Mekong Delta River - Vietnam travel
Travel

Exploring Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)

Vietnam se bližio kraju. Prisjećala sam se trenutaka s početka Vijetnama kada sam jedva čekala otići iz njega. Ali sada, nekako je prirastao srcu. Stigli smo u urbani grad koji nosi dva imena.

Ho Chi Minh najveći je grad u Vijetnamu, poznat i pod nazivom Saigon. Grad ima dva imena, a razlog tome vuče se još od Vijetnamskog rata. Iako se rat često referira kao Američki rat, povijest je ipak malo kompliciranija od samo “Amerika protiv Vijetnama”.

Vijetnamski rat je ustvari bio rat između sjevernog i južnog Vijetnama. Sjeverni dio Vijetnama podupirao je komunizam za razliku od južnog dijela Vijetnama. Tako su se Amerikanci uključili u rat podupirući južni dio i borili se protiv sjevernog dijela kojeg su podupirali Kina i Sovjetski savez. Sjeverni dio je pobijedio i zavladao je komunizam u cijelom Vijetnamu koji dan danas vlada.

A među ostalim, grad tada zvan Saigon, je službeno promijenjen u Ho Chi Minh u čast tadašnjem komunističkom vođi. Danas u Vijetnamu pola populacije naziva grad Saigon a pola Ho Chi Minh.
Sada znate i malo o povijesti Vijetnama.

Saigon je pravi urbani grad. Kako je bio poprište rata, iznova je sagrađen te je danas jedan moderan grad. Okružen je zgradama sa svih strana, neprestane gužve i zvuk sirena od, preko milijun zabilježenih, skutera.

Ulice su prepune ljudi a izlaz iz mnogih kuća je direktno na ulicu tako da si mnogi iznesu plastične stolice ispred kuće (čitaj na ulicu) i tamo sjede po cijeli dan. Također, na ulici i kuhaju i jedu na malom rešou, neki će čak pokušati i prodati neke sitnice, neki zaspe na stolici, a neki jednostavno uživaju.

Mogu reći da ljudi tamo znaju kada treba “stati”, odmoriti, nasmijati se… Sjećam se jednog trenutka, sjedila sam u Mc’Donaldsu na katu kraj prozora, radila sam i imala pogled na park. Nakon nekog vremena došlo je njih petero Vijetnamaca, rekla bih u dobi od četrdesetak do šezdesetak godina. Sjeli su na pod i krenuli igrati neku igru s kamenčićima. Bili su tako u parku nekih 20-ak minuta i nakon toga svatko se razišao svojim putem. Volim pretpostaviti da im je to bila pauza od posla.

Saigon, Ho Chi Ming - Vietnam travel
Streets of Saigon

Kao i u cijelom Vijetnamu, ni Saigon nije iznimka što se tiče prljavštine, zagađenog zraka, žohara i miševa. Kako mnogi kuhaju i jedu na ulici tako na kraju dana ostanu veliki ostatci ne samo smeća nego i hrane oko koje se skupljaju žohari i miševi.

Tako, prilikom jedne večernje šetnje po mostu, na kojem se inače okupljaju mladi gdje sviraju gitaru, jedu i uglavnom se druže, odjednom nas je okružila hrpa miševa. Počeli su izlaziti od nikud i praktički nas okružili. Ni sama ne znam kako sam to preživjela s obzirom na to da su mi miševi najveća fobija. Da, u Vijetnamu nikad dosta čuda.

U Saigonu smo posjetili njihove noćne markete gdje se cijeli grad okuplja noću. Možete jesti, kupovati poprilično modernu odjeću, Gucci torbice koje su stvarno Gucci (bar je teta sa štanda tako vikala pa je valjda istina 😉 ), razne vrste suvenira, voće itd. Kada ste na njihovim marketima MORATE se cjenkati jer ćete u protivnom platiti tri puta veću cijenu. Prodavači su nas vukli za ruke samo da nešto kupimo.

Istu tu večer uhvatio nas je veliki pljusak pri povratku u hotel. Kiša je toliko jako padala da su ulice vrlo brzo bile potopljene. Iako cijeli mokri, bili smo sretni što smo se vratili u hotel.

Uslijedio je šok. Cijela soba nam je bila potopljena. Voda je bila posvuda.
Kat iznad nas je bio prazan osim jednih vrata koja su vodila na terasu. Kako je kiša jako padala, cijela terasa je bila potopljena te se voda počela prelijevati u hotel slijevajući se na naš kat te u našu sobu kroz prostor između vrata i poda.

Zvali smo osoblje hotela no ispostavilo se da jedino osoblje hotela je bila jedna jedina čistačica u cijelom hotelu koja nije znala engleski i nije uopće skužila što treba napraviti – u sred potopoljene sobe.

Uspjeli smo dobiti menadžere na mobitel koji su nam izjavili kako ne mogu doći jer je subota navečer. Nakon što je Zvonimir upotrijebio svoje glasnice i “prijeteće” vještine, menadžeri su bili u hotelu u roku manje od pola sata, pobrisali nam pod i osigurali dodatne ručnike za slučaj ponovne poplave. Problem riješen.

Prilikom boravka u Saigonu otišli smo na organizirani izlet u Mekong Deltu koja se nalazi van grada. Očekivali smo dužu vožnju busom, nego što je zapravo trebala biti, te smo popili neke Vijetnamske tablete protiv mučnine (uvijek nam je oboma mučno tijekom dugih vožnji). Tablete su počele djelovati taman kad smo došli na prvo odredište. Nije bilo dobro. Doslovno su nas drogirale. Jedva smo se kretali, oči su nam bile poluzatvorene i htjeli smo samo spavati a morali smo razgledavati neke proizvode koje se rade od neke biljke. Iskreno ni ne sjećam se što smo točno razgledavali jer imam osjećaj da smo hodali u nekom polusnu. Ustvari sjećam se da je bio neki grudnjak i pasta za zube izrađeni od nama mistične biljke i to je sve što mi je ostalo u pamćenju. Eh…

Nastavili smo do drugih odredišta, odspavali u busu i utjecaj tablete se smirio. Posjetili smo “tvornicu” na otvorenom gdje prave slatkiše od kokosa. Zanimljivo je to kako tri žene tamo sjede cijeli dan i ručno zamataju te slatkiše u papir. Cijeeeli dan.
Tvornica je bila puna tek obranih kokosa, a da biste otvorili kokos potrebna vam je sjekira.

Vozili smo se rijekom u čamcima kojima su upravljale starije žene Vijetnamke koje su nosile šeširiće od trstike stožastog oblika. Rijeka je bila smeđe zemljane boje, a oko nas su bile ogromne stabljike i listovi banana i ostalog bilja. Dok se voziš tako osjećaš se kao da si u sred džungle. Kiša koja je tada padala ubrzala je cijelu turu i morali smo požuriti, ali vrijedilo je.

To je bio naš zadnji dan u Saigonu, iliti Ho Chi Minhu.
Ostala je još jedna destinacija – otok Phu Quock. Bilo je vrijeme za izležavanje na bijelim plažama dok smo okruženi palmama i kokosima.
No, kako to inače biva u Vijetnamu i ovdje je moralo ići neglatko.

Ali, više o tome u sljedećem postu…

Kako vam se sviđa naša dosadašnja avantura u Vijetnamu. Biste li otputovali kada tamo? Pišite mi u komentarima!

Mekong Delta River - Vietnam
Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta River - Vietnam
Mekong Delta River - Vietnam
Saigon, Ho Chi Minh - Vietnam, travel

Vietnam almost came to an end. I remembered the moment from the beginning of Vietnam when I could hardly wait to get out of it. But now, it has somehow grown in the heart. We came to an urban town with two names.

Ho Chi Minh is the largest city in Vietnam, known as Saigon. The city has two names, and the reason is that coming from the past, in fact, from the Vietnam War. Although war often referred to as the American War, history is a bit more complicated than America against Vietnam.

The Vietnam War was, in fact, a war between northern and southern Vietnam. The northern part of Vietnam was supported by communism as opposed to the southern part of Vietnam. Americans were supporting the southern part and fought against the northern part supported by China and the Soviet Union. The northern part of Vietnam has won, and communism dominated throughout whole Vietnam, which today still is.

The city, then known as Saigon, was officially changed to Ho Chi Minh in honor of the Communist leader. Today, in Vietnam, half the population using Saigon name and half Ho Chi Minh.
Well, now you got some history lesson too.

Saigon is a very urban city. The city was the main site of the war, so was once again built and today is a modern city. Saigon is surrounded by buildings from all sides, the constant crowd and the siren sound of over one million registered scooters.

The streets are full of people, and the exit from many houses is directly on the street, so many of them have plastic chairs in front of the house (read: on the street) and sit there all day. Also, they cook and eat on the street, some will even try to sell some stuff, some sleep on the chair, and some just enjoy it.

Saigon, Ho Chi Ming - Vietnam travel

I surely can say, people there know when to “stop”, rest, laugh… I remember one moment, I sat in McDonald’s on the first floor near the window, worked and had a look at the park. After some time, five Vietnamese came to the park. They were forty to sixty years. They sat on the grass and started playing some game with little stones. They were in the park for about 20 minutes and after that everyone got off their way. I like to assume that they were on a break from work. Well, a nice break.

Like all over Vietnam, Saigon is no exception to dirt, polluted air, cockroaches, and mice. Many people cook and eat on the street so at the end of the day there is not only garbage but also food around which gather cockroaches and mice.

During one evening walk on the bridge, where young people usually play guitar, eat and hang out, there was suddenly a bunch of mice around us. They came out of nowhere and practically surrounded us. Yes, it’s never bored in Vietnam.

In Saigon, we visited their night markets where everybody gathering on the evening time. You can eat there, buy pretty modern clothes, Gucci handbags that are really Gucci (at least the women from the booth said that, so it must be true ;)), souvenirs, fruits, etc. When you’re there, you have to bargain, or you will pay a triple price.

That same evening when we were returning to the hotel, we got caught up by rain. The rain was so heavy that the streets were sunk very soon. Although we were all wet, we were happy when we arrived at the hotel.

But when we entered the room, we were in shock. Our whole room was flooded. Water was everywhere.
The floor above us was empty except for one door that led to the terrace. As the rain fell heavily, the entire terrace was flooded. Water began to overflow into the hotel, falling on our floor and into our room through the space between the door and the floor.

We called the hotel staff, but it turned out that the only hotel staff was the one cleaner in the entire hotel who didn’t know English. She didn’t even know what we wanted from her – in the middle of the flooded floor. We managed to call managers who told us they couldn’t come because it was Saturday night. After Zvonimir raised his tone and used “threatening” skills, the managers were in the hotel for less than half an hour, cleaning our floor and provided us additional towels for the flood. The problem was solved.

During our stay in Saigon, we went on the excursion to Mekong Delta, which is outside the city. We thought is going to be a long bus ride to our first destination, so we took some Vietnamese pills for nausea. Unfortunately, it was a short drive, so we actually didn’t need pills. We started to feel pills kicking us. We got drugged. We could hardly move, our eyes were half-closed, and we just wanted to sleep. We had a tour where we saw some products made from a plant. I don’t really remember what we saw because I felt like I was half walking and half sleeping. In fact, I remember that there were some bra and toothpaste made by that mystical plant. That’s all I remembered.

We also visited the “factory” where they made coconut sweets and wrapped them in a paper for a whole day. The factory was full of newly picked coconut, and to open the coconut you will need an ax.

We were driving by the river in boats, run by older Vietnamese women, wearing traditional Vietnamese hats. The river was brown earthy, and around us were big banana leafs and other plants. It was rainy, so we needed to speed up the whole tour, but it was worth it.

It was our last day in Saigon or Ho Chi Minh. We were ready for our last destination – island Phu Quoc. A destination for resting on white beaches surrounded by palms and coconuts. But how it usually goes in Vietnam, we also had little problems there. But, more on that, in the next post.

Do you like so far our adventure through Vietnam? Would you ever visit it? Write your thoughts in the comment below!

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