Monday, July 28, 2008

Final Chapter

Nothing much to write here as I woke up to a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach.
Tried to get ready for breakfast, but then soon realised I was getting diarhoea. Decided to skip that and join the rest of my holiday troupe for one last bit of shopping at Ben Thanh Market. Soon realised there was no way I was going there either. So gave Lionel some money to buy me some vietnamese coffee for my family.
When it was time to check out, I was feeling worse. Took a cab to the airport and my stomach was really out to kill me. To make matters worse, realised last minute that I did not have my immigration form. Left it in my bag which I have already checked in. Was told to fill out a new form. Was feeling really bad. I finally reached home and then proceeded to tell my family my adventurous tale. Then I started shivering and realised I was getting a fever. Headed off to bed, and managed to sleep off the fever. Definitly got it from the snake wine. Anyway, I am still recovering from the snake wine poisoning. Will be doing the night shift for work this week and have to head on down later. Really enjoyed this trip as the adventure and the company was good. Hope for more of such trips in the future.
Well everyone, hope you enjoyed the story of my Ho Chi Minh Adventure.
I recommend that you have one yourselves. I gotta go, and I shall end this story with a quote from good ol Ynnib Nai-
"Love may be blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener"

Chapter 3: Chu Chi Tunnels

Today we were off to the Chu Chi Tunnels. Vietnam was famous for these during the war. Cost us a mere US$5 for a half day tour. Yesterday's Mekong Delta tour only cost us US$9. The tours are really cheap.
Anyway, we were brought to a Wood-Art-Factory first. They showed us Vietnamese art done with painting or egg shells or mother-of-pearl shells. Bought some for my mom and we then proceeded to the tunnels. It is interesting to see the rice fields, and the rubber plantations, random horses and cows and goats and chickens along the road side. They even have people selling seafood like clams and crabs in buckets by the raodside. With every country becoming modernised, seeing such sites will soon be a thing you will just be able to see in picture albums. According to the guide, even Vietnam is trying to modernise by 2020.
We soon reached the tunnels. The guide brought us to watch a propaganda video about the American-Vietnam war and how the americans are bad people with death and destruction on their minds. We were then told to try out one of the original and unchanged tunnels. Being the only one with a flashlight inbuilt with my phone, I went ahead of my other friends. It was small, my thighs were hurting and soon, there was a fork in the tunnel. As I shone my flashlight around to see which tunnel to take, I was horrified by the sight of bats hanging on the top and the sides of one of the tunnels. A bat was flying around, but there was no way of turning back. So on my elbows and knees I went crawling hoping that the damn bat flying doesnt hit me in the head. I doubt such an experience would turn me into Batman. I made it out alive and well, and with no bat hanging off me. We were soon moving around to see the types of underground bunkers and rooms and the different types of traps made by the Vietnamese. They even sawed us bombs from fallen american tanks or planes to make small mines. A lot died while trying to saw off the bombs. Talk about desperate times. After all that, we were brought to a shooting range. We can buy bullets for about US$1 per bullet, depending on what gun we would like to fire. They had magnums, M16s and AK-47s to name a few. A minimum of 10 bullets had to be purchased. I bought my 10 bullets, and went for the AK-47. The re-coil is hard to control and my friend Eunice had a bit of a shock. Was really a great experience. We then headed to the War Remnants Museum where there were a lot of Gory Images.

There was no warning that there will be such images or any restriction for children.
We were soon hungry and went to Diamond Shopping Centre to eat at the food court there. Lionel and Lynn tried the local fast food there, while Eunice and me tried the local rice noodle with rice skin and pieces of beef and pork. Also got a side order of steamed fish. Was a prety interesting meal. We then headed to the Notre Damme Cathedral and the Post Office for more sightseeing.

Was really beautifull and had french architecture written all over it. After that, we tried to get to Chinatown. Did not have the address, so decided to head to a shopping centre which, as we were told by our hotel reception, should be near Chinatown. Took a taxi, but near the end, realised that this was no ordinary taxi. The meter was jumping fast and we had to use almost all our remaining 'Dong' currency to pay for the cab. To make matter worse, we were then told by the shopping mall staff that Chinatown was nowhere near. So with nothing else to do, we headed back. I had to ask the taxi driver to wait while I ran up to my hotel room to get my remaining 'Dong' currency, which I left in the hotel room as a precaution, to the taxi driver. After all that, we headed off to dinner, then to dream cones for some cheap Gelato Ice-Cream. After which, we went off to Highland Coffee, which is the equivalent to our Coffeebean or Starbucks. Soon we were back at the hotel. For one last 'taste' of Vietnam, I decided to try some snake wine. It was the most vile smelling thing ever. And the taste was no different. I washed that down with some Baileys :)

Chapter 2: Mekong Delta

Woke up early morning to drag my ass to the hotel reception to ask them to help us order a cake for my friend Lynn. Aparently, all cakes come in the same design and only one flavour. Decided that will have to do. Also asked that flowers be left in the room before we return from our Mekong Delta tour today. I then proceeded to have my free complimentary breakfast. After awhile, the rest came down for breafast and we all headed off to the bus that will bring us to the Mekong Delta. It was a long 2 hour plus journey, and we still needed to take a boat ride. The boat ride took forever. We finally reached the banks of the Mekong Delta and we got off to look at the coconut candy they made there. We then had lunch at the village, which was a simple maggee mee with some meat and vegetables. We then took a pony ride to one of the villages which had some people entertain us with traditional vietnamese music and song.

They served us honey which was made from a bee hive nearby, together with tea. The moment the tray of honey hit the table, the bees came. There was no way I was going to drink or even sit in the vicinity of a bunch of deadly honey bees. So off I went to carry a Phython. It was a strange feeling as the snake was moving itself across my neck and hand. At first I was a little nervous, but after awhile, I was actually starting to get the hang of having a snake around my shoulders. It was then time to head back. Reached the hotel at about 5pm, so was a bit tired. But had to get ready for dinner. From what I know, the reception called my friend and told her the flowers was coming up, so there went the surprise. Anyway, she thanked us, and we went to the Night Market near Ben Thanh Market for dinner. Ate at a seafood place and then went for some shopping there, again. While waiting for the gals to finish, I got an sms telling me that they went off for a pedicure. So I and Lionel headed back to the hotel 1st. Took the cake from reception, but realised there was no candles. One of the hotel staff actually hopped on his scooter and drove off to get some candles. So we actually managed to surprise Lynn with a small Birthday celebration. We ate the cake which was filled every which way with cream, and then headed off to a pub nearby to celebrate even more. We ate, drank local beer, played some game involving lotsa shouting and hand movement, and drank some Vodka Orange in a fish bowl. All in all, a good day. Next up, Chapter 3: Chu Chi Tunnels.

Chapter 1: I'm Back From Vietnam

Back from Ho Chi Minh City to be exact. Was tiring, fun, and adventurous. Accomadation wise, transport, food and tours were pretty cheap. Because my friend Lynn booked the flight way way way in advance, we flew on Tiger Airways on the cheap as well. Cheaper than how the normal budget flights are usually. Left my house at about 5:15am to share a cab with Lynn and Lionel to Budget Terminal. Met up with Lynn's friend Eunice over there and had Breakfast at Hans. We then caught our flight and were flying off to the unknown.

Day 1

Ben Thanh Market

We took a cab over to the hotel for US$10. We knew it was a little bit more expenive than usual, but thought that the queue for the taxi was a bit too long, so decided to cut the queue and go for it. Turns out that there was no queue in the 1st place. Just a bunch of people waiting outside the airport for people to arrive rather than waiting inside. Well, after about 20 minutes, we reached our hotel- Lac Vien Hotel. Lionel got off the cab gingerly after witnessing the cab driver weave through waves of motorcycles and traffic better than any F1 driver. Found our hotel inside a street alley. As we were early, we left our bags at reception and went for an early lunch. Local food there consists of some noodles, small pieces of chicken or beef, and lotsa soup. A separate bowl of vegetables with cut lime and chili is also served. Cost us less than S$1.50. Then went to Ben Thanh Market for some early shopping. Shopkeepers grabbing your hand and asking you to buy things as you try to bash your way through, was quite an experience. We then checked in the hotel and since the rooms were so cheap, my friend booked for us the VIP Suite. When Lionel and I walked in the room, we actually thought that the room was too big. At least 4 people could have stayed in that 1 room. Anyway, decided to do some sight seeing, and headed to the Imperial Palace.

Imperial Palace

Got a tour round the palace for free and was pretty interesting. But then it started to rain heavily. So we could not continue our planned city tour. Managed to get a taxi to a shopping centre for more shopping. Didn't actually get anything as there was hardly anything to get. Just 2 storeys of clothes that didn't seem very appealing. We then went to another shopping centre where we somehow lost Eunice and Eunice lost us. We then went hunting but was unsuccessful. So the plan was to sit down and wait for her to show up or contact us. After awhile, she showed up. Apparently, she had a nice dinner while we were hunting for her. As we were in a hunting mood, we then set out for our next hunt- KFC. Walking up and down the streets, is a bit of a skill. Aparently, the trick is to walk slowly as you cross the street to allow the motorcycles to weave around you. Then panic when you see a car or bus. So we hunted and hunted, and finally, arived at our destination. KFC chicken is served on a plate with a knife and fork over there, which is the difference between Singapore's KFC, and Vietnam's KFC. That was why we went there, to check out the differences. So mission accomplished, we set out back to the hotel to rest for awhile, then come out again to visit the night market. Things there seemed to be mostly aimed at the ladies, so I just got myself a belt and then waited at a nearby coffeeshop with Lionel till the ladies finished with their shopping. Got a cab, then went straight back to the Hotel to rest.
Lots done in a day. This is obviously going to be a long story. So this is why I'm breaking this into chapters. Next up: Chapter 2: Mekong Delta!

Monday, July 21, 2008

What Is The World Coming To?

Tomorrow I'm going on a cultural trip to Vietnam this time to learn a different culture and escape from the madness for awhile. You may be asking, what are you talking about?! Well, the world is going mad. Just take a look at this new report below. The humiliation......

Briton arrested for sex attacks on sheep

LONDON (Reuters) - A Briton has been arrested on suspicion of carrying out a series of sex attacks on sheep, London police said on Friday.

The 27-year-old man was held at his home in Dulwich, south London, on suspicion of bestiality with sheep. He was also wanted in connection of the possession of drugs with intent to supply.

Detectives said the arrest followed allegations made to them in May and June.

"Two male joggers said they had observed a man molesting the sheep in a field at Botany Bay Lane, Chislehurst," police said in a statement.

"A similar incident was reported to police by a stables employee in the area."

Media reports said the man had been barred from visiting farmland while officers carried out their investigation.

Monday, July 07, 2008


Short form for Vietnam. 15 more days to go to my Vietnam trip. July 15, is my sister's birthday by the way. Also the same day my cousins from England are flying down to holiday in Singapore and will be staying with our family. Will be staying for 2 weeks. Have no idea what that is going to be like. I also have no idea what to write today.
Hard to think after going through a rock wall climbing session. Went with my brother and friend Henry. I have been going for the past few sundays and on days when I push myself, such as like a few hours back, it is tiring and my arms are aching. For some reason, so are my legs. I could not even open a can of coke after that. Had to use my thumb. And typing all this is providing me another workout in itself, with all the pain throbbing through my forearms everytime I push a key. It really is a fun sport though.
Now I would really like to just head to bed and rest after such a work out. But I am trying to get my body used to staying up late at night. That's why I am now typing all this- to keep myself awake. So that this week, as I am working the night shift, I would not feel sleepy or worse- jetlag. Yup, jetlag without the jet. When you work shifts like I do, you'll know what I am talking about.
Just want to take a random pause in all this to wish Jasmine a Happy Belated Birthday! I know I have already sms'ed and wished on the actual day yesterday, but when I get such a random moment, it has to come out. So here it is! Ta-da!
Is it just me or is Singapore having a lot of festivals lately? I know now is the Food Festival. There is also the Garden Festival and Night Festival coming out this month according to the commercials. Lau Pa Sat had free coffee and buns from NTUC for the Food Festival. The rest of the food were normal dishes that I always have when I go to Lau Pa Sat for my meals. They now have a loud band playing to add to that great atmosphere of shouting to your friend whenever you want to tell them something. I guess when they planned it out, they realised that people should just shut up and eat their food.
I think I have said enough nonsense for today. Shall end here and try to keep awake doing something else. In the mean time, Ynnib Nai has some wise but grave words for us to take note of:-
"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups."