Thursday 10 January 2008

Day 12: A Look into My Past and an Elephant Spitting in My Eye

Had a little Banh Mi sandwich for breakfast and set forth on a mission to see some history museums. The Ho Chi Minh History Museum was actually not quite worth the trip. Quite small, it was completely biased towards Communism (obviously). It did; however, provide some good pictures of the Saigon Port which handles about 35 million metric tons of cargo a year. After eating at Pho 2000, I hopped on a cyclo to the History Museum - negotiated the driver from 50,000Dong down to 15,000Dong.
My happy-go-lucky cyclo driver

Tip: When negotiating in touristy parts of Saigon and you think they may be giving you a "tourist price," divide the original amount by a third to a half and go from there!

At the History Museum, I found my ancestors at Exhibit #9! I'll save the history, but if you go back about half-a-dozen greats and a few hundred years, I'm related to the Nguyen dynasty that once ruled Vietnam (No details written due to the blog's focus on the travel instead of the boredom the reader will receive from hearing about the author's life).
Now THIS was worth the visit.

My family in the Saigon History Museum

As no one stopped me as I walked out (perhaps because of my ethnicity), I first took pictures of the pagoda behind the Museum and then ended up at the Saigon Zoo! I found a cute elephant and debated whether to feed it or not. As I was deciding, the bastard elephant spat in my eye! No food or love for him.
The notorious elephant that spat in my eye

There were twists and turns everywhere, so I spent a good two hours just walking around. Leopards, Golden Cats, etc. Great zoo. Went home to quickly eat some mego and rice and then headed back into town to meet Jay at the GO2 bar on the corner of De Tham and Bui Ven. A mostly touristy hang-out, it is a good place for people watching and meeting other travelers. Be warned: all they play is American music, including Carrie Underwood and more appropriately, Guns 'N Roses! We met up with a Nigerian and three English folk in which I proceeded to have another Tiger beer. Could I be developing a taste for beer now?

All of a sudden, a little local boy roughly six years old, came over to play Paper-Rock-Scissors with the Nigerian. He then stood up on his thighs and danced! Hilarious!
San at the travel agency gave me a ride home again. So nice!

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