Letter from Saigon

Hello All

Well, another two weeks has passed so the time has come for another update.

I am still alive, and this week I am in Vietnam, after spending last week in Singapore.  Quite a contrast and Singapore doesn't come out of the comparison too well I'm afraid. 

Singapore was of course very nice . because after two weeks in Korea – I got to speak English and buy food I could identify, but it was just too neat and orderly (Soulless?) for my liking.  That compares with here which is complete and utter chaos . and I'm having a fantastic time. Anyway, that's enough drivel. This weeks. highlights:



  • It's fun to stay at the YMCA apart from one major oversight on their part . no bar!

  • “Wallet  shock”
  • Gives every impression of being a truly successful multi-cultural society
  • Little India was fun . especially as this month is the Deepavali festival.  I'm looking forward to “big India”
  • Lying on a long white deserted sandy beach, with the overall concept only spoiled slightly by wall to wall oil tankers and container ships on the horizon



  • I'm struggling to spend $ 10 a day here
  • I still can't believe the traffic. I take back everything I said about Korean motor scooter riders in my last e-mail.  The trick crossing the road is to just plunge in, move slowly, and whatever you do, don't make eye contact with motorists.  Roundabouts are the best           :)
  • Big residual effects from the “American War”.  Not that I want to get political here but a few days here might be instructive for George Bush in his current deliberations
  • Why shouldn't a family of five travel on a Honda Stepthru?


Contrasts / Comparisons

  • My Hotel room in Saigon is 100% nicer than in Singapore for just 10% of the price
  • Singapore is a western democratic. society and yet everything is structured, orderly and just a bit boring.  Vietnam is one of the few true communist countries left (no Perestroika here) yet everything is chaotic and people seem to be having a lot more fun (People are freer.?)
  • In Singapore there were lots of tourists looking at not much.  There's so much to see here and there are hardly any tourists.  Once you get out of town you are such a novelty that you attract a whole crowd of admirers who just want to stare at you (of course I got this in NZ too, it just wasn't as obvious  :).

That's all from me.  No spell checkers in Saigon I'm afraid.  Next update will be in a couple of weeks from Goa


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