This area is the heart of the city. The building contains a Vinatex supermarket, just west of it is Chợ Bình Dương (Binh Duong Market), and further west of that is the Saigon river. Sara and I sweated buckets walking around. In the market, the crowd was as dense as the air. It’s an unusual and exciting place, but a bit overwhelming. I’m hoping that by the end of our two years here I’ll be able to tackle even the bloodiest corners of the market (literally bloody).
Yesterday at 4:30AM Sara and I landed in Ho Chi Minh City’s ariport after 31 hours of transit. We were very tired, but even more excited. Our new home for the next 2 years will be Thu Dau Mot, a city just north of Ho Chi Minh City. We are staying at the Becamex Hotel. The photo shows the view from our balcony. The large buildings sticking out into the horizon are located in Binh Duong New City. It’s a brand new city that will be the political and administrative city for the country. Sara will be teaching there while I drink beer and hangout by the pool. It’s good to be back in Vietnam.
A week from now and we’ll be back in Vietnam. When Sara and I first arrived we were so overwhelmed by the chaos of it all. After travelling around for almost a month (from Hue to the Mekong Delta) we left not realizing how much we had fallen in love with the country. A quote from Apocalypse Now comes to mind: “When I was here, I wanted to be there; when I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the jungle.”
This photo shows China Beach, also known as My Khe Beach. You may know China Beach from the television show of the same name. In 1975 American soldiers occupied the beach and used it as kind of a vacation spot from the war.
This woman is selling ice cream from her tricycle during Songkran, Laos’ New Years celebration. I was avoiding the chaos and trying to stay dry when I took this photo from the second floor balcony at the hotel we were staying at. Usually the locals drench any passersby, but the ice cream lady got a free pass.
The Pinball Cafe was located on Queen Street West, close to Roncesvalles. Sara and I enjoyed an hour there playing some real classics and some 90s classics (like X-men!), while humming Pinball Wizard and sipping coffee. Places like this are too rare.
This week’s travel photo of the week is late because we are getting ready to move to Vietnam, so I thought it’d be appropriate to post a photo from Saigon. This was taken by Ben Thanh market. The statue is of Tran Nguyen Han. The photo has a tilt-shift blur on it. We are very excited to be moving to Vietnam. We leave on the 3rd of August, so stay tuned for more blog posts on the country. If you can’t wait, check out the past posts we’ve done on Vietnam.
Packing light is an art form that’s been studied by many a travel guru. You don’t want something like, say, raging diarhea to ruin your trip, but loading up your bathroom travel kit with everything behind the mirror seems a little much. Instead, while you’re abroad you could head to a local pharmacy to get what you need, and a little adventure while you’re there. I’ve been to pharmacies in four different continents and I’ve never had a problem communicating what I want. In fact, the pharmacist usually speaks enough English to provide me with more customer service than I expected or needed. If you’re worried about matching up your medication with the same dosage as your original, try this site out igenericdrugs.com.
It allows you to search for your brand of drug and see what the alternatives are for various countries. For example, if on my trip to India I wanted to leave my jumbo pack of Viagra at home, I can do a quick search for Viagara on the site and see that in India the equivalent to it is called WAVEGRA… and it’s only $0.13 a pill?! I might as well stock up while I’m there. Anything to claim, sir? (Insert boner joke here)
This can be really useful if you are traveling for a long time and your pharmacy has a limit on how much medication you can get. In some countries, the meds you usually need a prescription for, can be bought over-the-counter (does anyone else think that the term ‘over-the-counter’ should refer to meds you get from the pharmacist who’s working on the OTHER SIDE OF A COUNTER?!). Birth control is a great example of this. The majority of countries in the world allow you to buy birth control over-the-counter. After a quick Google search you can confirm that the place you are traveling to does. Then head to igenericdrugs.com and type in your brand — that way you can get a product with a similar dose and not risk conceiving a baby in Middelfart, Denmark (in which case you’d be obliged to name your baby Middelfart).
In Southeast Asia, the sun is your enemy. The first time we tried to walk around in the middle of a cloudless day, we lasted about 15 minutes before the sweat and the scorching were too much. We quickly learned to go out first thing in the morning, come inside midday, and go back out in the early evening.
This photo shows how intense the sunlight can be… and shows how effective sunglasses can be.
Wat Si Saket is a Buddhist wat in Laos’ capital. It’s thought to be the oldest temple in the city. Before entering the wat there is a garden filled with various plants. As I was admiring the flora, I spotted this monk playing a little peak-a-boo between some fern leaves.
The Kwai river is best known for its starring role in the film The Bridge on the River Kwai,
although the film wasn’t actually shot on the river and the story told is more fiction than reality. Nevertheless, a lot of tourists come to Kanchanaburi because of it’s links to the film and novel. I don’t know if I would have even heard of Kanchanaburi if the novel was never written, so I have to give some credit to it even though the town itself was a little too touristy for my liking. The best thing to do in Kanchanaburi is to stay in a place on the river and simply relax. It’s peaceful and tranquil and all those other terms that describe a yoga class. The sunsets are epic and the bridge… well, we didn’t actually make it to the bridge.