Every story has a beginning…

…and our trip to Vietnam is no different. It was sparked by a post on friend Susan’s blog, inviting friends to come visit during her three month stay there. I mentioned it to DH, and he thought I was nuts. Then he reconsidered, and I thought *he* was nuts. Then there were Vietnam guide books for Mother’s Day. The rest is history. It would take some creative calendar juggling to make it work for the whole family, but that’s par for the course around here.

Since we’d be flying through Tokyo, I thought it might be fun to hang out there for a few days on the way back. The Teen is studying Japanese in school, and what better way for him to get an earful than to be immersed in it? That part of the trip would just be the two of us, as DH and College Guy had to get back to work and school.

We flew 16 hours to get to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon, airport code is still SGN). I got a lot of Ishbel knitting done on that trip! Arriving at 11 p.m., we were treated to a taxi ride where we were amazed by the way traffic works there. The motorbike is the predominant vehicle in HCMC, and there don’t appear to be many rules of the road. Usually the right side of the road, but sometimes the left side. A big vehicle can do whatever it wants. The motorbikes part around it, like schools of fish. The same is true for pedestrians: step off the curb, move slowly, keep a steady pace, and the motorbikes will flow around you. Don’t make any sudden changes!

It’s amazing what can be carried on a motorbike. Entire families. Baskets of produce or chickens. Building materials. Office supplies. Mattresses! And people. It’s easy to hire a motorbike driver to take you where you want to go.


Sunday morning found us bright and early at the Sinh Cafe. (I love the irony of that.) Sinh Cafe is a travel agency that books tours. We went on a bus tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels, where the Viet Cong used to live under ground during the American War (that’s what it’s called there). History is definitely written by the victors, and the US was not on that side. We passed banana and rubber tree plantations on the way.

Here’s a demonstration of how small the tunnel entrances could be.


Now you see him:


And now,


You don’t!


We had the opportunity to crawl through some of the tunnels. DH and College Guy did; The Teen and I were too claustrophobic.


Of course, there’s always a souvenir shop. The Teen bought a hat, and we looked at this snake wine.


We spent the afternoon touring Ho Chi Minh City via chauffeured motorbike. We saw the War Remnants Museum, Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral.


There was some music going on at the entrance to the cathedral.


The afternoon ended with hair washes for me & the boys. A hair wash involves shampoo, scalp massage, and facial massage, for about 30 minutes. It costs about 30,000 Vietnamese Dong, which is less than $2 US. Very relaxing, and cooling too. Perfect after a hot tropical day. The guys were skeptical at first, but once the cool water started, they were fans! Me, too. Couldn’t talk DH into it, though.



12 responses to “Every story has a beginning…

  1. gettingpurlywithit

    Wow, loos like you all had so much fun..!

  2. Those streets are nuts! Although traveling you learn that America can be pretty uptight about being organized.

    I think I’d be a fan of the massage as well. =)

  3. Snake wine??? Oh my Lord.

    And I don’t reckon I’d go down the hole either. I can’t imagine it – I almost can’t breathe thinking about it!

  4. Looks like an awesome time! Enjoy!

  5. What an adventure! Thanks for sharing the photos.

  6. Fascinating, but you lost me at the snake wine.

  7. morewithles

    What a great experience — lucky you!!!

  8. Wow! Sounds like a great adventure!

  9. he’s crazy not too. pampering for $2?! Any day I’d take it!

  10. Wow! Vietnam is on my list of places I’d like to visit. Thanks for sharing – how was the weather? Terribly hot & humid? Love the hair wash – what a deal!!!

  11. Whoa! Way cool vaca. Glad I got to see your blog. Man, I don’t think I’d ever step off the sidewalk — way too scary. And I’d pass on crawling through the tunnel, as well. No wonder VN “won” the war. Does DH stand for “Duh Husband?”