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Riding and Crawling. Life underground!

Ho Chi Minh/Saigon.  Vietnam.  Motor bikes. Smiles. Cant say much more about Ho Chi Minh City besides this.  Welcome to Vietnam!  This is a wonderful country! People are so nice, smiles everywhere, always a helping hand!  A truly vibrant, growing and fun city.

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Ho Chi Minh – Landing

The first thing you notice are all the motorbikes.  There are thousands of them – they are everywhere – this is truly the land of motorbikes.  Zip down the road, go between cars and trucks, weave around pedestrians, its organized madness!  You have to be an extremely defensive driver here, always have your “A-game”!  Seeing all this excitement, I wanted to be part of it as well.  I want to experience Vietnam like a local – so I bought myself a motorbike and I joined the madness on the streets! I found a wonderful 2004 Yamaha Nuovo from a fellow backpacker who was selling it.  Thanks Anya for Phillip Scofield (the name the motorbike was given before I got it).  Time to map out the country and find a route from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi! – South to North, some 1700Kms+ on a motorbike! This should be fun!

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The busy rush hour traffic!

Vietnam has lots of history to experience and see.  Of course there is the Vietnam war, one of the bloodiest wars of our time – where not hundreds of thousands of people died, but millions died.  There are war museums, the Viet Cong tunnels, remains and history everywhere!  I walked through (well, crawled through) the Cu Chi Tunnels.  These are the tunnels that the opposing guerrilla force used to attach US troops.  The people lived underground – literally.  They have a whole city built underground – 250 Kilometers worth of tunnels, all built by hand tools – a bucket and a shovel.  Now that I have transportation, getting around to all these sites is much easier, and cheaper!

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HCMC City Museum – Allied tank

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HCMC Museum

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The Skyline at night!

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The bananas are so tiny!

My first long excursion was a 120km round trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels.  It was smooth sailing most of the way.  Got rained on for a couple minutes, but it dried out quickly. I got to see how the people of Vietnam get to live.  They are simple folk just like the rest of SEA, many riding bicycles and pushing food carts around.  There are few road rules however, honk and go, thats about the only rule.  On the way back I had a little breakdown however.  The bike stalled and wouldn’t stay running anymore.  The nice thing about Vietnam is that there is a repair shop every 200 feet.  I pull in, and within 10 minutes the guy has it running again, all for under $1.

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Its the law to wear a helmet in this country.  Probably the only law police enforce.

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Passing a bus! Woooooo!

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I arrived to Cu Chi Tunnels! (Google maps location)

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Spent shells from the US troops – this is only a fraction of the shells used here.

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This is the size of the holes that the Viet Cong used to go underground with.

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Down I go!  These are tiny holes! oooof!

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The tunnels!  These have very low ceilings – you have to crouch or crawl to get through.

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Mr. Mechanic fixing up Philip.  I dont speak Vietnamese, he doesnt speak English, but we understood each other 🙂

So much done, so much to do, Vietnam will truly be an exciting adventure!

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