It is at night and I am not sure if I should continue on to Saigon. Part of me wants to play Warcraft 3, the other part wants to sleep (although I have no want of it at all), just so that I can set my body clock straight and get up early to work tomorrow.

Meanwhile, indecision means, continue!

Getting there

At Moc Bai... the Vietnamese had a spanking new immigration complex which made us go "wow"... this is their new found prosperity.

First. You don't need a freaking visa to enter Vietnam... not even if you have an Indonesian passport... apparently it's 30 days for everyone... not 14! *mutter*

I had completely no dong on me. It was 37 degrees or so... real hot season stuff... the guide on the bus was really nice... speaking earnest English... salt of the earth kind... in general.. I would come to have that impression of the South Vietnamese, mostly honest people trying to make a decent living.

We arrived in Saigon earlier than expected... as the roads in Vietnam were much better. We headed off to the backpacker's district at Pham Ngu Lao. Now... most of the cities in Vietnam would have the same recurring street names (well isn't that the case in many countries anyway).

We got a decent room, and we started to explore the city. I was looking for a church considering I hadn't been to one since I went on the trip... there was a nice one outside the area... and Vietnam is 10% Catholic, thanks to the French, so I didn't really have trouble finding one.

Saigon is absolutely bustling! Plenty of motorbikes... and you know those pictures with girls in ao dais scooting around are not fake! Schoolgirls wear them in Vietnam, and they're incredibly sexy!

Also... plenty of Communist posters around... in preparation for, wait, guess what, the 30th anniversary of the liberation of Saigon.

We went to the Central market at Ben Thanh and also did some minor shopping... I changed some dong, which gave me a false sense of wealth... considering I was a millionaire in that currency. We were also afraid of bird flu, so we tried not to eat anything with chicken in it.

We checked out the Reunification Palace, the gates of which were rolled over by a North Vietnamese tank in a grandiose act of symbolism in 1975. Saigon was also full of parks... and little lovebirds all around... I got a sense that the standard of living, in the sense of amenities was pretty good in this city... not another shitty claustrophobic city which I though Bangkok was. We also went to the Notre Dame (the Vietnamese Incarnation)... nice architecture, but all the stained glass got blown away.

We walked all the way to the waterfront too... but the Saigon river was pretty unimpressive. However, there was an impressive statue of Tran Hung Dao, who, according to Lip Jin, was a really smart navy chap who repelled Chinese invaders with bamboo stakes in the 15th century... and thus they named a street next to a sea or river after him in every major city in Vietnam.

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