Sunday, July 10, 2011

Vietnam - day 1

We landed in Ho Chi Minh City - formerly and and very much still known by the locals as Saigon.  Hot and humid as it was the beginning of the rainy season.
Mould encrusted statue - click for more detail!
First instructions from the guides?  The road rules in Vietnam are - there are no road rules.  Those traffic lights?  Just for decoration.  Want to cross the road - put up your right hand, look straight ahead, do not linger, do not rush, focus on the other side of the road and walk.

The traffic is truly chaotic.  Some bicycles, millions of motor bikes, lots of buses and very few pedestrians.  But somehow it all works and people get to where they want to.  Accidents?  Lots, but little is done about them - people tend to turn a blind eye and the legal system is so poor there's no point in trying to extract legal / criminal outcomes.

The afternoon's activities were a walking tour around the central city - Notre-Dame Basilica (constructed between 1863 and 1880, all building materials imported from France), Saigon Opera House, Central Post Office (designed and constructed by Gustave Eiffel in the early 20th century), central city parks - and then the amazing, death-defying cyclo ride around town and back to the hotel.

It is general practice, apparently, that prior to getting married, the affianced dress up and have their photos taken around town.  The images are then projected during the wedding celebrations.

Power supplies are not very well regulated - this is Vietnamese spaghetti.  It is truly of concern; later in outlying towns we were told people do not go outdoors during storms as it's highly likely power lines will fall.
Check the centre of the photo

One of many (recent) election posters

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