A quick impersonal rundown from the rest of the week:
Up early and went to vietnam visa issuing place to have my visa extended only to fill out forms then be told I had to go an do it through a travel agent even though travel agent said to do it directly. Feeling like im on a ferris wheel going round in circles! Ended up getting visa sorted for $35 and could pick up the next day. I think it is a bit of a racket 'cos if the visa place had given it to me in the morning it would have been $10. Decided to take a look around town a bit. Headed to fine arts museum which pretty limited and run down. I guess art is a bit bourgeois for the commies. Walked to the market and had a poke around. I was offered the same t-shirts by half the stalls I dont think originality is their specialty. Found some cheap food though and checked out all the live fish, crabs and the like in buckets. Left the market but came out facing a different way than i thought and headed off to the Unification palace but got lost and i didnt have a proper map so just took a moto there. Palace was a bit strange as the architecture and interior design had all been kept the same as it was in 1975 when the city fell. Walked around to War Remnants Museum which wasn't very big or informative but had some good photography. The deformed babies in jars was a bit unexpected and very depressing. It was more an anti war anti american exhibition. Took a moto across town to motorbike shop to see what they had found for me. I was a bit disappointed with the honda cub but supposedly you dont get much choice as most bikes are really worn out and not uber cheap. Decided to hold out for something different in the mean time and have a look myself. By this time i had really had enough of the heat so headed straight back to hotel. Went out for dinner and met a dude from london and decided to catch up at bar later. He didnt turn up but got talking to a couple chaps from holand and france. We left the bar and headed for a corner shop where the beer was only 10 000 Dong and stayed drinking Saigon till 3am. Found i was locked out of my hotel but there was someone about to let me in.
Took a taxi and went looking for motorbikes in the morning with Jo(france) on the street which is meant to have lots of shops. It was really hot and the sun was out and i was starting to get a bit annoyed at looking at bikes of very dubious quality. once you took the 'tourist tax' off the price they still wernt very cheap. Decided to taxi to first motorbike shop to look at the first bike again and see if they had come up with anything else. Couldnt make a decision(normal for me!) so had another look at bikes on the way back into town with no luck. Decided to relax and go to museum and pogoda but taxi driver kept getting 'lost' so it took a while to get there! After making it back to hotel i gave the motorbike shop a call to see when they could start work doing the engine on the bike they had but it would have to wait till monday. Dinner turned out to be a meaty affair consisting of only a massive slab of chicken grilled and a pile of rice. though simple it was mighty tasty. I can foresee the vegetarian diet taking some puishment this trip! Meet up with the guys again at the corner shop for some more cheap drinking then went into the main district to a bar called Apocalypse Now (not that original either!). I was expecting it to be filled with tourist as it was really expensive(relatively) but it was mostely Vietnamese. Strange kinda place playing some pretty shonky breaks and house beats(imagine 'take me home country road' to a cheesy dance beat!) and the place had tons of security guys around. It even had some lady boys and figured that most of the girls were prostitutes! Some american guy started talking to me then asked if i was gay but then said we were in the supposedly gay corner. Not very encouraging!! Meet some other backpackers and deicided to go back to the bar back in our district and kicked about there for a few hours until daylight. The taxi ride back was interesting with his erratic driving trying to go fast with lots of tooting and his funny techno music blasting! Got talking to an american brother and sister from florida that were traveling together and were really cool and made me think about how i was already missing my sisters and bros. Didnt have to worry about being locked out of hotel again as they would already be opening again for the new day!
Stayed up until i could have breakfast in hotel then went to bed and slept for most of the day! Tried to organise meeting up with a SERVAS member to meet a local foreigner for something different. will wait to see how that goes. meet the guys again at the corner shop to partake in some strong coffee and more saigon session beer that never seems to get you drunk but tastes pretty good. we went back into central district to find a party that a french girl had told us about at an italian joint. they were playing some interesting music like wu tang clan mixed with the specials, go figure! but we couldnt find anyone so we left and ended up bumping into a girl from iceland and a guy from england. We managed to find a Lebanese bar and had turkish coffee and a shisha session which was nice and relaxing and got to do lots of talking.We all then headed back to our little corner shop back in our backpacker district and partook in a couple of bottles of the cheap local vodka then took off to the local bar and meet with some people we meet the other night. Went back to the americans hotel and listened to music and spent the day sleeping it off!
1st june Sunday
Got back to the hotel at about 6pm to get myself sorted then meet back up with the americans and others to find some sustenance before going off the to our cheap corner shop again for more coffee and Saigons with the othe other guys followed by a couple more bottles of vodka. We then had to spend some time back at the local bar. Manged to somehow catch my shoulder on something and gave at a bit of a cut. Decided head back early(well before day) to the americans hotel where jessica was kind to clean my little wound with iodine and gauze it.
didnt sleep in to long and saw the lovely floridans off at 11. I think i will miss them as its hard to find people like that in any country. Moved into their hotel to save some money. Feeling the affects of the weekend but manged to get a few things sorted including getting a Loas visa and catching up with the people at the scooter shop. Will have to wait till wednesday to see someone about doing work on the engine. Starting to feel the need to get out of saigon because i know know im going to be here longer than i want. Caught up with the guys again at the cheap shop for some beers then headed over to the bar to play some pool and got talking to a guy from england who told be about a boat to the cu chi tunnels. Had early night, yeah!
Up early to catch the boat at 8 to the tunnels. really good to see something different and the boat ride up the river was cruisy. Had an interesting guide and nice to just sit back and be told stuff. the story of the tunnels was amazing but you didnt get to spend much time in them. This was prolly a good thing as the are very small and hot. I bought a fistful of bullets for the M1 riffle and shot down some targets whilst almost losing my hearing! Came back to Saigon on the bus which happened to be the same one marcel(holland) was on which made it not so bad. I think the girl across from me was a hooker and trying to pick me up. Fending off that sort of stuff gets really tiresome grrr. Caught up with the boys again at the corner shop and Minh a local older guy was there again which is cool cos he knows english well and can answer most your questions. Had some cheap sticky rice off the street for dinner. We went back to the lebonese bar again and then checked out a club which was pretty fancy but not my thing. I was feeling pretty tired so we didnt stay out too late. Checked the local bar again for any one we knew but all quite quiet so went back down to the trusty shop on the corner for ice cream and beer! Hopefully get bike sorted tomorrow. Feeling sunburnt.
Ill put some pictures up soon.