Friday, May 18, 2007

Another day in HCMC… we feel like we’re starting to get a good feel for the place. We’ve found the Pizza Hut, braved the large smelly market, and are even starting to gain a little confidence in crossing the street. Now that may not sound like a big deal to those of you who have never left the (relatively) controlled intersections and crosswalks of the United States, but even Manhattan is no match for the crazy traffic here in Saigon. I’d say at least 90% of the vehicles here are motorbikes, and maybe only a dozen streetlights exist in the whole city. Watching the flow of bikes, scooters, buses, bicycles and the occasional mobile fruit stand is almost like observing a mechanized dance of some sort. It’s probably not the most efficient or safe system, but it seems to work and we’ve seen very few accidents. We experienced our first rub with a bus today while taking a taxi to the laundromat ($8 for an entire suitcase full of clothes to be washed and ironed!), but even that was an intentional clash of wills and fenders. Crossing the street then usually means taking your life into your hands. You just have to wait for a little break in the flow, step out, and just keep walking. It’s so crazy and so intimidating at first that the government actually employs “tourist security” whose sole responsibility is to help us foreigners make our way across. I love those men in the green uniforms!
All of our walking around today wore poor little Reagan out, so we came back to the room early tonight and have been lucky enough to enjoy the sounds of the wedding reception taking place two floors up. Just imagine the tin-can, synthesized version of such songs as “Valentine” and “Sunrise, Sunset”, followed by Vietnamese techno and you’ll get the idea. Dan took an elevator ride upstairs to check it out and was surprised to find that the door opened directly into the heart of the party. One of the guests invited him to stay, and even introduced him to her friend who lives in “Cali” (since the state is so small and they just might run into each other one of these days), but he declined and we’re now getting ready to climb into bed to rest up for our tour to the Me Kong Delta tomorrow. We have the weekend free so we’re going to try to see as much of this beautiful country as we can!


Heather said...

Sounds like you guys are having a great time. Enjoy your tour tomorrow of the delta.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,

Finally able to look at your blog Laura and just love it. Congratulations to you all - Reagan is just beautiful, can't wait to see her though she may be in school by then. Thanks so much for keeping us all posted and love the pictures. Viet Nam looks beautiful.

Love, Arleen

Kim said...

You must be on the 7th floor! We were lucky to have that room. And we heard much of that music and karoke to boot! Gotta love it! Enjoy your tour, those are so wonderul to take!

Anonymous said...

Hi- Julie and I are in love with the picture of Dan and Reagan! what a love! Can't wait for you to be home Love- your favorite sister