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Sunset at beach esplanade in Mui Ne, Vietnam.

Sunset at beach esplanade in Mui Ne, Vietnam.

I am back in Ho Chi Minh city, where I will stay for a few more days before deciding where I will go next. More on that later . . . I returned from Mui Ne, a seaside resort of Vietnam. Thao accompanied me and the mode of transportation was what they call a “sleeping bus.” Great for Asians, dwarfs and midgets . . . umm, not so relaxful for someone who is around 6 feet tall. Basically, you are in a single person, partially enclosed cabin, that looks like a recliner bred with a go cart. There are two levels or bunk beds, i.e., you definitely want to be on the bottom level and not have to climb into your unit on top. Thao is unusually tall for an Asian (5’7″) and that’s about the maximum size where one feels comfortable sitting/laying in one of these things. I had to take my legs out of the unit and prop them on top. Fortunately, I was in the front of the bus and didn’t hit anyone in the head with my dangling feet, much less bother anyone with foot odor (I am fairly certain my feet don’t stink, but who knows how accurate my olfactory sense is?).

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“Hanging Ten” on the sleeping bus.

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The correct way to sleep in these things. Too bad I can’t extend my legs all the way. Arrrggghhh!

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In downtown Ho Chi Minh city.

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Before I leave Vietnam, I am going to try Cobra snake or crocodile. At this restaurant, I went conservative and had crab, prawns, and scallops.

Besides Mui Ne, I have gone to quite a few places in Ho Chi Minh city, such as a couple of museums, their version of the Notre Dame Cathedral, Vietnamese movie, Opera house, a historical post office, a few market places, and of course, excellent restaurants. Frankly, I have not had a bad meal here. Couple that with how inexpensive everything is – meals, hotels, taxis, utilities, housing, etc. – you could easily retire here on less than $1000 a month and live like a king. Seriously.

I am paid through the 7th of March at this hotel, so I will soon have to make a decision about where I will go next. In fact, I just chatted with a friend in Colorado about this quasi-dilemma and I’m not certain what I’ll do. I have a multi-entry Vietnamese Visa, which allows me to exit and enter the country, so it would be a shame to waste it by not going to Cambodia and/or Laos for a few days. However, I am so relaxed and having a good time in Ho Chi Minh city, that I’m really not motivated to go anywhere else. I’ve also been told that Hoi An, an ancient Vietnamese city near Da Nang, is a must see destination. Decisions, decisions. I have made some really good friends here in Ho Chi Minh city, especially Thao (whom by the way, wont allow me to post her photos in this blog . . . grrrrrrrrrr) and it will be hard to leave.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the photos here. I’ve included captions for some, but not all of them. Take care, Steve :-)

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Believe it or not, this is someone’s pet turkey and he walks it every day at the park I visit in the morning after breakfast. I have no idea if eventually he will eat it during Vietnam’s version of Thanksgiving.

Pagoda entrance in Ho Chi Minh city.

Pagoda entrance in Ho Chi Minh city.

Hundreds of turtles at the Pagoda. Seemed a bit too crowded for my tastes.

Hundreds of turtles at the Pagoda. Seemed a bit too crowded for my taste.

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World famous Vietnamese coffee at Ben Thanh Market (equally famous).

World famous Vietnamese coffee at Ben Thanh Market (equally famous).

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War Remembrance Museum weapons.

War Remembrance Museum weapons.

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This is a rice pancake with filling (we had shrimp). The lettuce and other leafy veggies you use to wrap part of the pancake and then dip it in a vinegar tinged, mild spicy/hot sauce. Yummy!

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Opera house near the Hyatt Regency where Thao and I had coffee. Beautiful building.

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View from our hotel room. Less than $65 a night and it was humongous, with two queen size beds, sitting area, balcony area with ocean view, and unbelievably large bathroom with walk in shower and tile sitting area.

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Hot pot meal, which is quite popular in Vietnam. You name it, they will throw it in the pot. I usually go with squid, prawns, scallops, but the chicken and/or pork is delicious as well.

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Grand entry of hotel we stayed at in Mui Ne.

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Thao and I had coffee and ice cream at the Park Hyatt Regency hotel in Ho Chi Minh city. This room was magnificent, with a piano bar (singer was taking a break when I took this photo). Great atmosphere!

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This was one of the most unusual Buddhist shrines I have seen in my travels, as this Buddha was “lit up” with all sorts of flashing LED lights. Almost had a hip hop feel to it. Thao prayed and lit incense, while I took photos and danced. JUST KIDDING!

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This photo and the ones before (hot pot dish) and after (indoor fish pond) were at a restaurant which Thao and I ate at. The owner converted a home to something that reminded him of his home as a little boy. It has multiple levels and additions/rooms. Truly unique, serene and peaceful . . . Definitely, one of a kind.

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An and I saw this Vietnamese movie at a very modern multi-plex cinema. My observations? This movie was packed – doing better business than the Hollywood releases showing at the time. In fact, they have a computerized seating chart when you buy your ticket and you are directed to the seat you purchased by ushers. Another thing I noticed – cell phone use is widespread while the movie is being shown. Apparently, they haven’t heard that people are being shot for similar faux pas in the States. Lastly, this was a horror movie . . . with comedy. Umm, interesting mix of disparate genres. However, I liked the movie and the crowd loved it – laughing, oohing, and ahhing at all the comedic and scary parts.

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An posing near the promotional advertisement for the movie we saw. The guy on his knees was the “comedy relief” in the movie. He is quite famous in Vietnam, but I forgot his name.

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I met Ky at Highlands Coffee Shop. She was sitting near my table and she asked me a question about an English word (she was studying for a business course, while having coffee). Anywho, we ended up going out for lunch a couple of days later . . . Nice person.

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I met Jerry (sitting) on my 2nd day in Vietnam. He is from Wales, England and like me, is having a blast. He says he will probably return next year and I am thinking about coming back here as well. The woman standing is the girl friend of the guy standing up. I forgot his name, but he is from the middle east (Iraq I think). Fun couple! Jerry’s girl friend, Linh was doing something away from this shot, but she is also a sweet heart. They are currently in Hoi An, the ancient city near Da Nang (which I am thinking about visiting as well).

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At a shopping mall taking a break. Thao was shopping for a gift (friend’s house warming I think).

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My typical breakfast (along with the omelet in the other photo) I have each morning.

View from my breakfast table each morning.

View from my breakfast table each morning.

Another view while at breakfast.

Another view while at breakfast.

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They call this cathedral Notre Dame . . . Famous in HCM city, but not to be confused with the one in Paris.

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Famous post office in HCM city. Why? Umm, I don’t exactly know, except it is quite old.

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Inside the post office.

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Dancing, Kung Fu, acrobatics, Tai Chi, badminton, and other exercises rung the gamut at this Ho Chi Minh city park each and every day.

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Inside a Pagoda I visited in HCM city.

Enjoying a Vietnamese cup of coffee at an outdoor cafe.

Enjoying a Vietnamese cup of coffee at an outdoor cafe.

War Remembrance Museum photo of pheasant lady surrounded by land destroyed by chemicals (Agent Orange). Sad.

War Remembrance Museum photo of peasant lady surrounded by land destroyed by chemicals (Agent Orange). Sad.

War Remembrance Museum.

War Remembrance Museum.

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The door man, Khanh. He told me about Mui Ne, as well as Vung Tau (another beach city). Jerry and I are planning on going out with him when Jerry returns from Hoi An tomorrow.

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Me working on this blog post. Ha.