The first thing you notice, of course, is the ubiquitous scooters. In the taxi from the airport they waft around you in an intricate dance to which you don’t know the steps. The being horns must mean something – get out of my way? I’m behind you? I’m turning left? I don’t know what they mean. It’s not like India, there does seem to be a method, but I’m just not sure what that method is yet.
Weary after an 8 hour flight and an uncomfortably hot stay in Sydney – with the temperature pushing 40˚ and the aircon kaput – I looked down, at the shoes. What variety: ridiculous heels, the latest Nikes, bare feet, ballet pumps, jandels. It was a shoe store on wheels.
I was tucked up in bed by 7.30 last night, the six hour time difference with New Zealand caught up with me and after slurping a quick bowl of Pho I couldn’t face exploring any more. ‘How I met Your Mother’ was on the TV and I fell asleep to another inane joke from that Doogie Howser chap.
This morning, feeling refreshed after 11 hours sleep, I tucked into a plate of noodles for breakfast and sat on the roof terrace looking out over Saigon. The man beside me shook his head at my hot coffee and went inside to make me an iced one. Three glasses later I remembered I usually have about one coffee a week, a frothy confection from Starbucks that blurs some moral boundary. Ho Chi Minh is certainly winning on coffee quality.
It’s time to explore. I’ll try not to get squashed by a scooter.