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In country

Currently almost 11pm, Tuesday, December 13th.

I was feeling a bit stronger yesterday, so I walked around to find more passport photos for my Indian visa and a few extras just in case. I already had some extras I had gotten in the US, but they're used for various passes and visas, so I've used them up. Eight cost me about VND14,000 or about $0.90 here in Saigon/HCMC, compared to about $12 for 4 in LA. I got some food in Benh Thanh market and was going to try another promising spot when I got hurly again, so I probably got too enthusiastic.

I went in to the Indian embassy to submit the visa application today, and they were perfectly professional and cordial, unlike the guy in KL. It should be ready by Friday.

Today I hired a moto driver for the day, and we accomplished quite a lot, going to An Dong market, lunch at a Vietnamese/Chinese restaurant, a few pagodas, a coffee bar on the opposite side of the river, the "Black River", the War Remnants Museum, another massage, a beer at a locals only bar, and dinner on a crappy riverboat complete with badbadbad karaoke in Vietnamese. BTW, the traffic is c r a z y here. In terms of bottlenecks and general pain-in-the-assedness, I think Bangkok is still pretty bad. But in terms of how many dang motos are out there and how "risky" the driving is, I think Saigon/HCMC is the worst I've seen so far. Don't get me wrong though, it's a fascinating city.


There really is nothing like bad karaoke, is there? I hope you at least had proper amounts of alcohol to kill the pain.

Nope, stone sober. The guide had to pull me back over the railing, I was trying to abandon ship.

I guess technically it's not karaoke - they're gun-for-hire singers that rotate through mostly Vietnamese hits accompanied by one guy with a drum machine and an old synthesizer. The only song I recognized was "Hello" by Lionel Ritchie. They walk around handing out plastic flowers, and if you feel like tipping them, you put some money in the flower and hand it back to them while they're singing.

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