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October 01, 2004


I have been travelling for approximately six weeks now and today I am a bit sad. Not because my travelling experiences haven't been fabulous but my Dad came to Saigon to visit me for four days and he is currently on his way to the airport to catch a flight home.

This is my very first entry (well, excluding the bio) so I have alot of backward blogging to do. For all of you who don't know me, excuse my awful writing and jumbled thoughts. I am primarily writing this blog for friends and family to keep them up to date with my journey and reassuring them that I am safe and "yes I am really having a good time!" and "No, I am not lonely". However, I hope to include details of my travels that will inspire would-be-travels (especially those who are currently too scared to venture out and do it on their own) and include interesting tips and stories of places where I have been for those already on the road.

Ho Chi Minh/ Saigon has been my home for the last five days. As previously mentioned my Dad has been here with me. And aren't Dad's wonderful! I left the backpacking world behind me and having been staying in a rather flash hotel and eating in restaurants three times a day. (The waistline expanded this week!) I have had a HOT shower for five days straight now, and when I am thirsty, I simply stroll across the room (yes it was big enough to stroll across) and open up a fridge with a variety of beverages and after being out all day, I get back and my bed has been made and a fresh towel or two has been laid out neatly. Now this is the best about 6pm, we get a knock on the door and a smiling man comes in and turns the beds down! I thought that was very lucky coz after all the fantastic Vietnamese food I have been ingesting I am not sure I would have been able to manage it. Six weeks ago, none of this would have impressed me. I wouldn't say backpacking has lowered my standards, as much as it has made me realise how little I can live on and how little I need to have a fabulous time. All the other fluff doesn't seem to be important or affect the fun level. (It was still great for a week though!)

Saigon has definitely been my favourite large South East Asian city so far. (So thats beating Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Denpasar). Much of the architecture has a French feel to it but the city still retains it's busy Asian flair. The traffic is fabulous! I could watch it all day. As far as I can tell there are no road rules. Basically the hundreds of motorcycles and scooters, which carry up to five helmet-less passages play dodge with taxis and other cars. I haven't seen a crash yet which I think must be a statistical mishap. An expat American whom I met in Bali where the traffic is only slightly less chaotic, told me that he doesn't ride a scooter, he simply plays a computer game a couple of times a day.

Dad and I had a great time. We are actually very similar and in-depth conversations about the latest politics or other current issues takes up alot of our time. Although I have absolutely adored meeting new people, it is nice getting to the nitty gritty of a topic with no chance of offending someone! We did the mandatory Chu Chi Tunnel Tour, which for half a day only cost US$4 (next door to our flash hotel the same tour was US$20!) and visited the War Remnants Museum. Both were extremely interesting. I am a bit of a history buff, so learning about the Vietnam War in Saigon is a real buzz.

Anyway, I have been sitting in this internet cafe for two and half hours now.......I might go back to my hostel and have a shower before venturing out into another Saigon night. I hope the water is hot!

Posted by Jenni on October 1, 2004 04:51 PM
Category: Vietnam
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