Ho Chi Minh City – first impressions.

It was always going to be a bit of a culture shock landing in Vietnam after Japan, though you wouldn’t necessarily think it from the sleek, modern and air-conditioned airport terminal which could be anywhere. Our visa-on-arrival scheme, ordered online from www.vietnam-visa.com, turned out to be simple and mostly painless, though at first we missed the distant window down the far end of the hall and stood in the wrong queue.

When we eventually got out we were met by the promised driver from the hotel, who took us on a white-knuckle ride through the city passing through shoals of moped-drivers like a shark through fish: hooting wildly seems to be the local alternative to mirror-signal-manœuvre, or at least the mirror signal part.

In the dark, it was difficult to get much of an impression beyond the busy traffic, a good deal of lively night-life that seems popular with the foreigners and here and there a glimpse of some grandiose colonial buildings.

Not for the first time on this trip, we arrived at our hostel though to find they had given away our room though they had arranged alternative accommodation for the first night just round the corner. I have promised not to blog on this subject until I have cooled down a little …

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