Ho Chi Min City

Nothing, not even the mean streets of Hanoi had prepared us for Ho Chi Min. This was a city on the move, quite literally, and it wasn’t going to stop for anyone. Barely a scrap of road could be seen beneath the wheels of thousands of motorbikes flowing endlessly from every corner of the city and the air hung thick with fumes. The distinct lack of any kind of sanctuary for pedestrians, forced us to regularly run the zebra crossing gauntlet, where we were just a misplaced foot away from being swept into the deadly torrent.

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Elliot, whose delicate sinuses were deeply affected by the onslaught of pollutants, was immediately struck down by a bout of hayfever for the first time since leaving London. There was nothing for it but to eat more Pho, so we headed to Pho Hoa, a family-run establishment which opened back when Ho Chi Min City was still Saigon. By the look of the d├ęcor it hadn’t much changed since, but one sip of the good stuff and we knew why this little backstreet restaurant had survived four decades and was still going strong.

Our final day in Vietnam was spent at the War Remnants Museum, which exhibited several floors of photographs taken (mainly by journalists) from both sides during the Vietnam War. The accounts were terrifying and extremely moving, in particular the devastating effects of Agent Orange on the children and grandchildren of soldiers exposed to the chemical during the conflict. Outside on the forecourt, several war relics were on display including US tanks and Chinook helicopter.

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