A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: DavidPearlman

Ho Chi Minh City-The Gruesome and the Retro

Yesterday, I left the hostel after breakfast and went to two different places. First of all, I went to War Remnants Museum. The Museum started off showing the now-standard display of captured US Aircraft and tanks on the outside. On the inside, some bombs and other weapons we're on display. Then they started a photo exhibit of horrible horrible things that the Americans did. They showed a captured Vietnamese man being thrown from a flying helicopter. Another showed their bodies being dragged by a tank. Another picture showed posing American serviceman with Vietnamese skulls and their decapitated bodies.

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The next exhibit showed spraying Agent orange, and other deadly gasses. One gas was called "The Purple People Eater". Pictures of a plane spraying the deadly gasses. Then seemingly hundreds of pictures of victims. A man with lots of boils on his face, kids of those affected with no legs, Siamese twins, folks with abnormal faces, one girl who had to be kept in a cage like enclosure because she tried to eat everything she encountered.

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The exhibit was horrible, just horrible. There was also a display of the anti-war demonstrations in various countries. The exhibits we're juxtaposed with folks selling types of clothing, books and other souvenirs.

I was at the museum for a few hours, then I went to lunch and went to the Reunification Palace, which was built in the 1960's in the 60's modernist style, and was the former capital building of South Vietnam. The building looks like it did the day it was surrendered. The Presidents bedroom, meeting rooms, chambers, dining rooms,-all in the 70's Mad-Men like style. There is a ballroom on the roof with a helicopter pad. I also saw the bunker underground, with communications rooms with rotary dial phones. switchboards, radios for broadcasting, and an emergency bedroom and office. It was very interesting.

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It was about 5:00 by the time I returned to the hostel. I took a nap, and then went downstairs for the free beer at 7:00. (The hostel gives you a free beer between 7 and 8). As I went I was talking to an Indian Guy who had a nice jacket, and a girl that came around from New Zealand, who showed me great pictures of Antarctica, where she used to work as a naturalist. I then walked around and had some cheap dinner at a market. I walked around the market and got back around 10 pm, when I went to bed.

Posted by DavidPearlman 04:56 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Vietnam-Goodbye Dalat and Hello Uncle Ho

Yesterday, I had breakfast and left the hostel in Dalat. I was only in Dalat for one night, but I didn't plan on being there longer. The ride from Hoi An to Ho Chi Manh would have been more then 20 hours long, which would have been too long. One night in Dalat seemed to be enough. The city was interesting with it's Alpine trees and hills-but most folks at the hostel we're into hiking, motorbike riding. I am more of a city person.

So at 11:00 am yesterday, I took a van to another sleeper bus to Ho Chi Manh-my final overnight destination on this trip. Once again, I was on the top row of sleepers. While it was uncomfortable, It was different on the bus during the day. I was able to read, and didn't sleep too much. i saw how agonizingly slow the bus was going-behind trucks, scooters, etc.

After two rest breaks, the bus stopped at 6:30 pm, and I transferred to a small mini bus, which took me to a bus station which was supposedly across the street from my new hostel. The bus actually dropped me about 4 blocks away, but by using the address I was able to find the hostel.

The new hostel was a party of hostel, it seemed. They had a barbecue for about $4.00-because I hadn't eaten all day, and it was all you can eat, including a mixed drink-I partaked and pigged out on meats, fish, shrimp, etc.

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After dinner, I walked around a bar street just behind the hostel-there was loud music blaring from clubs, girls promoting massages, etc. I got tired and returned to the hostel about 11 and read a little bit. Most others we're planning on heading out-since many British foks we're here to watch their team on the world cup.

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Posted by DavidPearlman 18:23 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Vietnam-Daily Dalat and the Crazy House

]Here in Dalat, the climate and topography is different then other parts of Vietnam, such as Hoi An, where I was the day before. Hoi An is mainly flat with tropical foliage, and tropical temperatures, as is much of Vietnam. Dalat looks more like Colorado, with big pine trees and hills. The weather is also different. It was colder-in the 60's, which wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't rainy. So it is cold and rainy here.

I used Goggle Maps to find the hostel. I don't really like using Goggle Maps-I prefer a paper map because that allows me to look at signs, and look at the streets and people as opposed to just my phone. But like other times-Google Maps worked perfectly and saved me, Along the way, I met one of the girls I had drinks with in Hoi An, so we talked a little bit.

After checking into the hostel, I couldn't sleep-so I took a walk through the rainy blocks to the Crazy House. The house was designed by the daughter of a Vietnamese President, who also happens to be an architect, and was designed to showcase the interaction with nature. There are strange scultured rooms that look like the inside of giant trees, and great very thin catwalks and staircases that go between the rooms. It was strange. It took about an hour to view the entire property, which was quite crowded. I also learned that this property is a hotel, and people can stay here If they want.

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After the Crazy House, I followed a map down a hill to the center of town, and it started to rain heavier. I found a place for lunch, which served good noodles and eel soup, and stayed in there for a long time while I waited for the rain to clear. I then continued walking down the hill towards town, and found the market with lots of shops.. I was still hungry, so I had a donut. I then had to use the bathroom, but I found a fast food restaurant called Lotteria, and bought a 25 cents ice cream so I could use the bathroom.

I walked along a little more, and I Found a $2.50 buffet-the primary serving's were all sorts of dried fruits, bread with jelly, candies, tea, and ice cream. I stopped there and ate as well, once again to stay out of the rain. I was full after a while.

After the Crazy House, I followed a map down a hill to the center of town, and it started to rain heavier. I found a place for lunch, which served good noodles and eel soup, and stayed in there for a long time while I waited for the rain to clear. I then continued walking down the hill towards town, and found the market with lots of shops.. I was still hungry, so I had a donut. I then had to use the bathroom, but I found a fast food restaurant called Lotteria, and bought a 25 cents ice cream so I could use the bathroom.

I walked along a little more, and I Found a $2.50 buffet-the primary serving's were all sorts of dried fruits, bread with jelly, candies, tea, and ice cream. I stopped there and ate as well, once again to stay out of the rain. I was full after a while.

After the Crazy House, I followed a map down a hill to the center of town, and it started to rain heavier. I found a place for lunch, which served good noodles and eel soup, and stayed in there for a long time while I waited for the rain to clear. I then continued walking down the hill towards town, and found the market with lots of shops.. I was still hungry, so I had a donut. I then had to use the bathroom, but I found a fast food restaurant called Lotteria, and bought a 25 cents ice cream so I could use the bathroom.

I walked along a little more, and I Found a $2.50 buffet-the primary serving's were all sorts of dried fruits, bread with jelly, candies, tea, and ice cream. I stopped there and ate as well, once again to stay out of the rain. I was full after a while.

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After a while, the lack of sleep the night before (From taking the sleeper bus) started to catch up with me, and I made the long walk back to the hostel.

I took a nap, and woke up to a family style dinner-where we had good food. I had trouble carrying on a conversation-since I don't think they wanted to talk to someone their father's age, and I didn't know anything about the World Cup, which is what everyone took about. I did learn all those Thai kids in the cave we're rescued, which is good.

After dinner, I took a long walk to the night market, which is by the big market I was at earlier. It was busy-and the rain stopped. There we're lots of the usual stuff for sale in Vietnam-fake North Face clothes, and others. I was tempted, but I didn't have much room in the suitcase.

I walked back to the hostel, and returned to be around 11:00 pm. I was first in the room to bed.

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Posted by DavidPearlman 18:59 Comments (0)

Vietnam-Morning Dalat

Yesterday, was the last day in Hoi An, and I didn't do too much. I took a long walk through the old town, and looked at the various shops. I had lunch at the market, and then had another lunch across the street from the hostel of Pho.

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I waited a few hours for the 5:30 bus to Dalat-which was approximately a 13 hour ride. A small van picked me and several others up at various hostels around town, and drove us to the sleeper bus.

The bus was the same as the last long trip-beds on upper and lower levels, and three across. This time, I had a better seat-I had an upper bed once again, but it was near the window, so I can at least lean to one side without worrying about falling over, and I don't think there was a bathroom on the bus, so nobody came by and jostled me.

After about an hour-the bus stopped for a bathroom break-although there was no bathroom. Everyone, including the girls onboard who had to go, did it on the side of the road.

A few hours later, we stopped at a rest area for food, drinks and bathroom as well.

I actually think I got less sleep on this ride There we're bumps everywhere on the road. I felt every bump. I still had my big camera big between my knees. There was a small pillow, but it dropped to the floor sometime during the ride-and I didn't feel like climbing down the ladder to pick it up. I had to wait till the bus made a stop to pick it up (the bus made random stops for some reason-I am not sure if anyone got on or off).


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Posted by DavidPearlman 19:12 Comments (0)

Hoi an Vietnam-Riding a Bike and finally meeting My Son

Yesterday, I had a trip planned to My Son (which is called Me Sun) which picked me up at the hostel at 7:30 am. My Son was developed by the Champa people in Vietnam from the late 4th until the 13th centuries, and a series of Hindu Temples, located here because of being on the mountain, and near the streams. We took the hour ride to My Son, in the van. The ride consisted of 2 50'ish Polish couples, a young New Zealand Couples, and some single folks from Australia and England.

I was sitting in one the first row of passenger seats on the van-and the guide started talking immediately. It was too early to listen to him, as I hate speakers in van/bus rides-but this was too early.

After about an hour, we took a ride up the mountain to My Sun. We got in a electric tram, which took us to the sites.

The first set of sites we're in ok shape. There was generally a temple, which could only be visited by monks, and a meditation house up front. We could see the various Hindu symbols. There was a large symbol for man and woman in front of each temple.

Other sites we're not in such good shape, and some we're just ruins, largely in part to the Vietnam war.

After a few hours looking the temples, it started to get really hot out, and we got back in the van to go to lunch. The lunch was supposedly at someone's house-but this house had retail coolers of beer and soda would could purchase. in any case, it was a big lunch, with rice patties we rolled up with banana pancakes and lettuce and dipped in sauce. There was some salad and dragonfruit for dessert. It was good.

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Returned to the hostel around 1:30 pm, and not sure what to do. I wanted to go to the beach, and it seemed like a look way away-so I rented a bike-which was cheap enough for the afternoon (about a dollar). I got on the old bike (uneasily), and started riding through town. I remembered why I don't ride bikes more often-i don't enjoy it. the peddaling is unpleasant, I don't like it.

After town, the road came upon wide open fields, and a man lying on his buffalo was waiting at the beginning of the field. As per my instructions from the photo class the day before, I started to talk to him . He put me on the buffalo, and made me pay for it. All I wanted to do was take pictures of him. Some cute girl came over and started taking pictures of the buffalo to. He didn't put her on or make her pay, and her boyfriend was across the road.

I continued on the bike a ways longer-and came to a town with the beach. The beach was sunny and bright with bamboo huts. I rode around a while more. I enjoyed a fresh bottle of water. Then I decided to ride back to town, which took about an hour I guess. I stopped in the field again to take another pic of my friend with the buffalo (since i paid for it).

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I returned the bike about 4:00 pm a hot, sweaty, dripping mess. I took a shower in the hostel (across the street from the bike rental), and took a long nap.

After a refreshing nap-I walked back into the crowds in town, and took some pictures. I had dinner of street food, and watched the lightning in the sky.

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Posted by DavidPearlman 18:45 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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