Waking in the morning on our first day in HCMC and getting out on the street led to a fullness of the senses.
The sounds of hundreds of little motorbikes, the honk-honk of horns from every size of vehicle in a “here I am” manner rather than “get out of my way”.
Actually, with a full day of walking we never heard or saw one instance of road rage. Driving here you almost never stop, intersections or side roads, you just merge and watch out. Scooters with enormous loads and scooters with entire families, they are always everywhere.
Then there are the smells. They hit you like a hammer. Sweet flowers and fruit, the pungent spices, charcoal burning to start cooking for the day, and the nasty all mix confusing your overloaded brain.
The sights of organized chaos on the streets in such a manner that it works. People everywhere going about their business with always a ready smile. Chickens getting plucked and hung by their necks for sale along with live seafood and red meat animals being segmented with the occasional snout on display.
The feel of Vietnam hangs in the air as we say to each other that Robin Williams inspired phrase, “Good Morning, Vietnam”.
Melanie steps into a hair salon as I retreat across the street in a cafe for a Vietnamese favorite, iced coffee (tastes like amaretto coffee) and green tea, for about VND$18,000, or about US$0.80. Later a beer stop for a beer so fresh it had been made within the past two days, VDN$12,000. Might break the bank on that one.
On the way back to the hotel we passed a massage studio, two 70 minute massages with oil and hot rocks for only US$22. We decided to go for it and 10 minutes later I had a little Vietnamese woman sitting, crawling and walking all over me. Then she tied up my legs in a figure 8 wrestling move and dug her knees into the exposed muscle. It hurt so bad I couldn’t even signal to stop. I have to admit I did feel better after it was over but Melanie has know joined me in ongoing back spasms.
Tomorrow we are off to Cambodia.