From Manila and beyond.The weekend saw me exploring and walking the streets of Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh city as the guys in Hanoi would call it) .

Admittedly, Saigon didnt conjure up grand expectations as say one would have when visiting Shanghai or Singapore(same as what people would probablly feel about Manila) but the prospect of visiting a new city is simply too much to pass up so I packed up and headed to Vietnam's economic heartland.

To cut a long story short, Saigon simply blew me away. It is certainly a small city with a big surprise. Comming from Mega-Mad-Metro Manila, Saigon was an pleasent revelation.

Here's why.

The people. For Vietnam's biggest metropolis, Saigon felt comfortably small. The streets are buzzing and the everything is in human scale. The fact that there were people and shops on the streets attested to the fact the the Saigonese have not (yet) succumbed to American-style cosumerist mall culture. Or maybe old wounds have not yet healed.

In any case, I deemed it was safe enough to do as the locals do so I hopped in a motorcyclo with my trusty guide Khuc and set out to suck-in a full-day Saigonese experience.

saigon traffic

The view from the motorcyclo and my first taste fo Saigonese traffic. Head to the left if Khuc, my trusty driver and guide.

reading

There's no better way to pass Saigonese traffic than reading a good book. Or is he cramming for a school exam?!?

truck

Shades of Manila…this truck was driving at our side of the lane heading towards us!

xmas tree

It's beginning to look like Christmas…this is, after all, Vietnam , the second most Catholic Asian country after the Philippines…

Frame guy

Motorcyclo balancing act…

Chit chat

And these ladies thought they were cycling in the park! My guide told me that this is one of the causes of traffic slow-down in the city, people chit-chatting on the streets!

More Saigonese delights in the next post…

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