Sunday, 5 January 2014

Do not stop, do not run, show no fear

That's the new rule of crossing the street in what seems like a chaos to a westerner that is the Saigon traffic!

After a real long journey, I am finally in Vietnam! Malaysia Airlines, I must say, have exceeded my expectations: nice plane, seemed quite modern, no delays, the flight attendants seemed a bit grumpy, but were polite and satisfied all the requests (mostly those for water, tea, and snack). And they have a good selection of movies (watched The Butler, Avatar, and My Week With Marilyn), and nice personal movie screens, and usb chargers!!! :) 

Saigon seems like a nice city, but nothing particularly exciting. Except for maybe the coffee... The coffee here is amazing!! They put a bit of the sweet condensed milk at the bottom of a cup, and put a filter on top, and pour water. It then takes 5 mins to brew/filter. What comes out is the most flavourful coffee I've ever tasted. It's a small (size of maybe double espresso, maybe a bit more) quite strong coffee. We drank it over ice as it's hot and humid here, and iced coffee is just what the doctor ordered! :))

"We" is the girls on the trip. We managed to find each other still in the airport, and it was nice to have company for the first day here even before the group meets. First, we went to eat Pho Bo at Pho 2000 - Pho for President (Bill Clinton ate there once), then walked around central Saigon and drank coffees! 

Saigon is quite a "developed" city for being a part of a communist country: we for example have spotted such shops as Armani, Bvlgari, Versace, and Playboy. (Yes, I said Playboy!)

Everyone's exhausted! It seems like it's been 48 hours without any sleep. Flying out to Asia takes so long, and one loses so much time in the time difference, one stops to know what day of the week it is here or back home. (We left on Saturday morning, and I'm only going to bed Sunday night... Or so I believe ;-)

And yes, the traffic rules! It seems crazy here: people on scooters, a lot of them. With kids, with babies, with dogs, little kids sometimes have what seems like a child's stool set up in front of the parent on the scooter (similar to those that our restaurants give out to customers with toddlers). Max people on 1 scooter we've spotted: 5! (3 of them were children). And they all just move, often ignoring traffic lights or other road participants. The latter is not true however... The main rule: do not stop, do not run, show no fear! Then they  factor you in into their trajectory and drive around you! Simples! And it works like magic!

Tomorrow is another day! Time to re-sync with time and sleep here! Ciao!

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