Goooood Morning Vietnam

Ross and I left Cambodia to move on to the bustling Ho Chi Minh City to start our exploration of our final SE Asian country, Vietnam. After a smooth bus ride across the Cambodian/Vietnamese border we arrived at our charming guesthouse near the city center in District 1. We only stayed for a couple of days and spent the majority of our time walking the city. We visited the War Remnants Museum, not for the faint of heart, the museum is a collection of aircraft from the Vietnam war, photos of the disfigurations Agent Orange caused to civilians, details of the tortures endured at the prison cells of Con Son Island, and an all around grizzly view of the long and painful war.

We also visited the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Jade Emperor Pagoda, and the French Gothic style Saigon Central Post Office where I had the joy of sending a package home. Not speaking the language and trying to mail something is a lesson in patience, we were there for a long time, but I did successfully get my package shipped, I think....

Christmas tree in the post office:

Blooming Ho Chi Minh

We also visited the bustling Cho Benh Thanh market, and sampled some Vietnamese ice cream trying not to melt in the intense heat. On a recommendation from our guesthouse we found a great open kitchen style Vietnamese restaurant with killer food. We liked it so much we went twice; amazing fresh springs rolls, Vietnamese rice pancakes and cold noodles with crunchy spring rolls with fish sauce, it was all amazing. The use of all the fresh herbs and greens is what makes this some of the best food we have had on the trip, we also sampled some great pho and drank some Bia Hoa (cheap local keg beer that costs a quarter) at the roadside setups.

Searching out one of the only green spaces in the city we woke up early to run in the nearby park, doing laps with the locals who practice Ti Chi and do group aerobics in the morning was a kick. We even made it to a yoga class, taught in english and full of expats. We had an awesome class in a beautiful space, I wish I could transport the little studio to Lakewood :)

All in all a fun whirlwind tour of the lively city, note the massive number of scooter drivers below! Crossing the street in Saigon is always a leap of faith. The key is to just start walking and don't stop.

We left Ho Chi Min City on a long overnight train to Da Nang and then grabbed a taxi to the quaint and charming city of Hoi An. Quite the opposite of crazy Ho Chi Minh City, we are loving the quiet streets and beautiful countryside, more to come on that.

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