23 december Milan (ITALY)

 

"You need to desire it and to adapt at it; but: who travels, for sure, will have the first one and as for the second: who can't do it, it's better if he stays at home."


- Fosco Maraini - (Meeting with Asia)

 

24 december Ho Chi Minh City (VIETNAM)

We land in the small Yangon airport after 10 hours flight (Rangoon), Myanmar capital (former Burma)
You could foresee from above the classical oriental pagodas and I was already wondering about how interesting would have been to visit this Country… A such different world from ours! Once landed they only let those who were staying here off the plane, we have to wait in the plane, there are no stewards or hostess here but militaries, there is a military dictatorship!

 

A few minutes later we take off again to our destination: Ho Chi Minh City (former Saigon); since the transfer we get a taste of what will persecute us for the whole trip: motorbikes… Rivers, almost everybody on small and old motorbikes, they run everywhere: on the sidewalks, carrying two, three, four people! I saw one carrying a whole glass-window on his small motorbike!

When they realize that you don't have almond eyes they smile at you and greet you…

 

I really enjoyed walking around and fighting with the motorbikes in the street! I tasted coco juice directly from the coconut and opened in front of me with a machete hit!

 

As for our hotel! Simply wonderful! Just think that: “New World Hotel” (five stars superior), was the one chosen by Bill Clinton and his staff when he came to visit Saigon!

 

Christmas dinner! Only fishes: big prawns, sushi, salmon and many other fishes! To end, a big plate of tropical fruit and then we are ready to dive in the motorbikes sea to celebrate the “Holy Christmas”… “Holy”? “How long have Vietnamese been celebrating Christmas?” Actually, even if a small part of the population is Catholic, while the rest Induist or Buddhist, Christmas is seen as we live Halloween, I mean, just a way to have a good time. Anyway it's celebrated as a summer Carnival… Everybody are dressed as “Santa Claus” with short T-shirts… I have never celebrated a Christmas in short pants!

 

Meanwhile the midnight comes and I lie down, alone, on this King Size bed, in my room, after a shower to put away all the corianders that girls, artfully, threw in my shirt!

 

By the way, few minutes ago I entered an Induist Temple by mistake … damn! There were so many people and each of them was praying in front of a different divinity making weird waves and actions…

 

25 december Cu Chi (VIETNAM)

Visit at Cu Chi Tunnels which are 250 km long built by Viet Cong during the French occupation and the conflict against America, they go to the city of Saigon. I ventured with the guide in one of those tunnels… they were very narrow and long, to be avoided by those who suffer from claustrophobia.


They have showed us many traps, the way they killed American soldiers… I have seen the war from the other point of view for the first time in my life…

 

In the afternoon we have visited the “Chinese Saigon”: first step: Colon, a typical Chinese market, very coloured and animated. Then Thien Hau Pagoda, the most ancient of the city and dedicated to Heavenly Lady: seamen and sailors protector. At the entry they gave us some scented incense spirals.

 

We visit the Horror War Museum which documented with a photo reportage all the aspects of the conflict against the Americans.

 

After that we visit Notre Dame Cathedral and the famous Postal Office, designed by Gustave Eiffel.

 

In the evening I relax on a “rickshaw”, what a feeling “sliding” quietly sitting in a crazy motorbike river… although, too bad for my poor lungs!

 

 

 

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