Saturday, December 1, 2007

Day 1

From waking up on the 30th of November, rushing around getting last minute things and packing, then going to the airport to catch a 12:45 a.m plane (techinically Saturday) then an 8 hour flight from Melbourne to KL, then a 4 hour break, and another 2 hours to Saigon, I am really tired right now!
We arrived in Saigon in the morning, and due to the lack of sleep on the plane, this day has gone forever.
As soon as we stepped foot out of the airport, there was people everywhere, we all felt like celebrities. The weather is pretty hot and humid, but so far, barable.
From the airport we got a bus to take us to the hotel, and what a journey that was!
I have never seen so many close calls in one bus ride. There are motorbikes, push bikes, cyclo's, vans and buses EVERYWHERE! cutting each other off on the road and driving extremely close to each other. The sound of horns honking is non-stop, so everyone knows when there is someone nearby, which is a little annoying during the night.
Also, I needed to learn how to cross the road, yea, its nothing like Melbourne. At first I feared for my life, but in no time, I was jumping in front of traffic like a local, which sounds bad, but is actually quite normal. You basically walk across at a constant speed, and traffic just goes around you, because there is no hope for a break in traffic!
We arrived at the hotel around lunch time and had an hour to go settle into our rooms, then at 12:45 meeting for lunch. In that hour, whilst flicking through the tv channels, I somehow managed to fall asleep for a good half hour, only to wake up with 5 minutes to get down stairs and the tv remote on the floor.
For lunch, Phuong took us to a nearby resturant. For 45,000 Dong I got a rice and chicken meal with a can of coke, which works out to be about $3 Australian. The food here is all very fresh, and full of flavor. The taste of my meal is still lingering in my mouth, although probably not as much as some other membes of the group, who ate whole chilli's.... too extreme for me.
After that we took a walk around the market. Sales people are everywhere, they literally grab you'r arm and shove some sort of product in your face trying to make a sale. The only thing I spent money on there was spliting a slab of water with my room-mate Paco. Twelve 1.5 litre bottles of water cost us 60,000 Dong (30,000 each) which equates to about $2 each... for 9 litres of water each!

What a first day, a big culture shock. Very big differences compared to Melbourne, and a very interesting change of scenery.
Looking forward to seeing more of this very different and diverse place.
Unfortunely, I didnt bring my camera out today, but ill try to post more photos soon, you just have to see some of this traffic!
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