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We arrived in Vietnam on a Thursday night to streets fuller than full of motorbikes and colorful helmets on their riders.

Helmets and Bikes

It was a busy evening on the roads with it taking more than 30 minutes to travel 10km to our hotel.  We have checked in at The Lavender, a place I would highly recommend staying as its lovely and. Comfortable with free WiFi and great service.  After checking in we headed to the restaurant for some local beer and dinner.  Luke an I both opted for western cuisine (a burger and a club sandwich) as we knew it would likely be our last before jumping into vast culinary adventures.

Edit: this next part was written later:

We are in the car driving back to Saigon from a little island we stayed on yesterday.  So far the trip has been pretty great.  Most of the food in this country is seriously good which is great of course.  Though we all got perhaps a bit too adventurous yesterday with a few things so today at least I am planning on having pizza or a sandwich. Note- this didn’t happen…

Our first full day here we went to the Cu Chi tunnels which were pretty amazing.  Luke even was game enough to crawl in and take a picture of a bat in one.

Luke taking pictures of bats in the tunnel IMG_3404

He and I and Graeme followed the guide through one about 20 yards long which was slightly more harrowing than imagined.  They are very dark and narrow and small and they weave around a lot so you are never sure when they will end.  Amazing I don’t know how they could live like that and much less have both sides fighting in them.  Even short people would have to stoop.  I was bent about in half to walk through.

We also went to a museum that day with planes and old propaganda posters etc.  I wasn’t a big fan.  Must be the American in me.

Yesterday we took a boat ride on the upper river in the Mekong Delta.  About 3 hours or so floating around took us to a small channel where we hopped in a four seat row-boat with a local lady who stood up at the back with really long paddles and pushed us through the tiny canals for about a half hour.  I bet she felt tired just looking at our lot and was grateful when we got out.  It was fun though and she gave us little pointy hats to wear and everything.


We also went and saw how coconut candy gets made and how they make popcorn rice and turn them into sweet cakes which was pretty cool.

Popped Rice

And I made rice paper very poorly.  It was fun though.

Making Rice Paper

Had a nice lunch too before hopping on another boat to get us to the island we are driving back from now. They carved cool things out of veggies too to decorate the plates.

The little buckets actually moved

The little buckets actually moved

Oh yeah the weird stuff.. At the candy place they also make rice wine homemade 45 proof and they use it almost medically.  We tried plain then soy but rice wine and then some with banana seeds had soaked in it… That one was kind of like brandy.  They were all terrible but the one that takes the cake was fermented snake, black pelican and scorpion wine.  They think it will cure a back ache if you have a cup before every meal.  I about passed out from the fumed of my 1/32 of a teaspoon.

Snake, pelican and scorpion wine

Ew!  Fun though.  We also tried cooked snake for dinner which tastes like really screwy chicken. I’m pretty sure if you were served it and didn’t know you would think you were eating chicken.

Anyway that was the end of that adventure.  Today we went to the worlds largest floating market which was cool and now were going back to Saigon to catch a flight to a new town.  The drive is about 5 hours.

Floating Market IMG_3888