Vietnam – Shots from around Saigon.

We spent our last days in Saigon wandering around to get a taste of life in the city.

We went up to the cafe overlooking the city and had a beer while looking out over the river.

Vietnam – the intriguing floating market. Photos.

Every day a number of boats, both big and small, congregate in the middle of the river to sell and exchange goods. Little boats weave in and out negotiating deals. Goods are sold and exchanged.

You can get anything. It looked chaotic, bustling and quite dangerous but I didn’t see a single collision.

You could buy a stir fry, a coffee or a stick of fruit. People were cooking take-away meals in canoes. Some boats were stacked with melons, pineapples or vegetables, brought in from the countryside.

Life along the Saigon river – photos.

Taking a small outboard board to go a little way up the Saigon river can feel as if you are back in time. Surrounded with tropical forest with shacks in the clearings. There is plenty of wildlife and country folk going about their business. You would not believe that the bustle of Saigon was just a few minutes away.

Vietnam – Ho Chi Min City (Saigon) – the traffic – photos

The first thing you notice about Ho Chi Min City (Saigon) is the traffic. The roads are one mad rush of motorbikes. To cross the road is a nightmare. If you waited for a break in the traffic you’d be there all day. You have to walk across at a steady pace and allow the traffic to flow around you. It’s very nerve-racking the first few times but you get used to it and we didn’t get killed once!

The second thing you notice is crash hats. Sometimes whole families of five are on one motorbike. Little kids and babies clinging on. Often the parents are wearing crash hats but not the kids.

Then there’s the luggage and baggage. It is amazing how much can be transported on a little motorbike.

Journey Pt. 18 – Sigh and it’s Gone – Saigon – Ho Chi Min City Vietnam – Photos

Life on the ship is relaxed. There are lectures, time for reading, writing and contemplation, and time to relax in the heat, cool off in the pool and sip a beer while looking out over the sea. The cooks kept themselves amused by making sculptures out of the fruit.

We were not disappointed. There were lots of containers in the container port. I’m becoming an expert on derricks and cranes. We are docked in a commercial dock miles from anywhere so we jumped a taxi and headed off to the city. We have spent the day going around Ho Chi Min City (Sigh gone). In amongst the bustle and grime, the millions of motor cycles and street sellers, there are the remnants of the old beautiful colonial city. It has been knocked about and suffers from neglect and wanton destruction; there are far too many people, too much poverty and too much pollution. It is hot, humid and dirty but the people are friendly. We did our usual walking around, seeing the sights, temples, architectural delights and observing the people. Crossing the road and dodging scooters was interesting even though we had done it before. It still amazes me how whole families all fit on one little moped, how the adults wear helmets but not the kids, the colourful face-masks and shades. Quite unique.

The city is exploding as the population rises – they are planning big expansions but I think the charm is lost in the polluted haze.

It’s the same story the world over – too many people generating poverty and environmental catastrophe.

An interesting place to spend time in though.

Having been here before, we revisited the Post Office and Cathedral but gave the fabulous War Museum a miss. We visited two temples that we missed last time. I find the religious artwork colourful and fascinating, the sacred rocks, pruned trees and flowers have a spiritual pull.

We then strolled through the sculpture park and over to the fish market where live fish are displayed in bowls.

It was fascinating to discover a totally different Hindu Temple in the midst of Saigon.

We went up the tallest building to the Sky View, had a beer and looked out over the expanding expanse. Then we went back to the ship.

As we set off from our wonderful moorings in the Premier Saigon Container Port I was reflecting on the beauty of the surrounds – pylons, silos, derricks, rubbish heaps, wasteland, containers in a variety of colours, oil slicks, muddy brown water, jetsam, flotsam and garbage. Very picturesque.

I try to imagine what it will be like when the population has doubled and the fish have all been gobbled up.

This is how it used to look!

Gonna have an easy day tomorrow – sauna, swimming pool, Jacuzzi and a beer!!

It’s a hard life in this 32 degree heat.

Looming is Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Phuket – it is going to be a busy four days – then we’re heading for India!!

Today is the halfway point!! Still lots of amazing things ahead!