Thursday, April 29, 2010

May 8: Back to Manila

Back to Ho Chi Minh City first.

At so early in the morning, we could not find a taxi to bring us to the terminal. Then there were motorcycles. At last, I experienced a motorcycle ride in Vietnam! They brought us to the terminal, and in particular to that of a shuttle (sort of the FX here).

Here's Mon where we had our stopover...

...where we had this rice noodles I love...

...and where you could find these kinds of fruits and other fresh goods...

Approaching HCMC and going to the airport (or at least that mall near the airport), you could catch a glimpse of...

...Eden Garden...

...a man on this tri-bike with the nicely landscaped rotonda and a Vaseline billboard as a background...

...a busy street...

...tons of sugarcanes on that pedicab almost look-alike...

...a cab on a street with heavy traffic (tel. no.

...and another cab (tel. no. 38 111 111).

We had our lunch at that mall near the airport (Parkson Square)...

...where you could see the airport...

...and a light flow of traffic...

...while enjoying a soup at Coca...

...and another shake with cute straw...

...with a rice meal that does not forget vegetable side dishes...

...and a seafood meal that does not forget the leaves.

And that's me - tired, happy for being with Mon, but sad that I'd be going back to Manila away from him.

Before I forget, I bought a little notebook at Parkson Square in my attempt to study while waiting at the airport. Back then, I was about to take an assessment exam after a refresher course in economics and mathematics. Nice try. :)

And, more importantly, Parkson Square offers a free shuttle to and from the airport regularly (every hour, I think).

At the airport, while waiting for the check in time, Mon got to sit beside this young man, who looked like a Filipino and indeed he was one. Amazingly, Mon had an inkling that he was a Mapuan, and indeed he was. At that time, a fresh graduate and board passer who took up B.S. Chemical Engineering.

This is Michael. I guess where he is now and if he remembers the young (ahem) couple he met in 2009.

Some aerial shots as the plane took off:

May 8, 2009 - HCMC or near that city

May 8, 2009 - I wonder if this is still HCMC

Above the clouds...

...a peaceful view...

...with the airplane's wing... attempt to catch the sunset, but the filter got in the way...

...and finally, the sun setting.

Back to Manila. Back to the Philippines.

That Vietnam trip was really a great experience. I bet it would have been better if I had already taken economic history under the dean when I got there - more appreciation of history, the people, landmarks, customs, and the little details. Yet, having taken that course would have meant less money for me to spend on trips such as this. Resource constraint, plus the many other places I wish to visit. Vietnam, meanwhile, remains on my list of the places to visit.

Up next, where? :)

May 7: Touring (a Bit) Around Can Tho City

On that second to the last day of my stay in Vietnam, I finally managed to get up early. Before going to work, Mon went with me to that bridge.

A very foggy morning

You won't fail to find people on bicycles and motorcycles

When I was alone again walking around the place, I finally managed to take of photo of the pagoda along Hai Ba Trung.

Despite lacking the funds to take a boat ride along the river, I still talked with locals trying to make me avail of their boat services. They were really nice, but I was a bad tourist passing off as someone interested in their services.

He was one of my victims, who even desperately called what I presumed was his boss, or at least someone who could understand and speak English.

I like her! So cheerful, so nice, and so persistent on making me avail of a boat ride. I felt bad for making her hopeful. I tried to send the message that I really won't be spending money on that boat ride. But she was so persistent!

For lunch, I again went to Mekong restaurant where I had the goat curry, and again met friendly locals who told me about Filipinos (from the Philippine) who would go there to buy beer during Sundays.

The friendly one

The friendlier one

Going to the war museum, I met these young kids who were willing (and actually volunteered) to have their pictures taken. What were their names again?

After visiting the museum, I then met this Vietnamese.

He could speak good English

Looking back, it was great to have met and talked with them. Because of them, my Vietnam trip became more meaningful. :)

Now, more snapshots around the town (or city):

The riverside park

The river

The restaurant beside the riverside park

A lady on a bicycle holding a tray on the street viewed from the restaurant beside the riverside park

Khi Den Do, where across the street you could find a bookstore with relatively inexpensive books (compared with books sold in the Philippines) but written in Vietnamese so I could not buy them even if I wanted to

Pham Hong Thai and Ly Thuong Kiet, some streets I walked through to go to the restaurant with free wi-fi to have my late snack

Again, a cute presentation of a shake... accompany a serving of seafood noodle dish

And for dinner, KFC, with Mon...

...where their chicken meal comes with sliced tomatoes as side dish...

...and where there is a salad, albeit not a satisfying one.


May 6-7: The War Museum

After visiting Can Tho Museum, I walked further down the road to go to the war museum. Along the way, I passed by this:

...a shot of Ninh Kieu 2 Hotel against a rare sunny sky as a background.

So finally, the war museum, whose "English" name I actually forgot after a year of visiting.

What can you see there? Of course, lots of war stuff - guns, ammunitions, sky craft, etc.

But then, I went at a rather untimely hour as they were closing for what I supposed as a lunch break. I was going through the second floor when I heard a very lovely sound of humming. Then I was told I could come back at about 3:00 in the afternoon. Or was it 2:00?

Off I went to the nearby cafe by the supermarket to enjoy an icy cold mint tea. The mint tea at that expensive restaurant, which came free by the way, was definitely better. Have I already mentioned that iced tea (the real tea with ice, not the sugary sweet iced tea commonly known) is their water?

May 7, 2009

The following day, I went to finish touring around that war museum. Aside from the ammunitions, you can see him:

I can't resist posting those other stuff:

And this photo of lady soldiers:

And this sort of glass art or wall mural (what do you call these kind of art, anyway?):

Most of all, I'm proud and fond of this photograph with a friendly Vietnamese who made me feel welcome, taken by another friendly (male) Vietnamese with the lovely voice. Of course, I wish I could remember their names.

And so, this was how it looked like then on the afternoon of May 7, 2009...