Our long journey is nearing an end as we arrived at our last city, Ho Chi Minh city (HCMC).
We were picked up in Dalat and had a pleasantly short drive, of six hours, to HCMC. This drive was unlike all of our other journeys because this was the only time we weren’t going up and down mountain sides and it was a nice change of pace.
Once we arrived and settled into our hotel we were eager to get put and explore. Most places here close early, keep that in mind if you are planning a trip here, shops and restaurants are open late but things to see close around 4pm.
I wanted to go see the Hi Chi Minh statue in the square, which happened to be just a few blocks from our hotel. So we packed up and ventured onward!
This city is huge, seeing the city skyline at night is almost as impressive as the NYC skyline, towers reaching towards the clouds lit up the night sky. Dad was in shock, he had been here during the Vietnam war over 40 years ago and this city was nothing of what he expected. That is a long time for a city to grow and it didn’t just grow, it exploded!
After getting the pictures I wanted we started to wonder the square and a good thing we did too. We heard loud music and a crowd gathered, seeing the police near by weren’t reacting or seeming concerned we went to check it out.
It was a taekwondo demonstration! Three counties were represented to show off their skills, Vietnam, Korea and Japan. Many of the techniques demonstrated looked like scenes from an action movie, I never thought that many of those techniques were actually possible until I saw them on the stage. From young children (age 5) to adults the skill levels and focus demonstrated was extremely impressive.
Once the crowd grew it started to get too hot to watch so we excited stage left. More lights down the way catch our attention and we went to investigate. Once again luck was on our side, we had found a world cultural expo! Of all the things that we could have found this was certainly the best possible outcome. I had wanted to attend a show with cultural music and now we could watch one as luck would have it for free!
The lights dimmed for the next act and we slid into our seats. This is a perfect example of how music didn’t need translating, in a foreign country with a language I don’t understand, I was still able to understand the message through the music. We watched the last three songs, two orchestra songs and one dance… the dance was my favorite. The colors, the movement, the way that this dance encompasses an entire culture…as a photojournalist I couldn’t have asked for more!
That was the cherry on top of a perfect night, deciding we couldn’t top that we turned in.
The next morning our plans changed… instead of walking around and exploring the city we decided to hit the beach. Easier said than done here…
When dad was here last, he remembered a beach not far from the city, since the city probably swallowed that beach we had to go a little further… like two hours further. We took a drive down to Vũng Tàu, a French Colonial town that looked a lot like Virginia Beach.
With the hot sun beating down on us a cool dip in the ocean is exactly what we needed! Oh the water was warm but cool – a perfect temperature! It was a fairly quick trip to the beach but it was exactly what we needed.
More stories to come from our adventure in HCMC!
Traveling Photographer Out!