Adventures as Miss Saigon

An Aussie visitor

Posted on: April 2, 2011

Right after work last Friday, I headed to the airport to meet my Aussie friend who was flying to town just for the weekend. After picking him up at the airport, we headed to the backpacker’s area for a few drinks before dinner at my favourite corner bar, Go2. The street traffic on this corner is incredible to watch and there never seems to be a dull moment there! We had dinner at a Vietnamese pancake place before heading back to mine for beers and hangouts.

The next morning, we set out early to the War Remnants Museum, where a group of Vietnamese school kids were on a field trip. The kids were adorably cute and kept looking at us like we were celebrities. So many little boys and girls shyly waved or flashed the typical Asian peace sign. Some more confident ones shouted hello or grabbed our hands. A visit to Reunification Palace and Ben Thanh market were next on our to do list, followed by lunch at Pho 2000, renamed Pho for the President in honour of Bill Clinton’s visit.

reunification palace

bill clinton's picture at pho for the president

After an afternoon siesta back at mine, we headed for a fancy Vietnamese dinner (where I tried crocodile spring rolls!), then to an Aussie bar back downtown to have some drinks ($1usd draft beers, ok!), watch some Aussie football (trying to learn the game before I go to Aus later this month), and play some darts (which we’ve determined that I’m not very good at). After 5 or 6 hours of drinking, we settled our $20usd bar tab and headed home for a quick sleep.

darts in the dark

On Sunday morning, we were out the door and downtown before 7am to sign up for a tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels. Our $5usd bus trip departed shortly after 8:30am for the 2 hour drive to the tunnels. When we finally arrived, our hilarious tour guide, “John Wayne” (who seemed impressed enough with my limited Vietnamese that he kept telling me, in Vietnamese, that he loved me and thought I was beautiful…haha) showed us around the Cu Chi Tunnel Complex. The Cu Chi Tunnels were a system of underground tunnels built and used by the Viet Cong during the war. Today, the tiny tunnels have been made a little bit larger so that Western tourists can crawl through the safer parts of the tunnel system (level 1). Levels 2 and 3, deeper in the ground, are not open to tourists. Despite the tunnels being widened, we still had to crawl through them, practically on our hands and knees. It was dark and I couldn’t tell where I was going. Twenty meters in, I opted to get out at the first exit, although you could crawl up to 100 meters, with exits every 20.

bottom of a booby trap at the cu chi tunnels

our hilarious tour guide

crawling through tunnels

Another Cu Chi Tunnel highlight was shooting a few rounds of an AK47. I almost chickened out, but am happy to say that I was forced to follow through with it! I fired my rounds quickly and ran out of the shooting area faster than you can say Cu Chi.

aaak! ak47!

Instead of taking the bus back to the city, we paid a little extra and took a fast boat back. It was less crowded than the bus, had a bar on board, and offered a bit of different scenery. After getting dropped off in the backpacker’s area, we stopped for dinner and a quick drink before it was time to say goodbye. Definitely a fun time playing tourist and hanging out with a crazy Aussie for the weekend!

fast boat back to hcmc

scenery along the way

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