Thursday, August 24, 2006

Last Pagoda Run

This morning I set out to see a little more of Ho Chi Minh City, and having a whole bunch of Viet Nam money in my wallet I decided to take a cyclo tour. The cyclo driver that offered me a ride, talked about the regular tour which included war museums and couple of pagodas. I wasn't too keen on seeing museums, but I wanted to see as many pagodas as possible and my cyclo driver was okay with that.

He took me from pagoda to pagoda and I quickly discovered that people here really pack into pagodas on Fridays. It was pretty crazy, having to push through the crowds and wait to get photos with as few people as possible. A lot of people go and light incense and say a few prayers for good luck and more money. It's all about the money, after Buddha I think money is the most sacred thing. In the photo incense can be seen smoking from the table and also from the roofs. They hang spiral incense up on the roofs and it really smokes up the place. It was pretty hard to breath in some of these pagodas.

The cyclo was a great way to see some of the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. We passed through a few street markets and my cyclo driver gave me tips on where to buy cheap fruits and clothing. We passed by a place that sold pets too. I can get a monkey for a pet for pretty cheap here. I'd love a pet monkey, though I don't think I could get it across the border. :)

As my tour of the city ended, my cyclo driver asked for a little extra money for being so helpful. You always have to be skeptical of people here if they offer you more than you ask for. Originally he quoted me 50,000 dong per hour, which works out to about a $1.75 USD, at the end of a 4 hour trip he wanted 350,000 dong. I offered him a 150,000 and after much debate we settled at 250,000. He was a nice guy, but I think I gave him too much, as far as pricing goes here.

I got a brief email from Kheang and we're meeting up tonight to fly back to Canada.


Anonymous said...

A fantastic trip Marko, when is the next one???? :-)


Anonymous said...

At least the money comes second to religion... Calgary sure cares about money (and actually I don't know if they care about anything else!?!) Charles