struck a cord with PETA's newest member.

So the 'ol softie coughed up $1 USD to buy one (he was expecting the whole bunch for that price, when in reality a local probably would have gotten such a deal) and set the little fella fee. See how cute he is?

Unfortunately for Mr. Bird his wings appeared to be clipped and he couldn't escape the tree he was set free in. So, odds are by now he's become the tasty treat of a cat or dog, instead of a human. At least we can blame that on the food chain.

I watched the season finale of Glee on the bus and cried my way through the whole damn episode. I don't know what it is about that show but man am I an emotional wreck when I watch it. Anybody else? I hope I'm not a freak. It's so, so awesome.

Once we got to HCMC (I'm too lazy to type it out from here on out) we took a quick trip through the market closest to our hotel. I've got to be honest, after the 200th market you feel like you've seen them all, especially when luggage space doesn't allow for many purchases. They're hotter than the center of the sun and stink to high heaven thanks to the raw food section of the market. Not to mention this one was quite touristy and expensive, though it took a good among of will power for me to step away from the gorgeous grey Marc Jacbos handbag, which is about as authentic as Heidi Montag's triple D's.

Then it was time to meet our new tour members, or The Newbs as I have come to call them. We've got 2 British couples, 2 British girls (who came together) and 2 German guys (who came together). I was scared I'd feel like the old lady who lived in her shoes being on this tour in a couple but we're one of many so I don't feel bad at all. Marv & I don't even bother sitting together at meals anymore...there's more interesting people to talk to - ha!

Then it was off for some hello/goodbye drinks to see the old group members out and The Newbs in. We found a place with 2-for-1 beers but the catch is you have to walk up 5 flights of stairs to get the deal. So walk we did!

In one night Marv tried local red wine, whisky, rum (spelled rhum) and vodka and, amazingly, was able to get up the next morning and walk upright. The best of the 4 being the r(h)um and the worst the "disgusting" Dalat red wine.

Blasphemy, there's no such thing as bad red wine!

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