I am far off time and don’t sleep well, so I oversleep in the morning, racing out without my excursion ticket (retrieved) and without my Fitbit (realized too late). We get into dock and cleared by Vietnam immigration an hour late, but T and I are among the first people off the ship to join the tour.
Our tour is all related to the war and military history, and includes a visit to the Australian troops’ memorial, so it’s Aussie-heavy in our group today. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is about an hour – 90 min from the port at Phu My. Our guide, Zen, is excellent and easy to understand – he speaks English with a definite American accent, with just a hint of the southern US. When I ask, he says he learned English from a US person based from California, but if I had to guess I’d say they were originally from Texas.
We visit both a Vietnamese memorial, and explore a section of the tunnels the Viet Cong would have used (just a short section, somewhat higher than most others (we only have to stoop to go through, not crawl)). It has bats in it and I’m glad not to have forgotten my hat.
Then we visit the Australian memorial – a simple cross erected at the site of a bloody battle, now surrounded by banana and rubber trees.
In all it’s an interesting tour (and mostly delightfully unscented). Because in general my takeaway from Vietnam has been “pungent.”
T and I get back to the ship in time to grab lunch and chat a bit before we head back to our respective rooms to clean up, rest and unwind.
After a shower to wash off insect repellent and sunscreen, I settle in hoping to sleep for a bit before any of us meet up – but I don’t.
In a little while I give up and plan to go down to find something to do. I bump into G and V, just back from their tour. V goes to change before a dinner and show; G sticks with me and we settle into a nook to chat, waving T in to join us when she strolls by.
Time passes. Chatting, us three, a musical act taken in, a great pizza meet-up, more chatting (now 4 of us, with V) until the place closes around us.
Then more chatting back in the quiet corner, losing track of time until one by one we all just sort of fade away to our respective rooms for the night. Uh, technically morning.