Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

We slept late on the 17th and eventually ventured out on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. We stayed right in the heart of things. Street life starts very early here and sleeps very little. Night and day our greatest challenge was racing from one curb to the next. Amity was cowering, crossing the street in a slouch with her hands over her ears until she discovered that the best way to manage this was to get right out there with your hand in the air and stop traffic. It works well. You become the rock around which the river of motorcycles flow. The motorbikes are everywhere, brazen and unafraid, but rarely is there an accident. You try to remember this as you dodge for your life. Ben Than Market is a trip. Stall after stall, row after narrow row of souvenir chachkes with the most persistent sales people in the world stepping on your toes to wrap you in their wares. Right now it's about 20,000 dong to the dollar. Try to calculate that conversion within the chaos of this airless, stinking, claustrophobic, makeshift, seething, heavy-breathing, self-contained city. One visit is enough but somehow you can't stay away from the market. There definitely are bargains here.

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