|Tom pointed out this jumble of power lines at an intersection in Saigon.|
Yesterday morning, we left the hotel in Saigon at 6:45 for the 30 minute drive to the airport amid rush hour traffic. The previous evening we had our final meal together as a group at a local restaurant after which we hugged goodbye to the many new friends we’d made on the Viking Mekong River Cruise.
|Vietnam is a communist society resulting in the government owning all land regardless of its location. As a result, most structures are narrow such as this property.|
Most of all, it was hard to say goodbye to Kong. He far exceeded any of our expectations as the finest tour manager we’ve worked with since beginning our travels so long ago.
Based on our late departing flight out of Saigon after a mass of confusion at the overly busy and somewhat disorganized airport, it was unlikely we’d arrive in Phuket at a decent time to be up to be able to post. As a result, our last post was short.
|Kong pointed out the number of motorbikes in the roundabout. There are over 6 motorbikes in Saigon (Ho Cho Ming City) for a population of 10 million.|
At the airport in Bangkok Tom found an ATM getting enough Thai Baht to last a week. For BHT 10,000, the exchange rate is US $286. We stopped at McDonald’s for a quick bite to eat figuring it could be late until we have a meal. I had a boring meat-free salad without dressing and Tom had a burger and fries.
|Another view of the roundabout. These photos were taken during a quiet time of the day compared to the busier rush hour.|
On the way to the villa we made a stop at a market in the village. We were both exhausted from the prior poor night’s sleep and the long trip, making finding items on our list difficult if not impossible.
Without a single English speaking person to be found in the market, we encountered a kindly young employee with a translation app on his phone with little success in the translation making sense to him.
|One business after another in tight spaces.|
As it turned out the largest market in the area has no beef for sale. For protein, they carry fresh chicken, pork and fish sitting atop big chilled tables. We usually have beef a few times a week, so we’ll have to come up with another plan for those meals. Nor did we find any roasted chickens.
|Many females wear masks and are fully covered. One would think this was to prevent illness when in act Vietnamese women vehemently avoid darkening skin from the sun. By their standards, the whiter the skin, the better, according to Kong.|
We never had dinner last night. We were so tired, food was the last thing on our minds. By 8:30 pm, we hunkered down in the air conditioned bedroom on the comfy bed determined to stay awake until 10:00 pm.
Refreshed and renewed this morning, we unpacked what we’d use here as we became familiar with our new house in Rawai, Phuket, a cozy little town which appears to be a mix of the old and new.
|Temples are interspersed among more modern areas.|
Soon, we’ll get out to see what’s around us. Unfortunately, I still need time to heal my injury being a little less active. With all the strenuous tours during the cruise, I never really had time to rest, which seems to be the most helpful at this point.
|Amid the historical buildings are skyscrapers such as this newer building.|
Yesterday, after the busy travel day at the two airports with tons of walking I almost reached 10,000 steps on my Fitbit which was way too much. Today, will be a relaxing day other than preparing our first meal since April 14th. Tom literally waits on me, helping with everything I need.
The house? Its a lovely as we’d anticipated. Please free to check out the online listing by clicking here which has some excellent photos without the clutter of our stuff scattered around the house.
|Many shops include products appealing to tourists. Many travel to Vietnam from all over the world to shop.|
We’ve yet to take our first Phuket photo. With the tinted windows on the van on the drive from the airport to the villa, we had no opportunity to take photos. Nor did we feel up to walking right now. In the near future we’ll get out to visit points of interest and to share many new photos with our readers.
|At an intersection.|
For now, as mentioned in a prior post, with hundreds of photos remaining from the cruise in Cambodia and Vietnam, we’ll continue to include photos we hope you’ll find interesting.
|These huge clocks could appeal to tourist shoppers.|
Here are the expenses from the Viking Mekong cruise/tour:
|Expense||US Dollar||Vietnamese Dong|
|Cruise fare||$ 6,597.00||$ 147,068,781.00|
|Airfare –Singapore to Hanoi||$ 830.00||$ 18,503,424.00|
|Hotel in Hanoi||$ 2,029.70||$ 45,248,674.00|
|Taxi||$ 98.00||$ 2,184,742.00|
|Laundry||$ 140.00||$ 3,121,059.00|
|Wifi||$ –||$ –|
|Groceries||$ –||$ –|
|Dining Out||$ 12.00||$ 267,519.00|
|Clothing||$ 22.00||$ 490,452.00|
|Tips||$ 725.00||$ 16,162,629.00|
|Total||$ 10,453.70||$ 233,047,280.00|
|Avg Daily Cost-17 days||$ 614.88||$ 13,708,664.00|
Tomorrow, we continue with Part 2, Cu Chi Tunnel with many more fascinating and informative photos of this historical site. Now that we’re settled we’ll be posting consistently around the same time each day.
|Kong explained that locals have tougher stomachs to tolerate street food while tourists often become ill.|
We’d like to thank all of our loyal worldwide readers for “hanging in there” with us during periods of no WiFi and during my continuing mention of my current condition. We appreciate each and every one of you, no matter where you may be.
Have a fabulous day!
Photo from one year ago today, July 23, 2015:
|One year ago, in Cairns, Australia we had no trouble finding a shopping mall with only a few turns required off the main highway into town. For more details, please click here.|