Last day in Saigon

Yesterday we did a tour of the Me Kong Delta it was a sobering change to the half day Saigon tour we did yesterday which was essentially a military history tour that left you pretty shaken (I would avoid the war atrocities part its way too graphic).

Me Kong was beautiful, tranquil, and relaxing. We took a car there and you can see how development is in it's infant stage here but about to explode. The roads are beginging to improve and luxury apartment buildings skeletons are popping up yet right next to that there are shacks where people live and work out of what looks to be a garage type box in sweltering heat. On the side of the road I saw a 50 something woman with 3 cages stacked, the bottom with full of live rats, the middle had live pigeons, and the top cage was full of live snakes.

We finally get to the delta where we are met by street vendors running at our car to sell us traditional hats and photos of the delta in broken English, we buy 2 hats at a buck each. Our guide walks us to our boat where we cruise through brown water to a few islands to see traditional villagers make coconut candy, feed us fruit, and sing and dance for us. I can't help but look through the thick muddy jungle and wonder how our soldiers ever had a prayer with the rough conditions about. The people are very warm and all smile and are very respectful, you can tell that they are very happy at this new found goldmine that is the tourism industry. We see lots of Chinese, Asians, French, and Australians here then you see very few Americans and Russians.

At one village where they make honey they let me hold a honeycomb square full of bees up for a picture. Then they place a massive Boa snake on me for another photo, they are confused when Jess decides against holding the snake. We taste a drink they call a homemade white wine that tastes kinda like vodka and is 35% alcohol. In another village they feed us a huge lunch where they present a whole deep fried fish, the servings of food don't seem to stop. The heat and humidity are burning us out, even the locals are hot and lay in hammocks to nap. We finally get back on our boat and sleep in the car back to Saigon.

We meet a friend who is in town for a Room To Read conference at a swanky bar we have a drink and some mediocre pizza then leave for an even swankier bar called Lush. Lush is like you typical upscale trendy modern bar you would see in the states, it seems a bit out of place in this old city, but it's yet another sign of things to come and I'm glad i'm here now before it the change is complete. I'm wearing shorts like an idiot and all the guys are dressed up in clubbing jeans. There are fewer prostitutes here than we have seen in most other places, yes prostitution is rampant in the city and there is no shortage of middle aged white men partaking. Someone tells me Lush was closed down a few times for not keeping the cops paid off, they say the trick to running a business here is to hide the money you make. Good to know things are the same all over, well kinda. The group we are with wants to head to the club apocalypse Now, yeah I know the name is corny but the War History here has oddly enough become a disneylandish kind of brand for sale, surreal.

Well this is getting long and the wife hates it when i'm online for long so i'm off for a swim and perhaps another $8 message with a small woman walking on my back, more later ciao Adolfo

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