Keep calm & cross the road
My last day in Vietnam. Today I have visited by foot the main highlights of Ho Chi Minh City, and have learned the mantra to be able to cross any road here: keep calm.
Ho Chi Minh City is the business capital (not political) of Vietnam. And it is the crowdest city in Vietnam with around 8 million people living here, and with a ratio of almost 1:1 motorbike ownership, crossing any road or street is an adventure.
Locals tell you the main rule is to keep a pace, so motorbikes, bikes, taxis, vans, tuk tuks, buses… can guess your next steps and try to avoid you. Traffic lights are randomly located, and even though when you get to one pedestrian with one, cars and motorbikes don’t respect it, so after a while you find yourself crossing anywhere.
I made a visit to the main market in the city, Ben Thank Market, where I saw some rats running between the little shops, meat falling on the floor and being put to sell again, huge ice blocks being transported by motorbikes inside the market in a try to keep fish and seafood ‘fresh’, and lots of souvenir and imitations vendors.
I continued walking under the unbearable sun until the opera house, the famous Continental Hotel where reporters where hosted when broadcasting the Vietnam War, the beautiful post office, Notre Same cathedral and went to visit Xa Loi Pagoda.
I do not like the chaos of the big cities, but I have fallen in love with the Vietnamese countryside and its people.
Tomorrow I am leaving the country, taking a 8 hours buto cross the border with Cambodia, and ready for new adventures there.