Dedicated to a wonderful Mother Jean Noble 31/5/1929 - 20/8/2007 - may we never take our mothers for granted. - Goodbye Mum


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Sunday 8th to Friday 13 February 2009. Saigon – Ho Chi Min City. Continued...

The last few days have been hectic... It is getting increasingly difficult to get out and about, due to the traffic. It has to be seen to be believed. Lee and I have been hit several times (nothing serious, thankfully), by Motorcycles, with countless near misses... It is now at a point where we are almost too afraid to leave the hotel.

Motorcycles “race” out of hotels, shops, homes, etc.. with heartless indifference, to who may be on the outside. NONE of the pavements (sidewalks) are safe to walk on. Even in our hotel, we have had motorcycles drive up to reception and push us aside. As hard as this may be to believe, you are not safe inside some shops or restaurants... In fact some shops and restaurants are difficult to get in, due to motorcycles parking directly in front. Both of us cannot understand this mentality and have never witnessed this phenomena – at least to this extent, anywhere in the world.

It is difficult to get verifiable statistics, however, from searching on the net, the consensus seems to be, over a thousand deaths per month – a staggering figure. The World Health Organisation quotes about 12,300 deaths per year or 33 per day on the roads.

If you are reading this and intending to come and cycle, we hope you are one of the many, that have cycled Vietnam and got home safely. But PLEASE, do not take it flippantly, just because others have successfully done this. Take all the advice you can, and make sure you are properly equipped. Also make sure you know the emergency numbers (check this page), the location and number of your embassy AND that you have studied what to do in an emergency. It may never happen, but if it does................. are YOU prepared?

The last thing we want to do is put people off visiting these warm friendly people. There are a plethora of reasons to visit, it is a vibrant warm society. The 200,000 or so that have chosen Australia as their home are known to be good, hard working citizens and have added their skills to our country – making it a better place. We do want people who cycle here to be aware and plan for these obstacles, with a mixture of common sense and pragmatism.

We went back to the “Vegetarian Buffet”, simply because we may never get the opportunity to experience a spread like this again – certainly not in Australia. We asked them if we could take a few pictures inside, told them what we do and they agreed... so here is a “sample” (forgive the pun), of just some of the dishes available.... There is a lot more than what are in these pictures...

It is beautifully presented...............

The use of bamboo as place holders, adds nicely to the décor and fresh appeal

In this picture (above), the food is as far as the eye can see.... All the food on this side is hot, whilst all the other tables are cold buffet.

A big variety of fresh spring rolls with succulent fillings.......... each plate is different and none are fried.....

As well as the delicious dishes, there is an abundance of dips and sauces........

It really is incredible how they can offer this feast for less than US$7.00 (About AUD$11.00)... It comes with drinks included, plus an assortment of “teas”.... Alcohol and “mineral water” is extra.

Friday 13th February 2009. Saigon – Ho Chi Min City.

Since we have changed hotels, we have now had access to some English language programming, including an all too infrequent ABC (Australia) news bulletin We have now been presented with the full impact of the Victorian Brushfires and the horrible loss of life.

Like all Australians and caring people everywhere in our world, we are VERY deeply saddened... Whilst it is not yet completely over, we can only hope that those who have survived this terrible tragedy, can resume their lives with some dignity and the support of the world community. Our hearts go out to you all........

Thursday 19th February 2009. Saigon – Ho Chi Min City.

Never realised how much we miss cycling – it probably has just hit home, with only a few days before we leave Vietnam.. Not much in the way of pictures the last few days as we have been tidying up all loose ends.

A sad story (for us) today. Over the last few days we have relied on our “English speaking” hotel manager, Martin Phan. He has given us directions, translated a few words, fixed our printing problems – generally very helpful. He is single, 26 yrs old and has a Bachelor's Degree. He gets ONE day off a month and is required to do a 9 hr day. His MONTHLY salary is 1,500,000 Dong. (About US$85.00)

Wednesday night he fell asleep in his room and forgot to lock the door. Someone entered his room whilst asleep and stole his recently purchased laptop. He had saved for three years to buy this at a cost of around US$1000.00. He was devastated to say the least. We asked if he had informed the police, did not think it was worth it, he said, (actually said more than that but I will not put to print). This young man is the last person anyone (who has met him) would want, to have suffered this terrible loss. I am sad I cannot help him – I would if I could.

Catchya at the airport Monday morning........

Sunday 22nd February 2009. Saigon – Ho Chi Min City.

Thought I would compile a “few” good and bad points about our stay here.



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