Thursday, June 3, 2010

And so it begins, We have arrived in Ho Chi Minh

Our flight from Dallas took off at noon Tuesday, and we arrived at our hotel in Ho Chi Minh at 12:30am on Thursday morning.  Calling this day long would not only be insufficient, but technically false.  Our trip took parts of 3 days down with it, as well as our sanity.  By our arrival at the hotel, I felt as though I was on a mild hallucinogen.  Kristin had cried twice.

I will start with our 15 hour plane ride from Dallas to Seoul.  First off, Korea Air is an amazing airline.  The food was interesting and tasted decent, the seats were comfortable with more space than the standard, and we had our own personal device to watch movies on.  We sat next to a young foreign exchange student from Seoul called Vivian, and she helped us construct our Korean dishes.  The plane flight was almost a complete success, save for the stale farts that lingered in the air, devastating our nasal palettes.  The worst thing about the stranger farts that hovered around us, was our unfortunate ability to make out the Korean Beef.  

But we were the fortunate ones.  Across the aisle, a young girl counted from 1 to 100, each time slamming her tray table into the seat in front of her.  When she was finished, she would start over from one.  The polite man in front of her silently took the abuse.  We turned up the volume and let the steel torpedo do its work.  Before we knew it, we had landed in Seoul.

Surprisingly, we saw quite a few decent mullets at the South Korea airport.  They seemed to be more functional and less ironic than their counterparts in the West, meaning, more natural and therefore majestic.  Majestic Mullets.  Our flight from Seoul to Ho Chi Minh was not so majestic.  It was one of those flights that you just survive and feel blessed when the wheels touch down.  All of our flights over Southeastern China seem to bear a teeth grinding burden. 

We walked out of Ho Chi Minh airport and into the humid summer night.  Ho Chi Minh is alive.  It is a city that pulses with energy.  Even after midnight, swarms of mopeds surged around on the endless streets.  At the airport, we hired a Chinese driver, and he seemed to take the red lights into consideration, but only as an encouragement to speed up.  We finally arrived at our hotel in district one, The Mini Hotel Saigon #5.  We slid into bed, allowing the cacophony of honks at the ground level to lull us into sleep.  We slept harder than Michael Anesthesia Jackson.

We rose at 7am to greet Vietnam's southern capital.  After complimentary omelets, we played real life Frogger for most of the day.  Crossing streets in this city is a daunting task.  One must trust the flow of things and not fight it.  If one commits to moving forward, then one better keep moving forward.  Sudden Movements create problems.  We have been trying to stand side by side therefore reducing our collective target size.  It is hairy stuff folks.  We had a great day, just exploring and eating delicious Vietnamese food.  We had pho twice, which is the most famous Vietnamese dish.  It is vermicelli noodles with a broth and chicken, fish, beef, yak, snake, frog, or whatever is around.  We stuck with chicken.  In the evening, Kirstin got a $3 massage, and we met an awesome couple and their son.  The couple lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, but were originally from Dallas.  We had a great time visiting with them and their son.

Sorry about getting this up late, we accidentally took a 5 hour nap today.  Here is our comings and goings: 
 Our bags of water for the long flight (10)

 We saw a bunch of troops get off a plane to a standing ovation, very cool

 Our home on Korea Air

 In flight meal, which luckily we had Vivian to assist us with 

 Hot "Paste" for the rice

 Boo taking a nap with a tired Korean Air worker in the background, also sleeping

 Tweet and some homeless drunk

 When we walked out of our hotel, immediately, we saw some uniformed officials tackling a moped rider.  It was extremely intense.  Here they are crashing.

 The officials move in 

 Apprehension, what on odd way to start our day.

 The street our hotel is on.  We just started walking west.

 Cross this street

 We have been very impressed by the cleanliness of Ho Chi Minh.  Here a man contributes.

 September 23 Park, we came back at night and this area was filled with people dancing or kicking around a shuttlecock like thing 

 A busy Saigon roundabout 

 These mopeds are all over the place 

 An old Vietnamese lady on the bike slowly crossing the street 
 The entrance to Ben Thanh Market 

 A typical corner scene 

 All of the streets are just lined with small shops and people squatting 

 A very Beautiful scene at People Committee Hall

Old and New

Me, Ready for Action

Opera House

 Kristin bought a drink from this lady.  It was damn good.
 A luxury mall.  Ho Chi Minh is the engine for Vietnamese development.

 What a luxury Vietnamese mall looks like 

 TBP (to be planted)

 These are the phone booths in the extremely nice post office

 Post Office with portrait of Ho Chi Minh 

 Little toys, I refrained from purchasing 

 Gorgeous Architecture for a Post

 Phone Booths and Map

 Cathedral of Notre Dame 

 Take 2

 These ladies are everywhere with food and drinks for sale.

 Ho Chi Minh has alot of wires 

 These wires are open and probably very dangerous 


 This guy shouted Hello at us 

 We were walking along and heard an awful noise and this thing almost fell on us from above.

 I cannot stress how many mopeds fill these streets 

 Petrol Station

 The Market.  We stopped in here to look for some food.  The dried seafood drove us away.

 Very Fragrant Shrimp

 Fruit Stand 

 Kristin's Lunch - Chicken and Broc


 Pho is a very popular Vietnamese dish

 You put this stuff in your Pho for added delight

  A club

 Some guys kicking around a shuttle cock looking thingakaboob

 Night Market 


 Cantonese Fried Rice 

 More Pho

 Ready Set
Texas BarBQ and Steaks

More Night Market

This place runs an upstairs massage parlor, Kristin got her feet rubbed for 3 bucks

Good Night


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