So after a full first day, I was able to have a good sleep last night but Michele has been suffering from some intense jet lag and was wide awake at 1:30am. I’m glad I’m avoided it and hope doesn’t continue too long. This morning, our group, we got up and drove out of the city today to spend the day in the countryside, in an area still considered part of Ho Chi Minh but definitely out in the countryside. It was beautiful and very much what I had pictured the countryside of Vietnam to be like.
Our first stop of the morning was to an orphanage for kids with various medical issues or physical disabilities. Many of the kids had been affected by the effects of Agent Orange which was used by the American government during the Vietnam war. It was both a heartbreaking visit and yet an incredibly memorable visit at the same time…. something I will always remember from this trip. Many of the kids were so excited to see us and had know about our visit for a while. The kids were so sweet and were enamored with our phones/iPads…. Here is a selfie snapped by one of the little girls that I played with for a bit.
Then I found another little girl who was more sick and was not mobile or able to move around on her own – I’m not sure what exactly her condition was, but I picked her up and she just snuggled with me for a good half hour. She fell asleep at one point and had the longest eye lashes I’ve ever seen. Other people on our trip took pictures but I haven’t gotten them yet. It was very hard to leave and tears were shed by many of us.
We had lunch at a great tourist restaurant on the river with floating lotus in the river and palm trees all around us…. it was 37 degrees today, plus humidity so it felt a little like paradise (especially upon learning that it’s cold and snowy in Calgary).
After lunch we went to the Cu Chi Tunnels tourist site which is nuzzled in the jungle. The Cu Chi tunnels are an intricate network of underground tunnels, built by the Viet Cong as hiding spots during the war. In addition to the tunnels there are communication and supply routes, a hospital room, food and weapon caches and living quarters also build underground. As part of the tour, they had a variety of Vietnam War era weapons at a shooting range. So Michele and I paid $10 each to shoot 5 rounds of ammunition from an AK47… SO awesome!
By the time we got home for our day in the 40+ degree heat, we were both sweaty and feeling pretty gross, so we each had a quickie shower before heading out for the night. Everyone on our tour went for a dinner cruise on the Saigon River – so lovely!
Afterwards, Michele and I went to a hotel along the water front, and went up to the 8th floor where there is a rooftop garden bar. We had a couple amazing mojitos while we enjoyed the breeze of a beautiful night and an amazing view!
Good night from Vietnam…xo