Sunday, July 27, 2014

Vung Tau - Beach

Vung Tau is a bit of a resort area about 200km NE of Saigon.   Surprisingly we saw hardly any foreigners, this is a real local hangout and they clearly like the beach.

Vinh Long Island Homestay

Vinh Long is a small city/large town about 150km south of Saigon, smack in the Mekong delta area.
This Vietnamese family supplement their income by making their home a homestay for tourists.

This homestay is on an island of the Mekong river.  About NZD50 for the four of us including dinner,  breakfast and transport from/to the mainland...pretty good really.

Looking out from the edge of the Mekong island over to the mainland.  This local lady was king enough to let us get her in the photo too.

Some local island kids.  While taking the photo I made a Maori-tiki type face with eyes wide, tongue out and head over sideways - seemed to do the trick to get some smiles.

The homestay family

Vinh Long Park

Vinh Long Market

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Central Ho Chi Minh near Ben Thanh Market

Ho Chi Minh bikes

Ho Chi Minh street food for dinner with curried frog - tastes just like chicken (surprise?) but chewier..

Reunification Palace - Central Ho Chi Minh City

This was the goverment hangout during the early-mid 70's war.  
Bombing of this palace was one of the final acts by North Vietnam forces persuading South Vietnam to surrender in April 1975.  North Vietnamese tanks bust through the palace gates on 30 April 1975 and a North Vietnam Liberation Forces flag was raised on the palace top.
The palace has bomb-bunkers in the basement which served as the control centre up until surrender.
The palace is now used for diplomatic/govt gatherings and a popular tourist visit place as the whole palace is open for viewing (for a fee of course).

Palace top.  Red circles show where bombs hit a few days before South Vietnam surrender.

Military/Govt war control maps in basement bunkers

The basement-bunker bed for South Vietnamese president
President's bunker office
bunker corridor

HCMC Notre Dame Cathedral.  We had just ducked for cover as fat rain drops started falling.

Saigon River near central HCM City.

We took a little boat cruise down part of Saigon river and up one canal.  The following 16 photos show a bit of how life is along the river and canals.

Central HCM City in the distance

Vietnam War Remnants Museum

Phosphorus bombing
This is a nasty photo of the effects of bomb shrapnel.

Most photo exhibits in the museum strongly criticise American involvement in the war and atrocities inflicted by GIs.

Agent orange suspected of causing a swathe of birth defects