A morning for the girls

All the time that we’ve been travelling, we’ve tried to mix together
sightseeing and some fun things for the girls. So we decided to go to one
of Saigon’s waterparks for a bit of playtime. Like all good plans, this
one fell apart straight away! We took a taxi to the Saigon Water Park, on
the outskirts of the city.

Saigon Traffic

The taxis in Saigon have meters, so there’s no
negotiation to be done beforehand, which makes it very stress-free to get
around. The only thing is, because $1 is worth 15,500 Dong, the meter
ticks around at an enormously fast pace! I couldn’t decide whether I
should be watching the meter, and panicking, or watching our progress
through the traffic – and panicking! As there are so many motorbikes, and
seemingly no road rules, traffic is heart-stopping. Red traffic lights are
only for those people who are nervous – the rest plunge straight through.
The only road rule appears to be that the bigger you are, the faster you
can drive straight through junctions and make unusual turns. Bicycles give
way to motorbikes, who give way to cars, who give way to buses, who give
way to lorries. If you’re in a car turning out of a side road, or even
pulling away from the curb, you just do it – no looking, no indicators,
just go!

Shark Waterland

But, after the taxi meter had ticked up to 65,000 Dong, we arrived safely
at Saigon Water Park, to find it is closed every Tuesday. To the sounds of
Emily howling in the back seat we turned around and headed back to the
other side of the city – through the traffic again. Fortunately Saigon has
more than one water park, so we drove instead to Shark Waterland (which
marketing person though that was a good name for a swimming pool?), which
turned out to be a bit dowdier, but open. And the meter had only managed
to get to 170,000 Dong (phew – 7). We spent the rest of the day there,
splashing down the slides and generally having a laugh.

Snake, in a drink. Yum!

We had to wander the backstreets to find a taxi to get home, passing
drivers sleeping in their cyclos (rickshaws, Vietnamese style), an open
air pavement barber (complete with hydraulic chair), ear wax cleaners
(here it s a profession, not a packet of cotton buds) and the ubiquitous
‘Cobra Wine’ shops. They sell bottles of spirit, containing full size
cobras and other snakes. At only $2 a bottle, it seems good value for a
drink and a snake to scare your friends with. But why, oh why, would you
drink it? I guess it’s no different to the Tequila worm, but you’re not
exactly going to be able to swallow it without it chewing are you?