Arrival in Saigon was largely uneventful. The cheap Air France flight turned out to be a flight from Paris with stop-over in Bangkok. The only little hassle was to find a taxi, which we could only get from the departure level of the airport: There was a taxi stand…not at the arrival level. The taxi driver had some issues finding our hotel, though it was one of the better places in town (on the first night we played safe). But in the end everything was no hassle. Except for the temperatures…even the locals sweat like waterfalls and complain. There’s little rain these days, despite the calendar saying it’s raining season. Continue reading Saigon – Other Part Of Town
The loop is closed: I am back in Shanghai, sitting in a Starbucks Café and drinking one Cappucchino after the other. It is a good feeling…not because the Cappucchino is good (it is OK, but can by no means compete with a real Vietnamese coffee), but because it is so clean and relaxing an atmosphere: Just sitting without being bothered by any hawkers at all. Especially after fleeing Ho Chi Minh City. In fact, this 20-million-people city of Shanghai gave me an odd feeling of emptyness: Just walk on the clean and broad pavement in the direction wanted. Cross the streets with a surprising sense of safety at traffic lights. An odd statement after all my complaining about the mad Chinese traffic between the lines of many earlier articles. Forget it, in comparison China is a kindergarten’s traffic education site. It is a good feeling of safe, clean, straight-forward, and fast transportation when leaving Shanghai Pudong Int’l Airport with the first MagLev of the day at 300km/h (in early morning and late evening the trains run with reduced speed for noise reduction), switch to a surprisingly empty subway, which brings you into the heart of the city in a time you probably just managed to leave a Vietnamese Int’l airport. If, that is, your immigration runs as smooth as in China. These two contries are still worlds apart. Continue reading Shanghai (I) Closing the Loop
On my way south through Vietnam I had not found people who liked Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. I know now why: This city sucks. There’s nothing really worth seeing. It’s loud, noisy, dirty, traffic is mad, has way way way too many street hawkers (which makes sitting in a cafe a pain as you get interrupted every minute with newspapers, head-wagging plastic dogs, or piles of copied books) and motorbike offers (which makes walking along the streets a pain as there is a motorbike waiting every 10 meters). In the smaller cities I could bring up the effort to smile and say “No, thanks” and that usually ended it. But here I had to revert back to the rude way of entirely ignoring.
Walking had the additional pains of mad traffic and long ways, and my right big toe really hurting. The bruise from the diving fin there heals, but slowly. Continue reading Ho Chi Minh City (II) Walking
NT_20070822_101226.jpg: Bye bye Nha Trang…the view from my breakfast table this morning. Has something carribean to it, doesn it?
My last hours in Nha Trang I spent at the beach having breakfast and reading.Then boarded the hotel’s owner’s brother’s car or something like that and was brought to the airport. With Hanoi Airport being a joke already I didn’t expect much of an airport, and that was what I got: Not much. Continue reading Ho Chi Minh City (I) Arriving