Vietnam
Xóm Ông Đội

Here you’ll find travel reports about Xóm Ông Đội. Discover travel destinations in Vietnam of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

19 travelers at this place:

  • Day5

    Ho Chi Minh City

    October 14, 2018 in Vietnam ⋅ 🌧 84 °F

    Augie and I checked into the Airbnb and chilled for most of the weekend. We hit a few tourist spots and took a few walks around the busy city. One tourist destination allows one to go down into the caves that the Viet Cong used to undermine American efforts. My brother Will shared that when we bombed near the caves they would backfill the craters to get rid of the dirt dug from the tunnels. Vietnam has been a Socialist country since the end of-what they refer to as-the American War. It is sort of hard to tell this is a communist country as there seems to be more unfettered free marketeering going on than back in the States. Everyone has businesses and side businesses. The country has followed China's model of late.

    These days 8.5 million people live in Saigon. Like Amsterdam, they each own at least one two wheeled vehicle. The difference here is that they are scooters rather than bicycles. Scooters are ubiquitous. They have their own lanes and go by their own rules. Riders are frequently up on the sidewalks to gain the advantage of being at the head of the pack at a traffic light. At an intersection scooters take their left turns from the far right lane; cutting in front of the line of cars, trucks, and busses to get where they need to be. Crossing the street as a pedestrian is an act of faith. Somehow a person steps into swirling traffic and manages to make it to the other side. It all just sort of works. Pretty wild.

    Here is a video of the maelstrom that we took from the second floor of a burger joint.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/tpsycCt3N7iLkBN48
    Here's a sped up version:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/NGasUFTu3kMe6tPq7

    We hit quite a few restaurants and cafés during our stay. The coffee culture is amazing. Cappuccinos everywhere. Vietnam became a major producer back in the late 80s. That's part of what led to a worldwide coffee glut that undermined the Central American economies in the 90s. Farmers were left with little choice than to pack it up and head to the States for work. Did you all know that one of the biggest 'build that wall' proponents, Representative Devin Nunes, employs mostly undocumented workers in his family's dairy businesses? Go figure. We even visited a couple of brewpubs. East Meets West had pretty good food and an excellent Belgian blond ale. We noted that the same meal and brew would have been three times the price in San Francisco or Amsterdam.

    Augie was able to connect with his friend Minh from his college days. Minh now works in an architecture firm in the city. They went out for a traditional noodle soup. Minh's family also owns and runs a stall at the central Ben Thanh market.

    Saturday we visited the motorbike rental agency to set up our rides for the next month. They are semiautomatic Hondas with racks to carry our gear. When we arrived they brought down two brand new bikes. We pick them up first thing Monday morning. Don't think they'll look this nice at the end of our 1200 mile tour...
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  • Day37

    HCMC

    November 10, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

    Nach dem ich am 9. abends in Ho-Chi-Minh angekommen bin, bin ich am nächsten Tag zu Fuss los und bin durch die 10-Mio-Stadt geirrt. Das Stassen überqueren war jedes mal ein Abenteuer. Ich habe noch ein paar Tage mit Johannes in Saigon verbracht, in denen wir hauptsächlich Restaurants und Bars getestet haben.Read more

  • Day3

    Write me while i'm gone!

    January 24, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 86 °F

    24/01/17

    Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)

    Managed to take Noblet out for a 5 minute walk this morning but we had to get back to the room sharpish to accommodate his movements 😂😂

    Then I went off shopping for the afternoon for new trainers!! BUZZING!! (This follows me being trainerless since Siem Reap!)

    Walking up to the shopping centre is literally a nightmare. Like everywhere else we've been to in Asia, the pavements are not for pedestrians... They are car parks/ scooter parks, an external display area for shops, restaurants (squatting on tiny plastic chairs) and everything except pedestrians. I can only assume this is because nobody really walks anywhere! Everyone has a scooter and uses that to get everywhere, if fact people look at you like you are mental if you say we're walking. There is no where for pedestrians, you end up walking in the road and the bikes aren't very accommodating with this!

    What's nice though is the lack of the question 'Tuk Tuk?' Every 2 minutes. They only seem to have cyclos (bikes with a human basket on the front), über motorcycles and crab cabs.

    Whilst walking up, there are several roads to cross which I've realised you just have to sort of walk out and generally everything will probably be ok and people will sometimes try and miss you.... I think. It's been working so far, since my initial strategy of waiting for a gap in the traffic (seems completely ridiculous now) didn't pay off, nor did the wait for the traffic lights, nor be confident and walk fast.... All fails. The 'sort of mosey' technique is the best so far. Touch wood.

    When you do get a bit of pavement, you don't get it for long, as many of the motorbikes start using that to avoid traffic lights or a marginally slower moped. I was daydreaming and looking at some festivally music thing and forgot this at one point and literally nearly got mowed at a particularly narrow area of pavement!

    Whits re-asserted I find my way to the disappointing shopping centre which is a bit like a 5th of the trafford centre which is called the Vietnam shopping capital.

    It's so expensive, exactly the same price at home of not a bit more. Which is a bit crazy considering all the sweat shops are out here. Even in the outlets the trainers are the same price which seems mental to me.... Hence coming for a bit of premium air con time Noblet free.

    It really is hard to see the whole communism thing in HCMC. This whole place so far has been basically the most capitalist thing I've ever seen. Like there are so few rules businesses can do what they like. Puppies and animals are kept in tiny cages, in one place a 6month old Rottweiler in a cage 6inches longer than him and the same height 😢, businesses burning rubbish if disposing of it at all, loads of western businesses in the posher areas. I'd go so far as to say the closest we've come to communism here is the hammer and sickle flags on every other lamppost.

    I did some reading and a lot of the top companies are still owned by the state which apparently haemorrhage cash such as coal, cement, obviously agriculture.

    Agriculture is the main place where if people meet a quota for instance of rice, then they get paid from the government.

    I'm thinking that if the UK could go a little bit more to the left in terms of ....

    Brainstorming

    At the minute we're a lot like it's ok to only put shareholders first and nothing else really matters. This can lead to short termism like what happened with BHS... Because no one is focused on longevity or a sustainable business model as soon as they have shareholders. It's about having a good annual report and maybe up to 5 years in the future but not much more. Companies literally put in their publicly available reports, shamelessly, that their aim is to maximise profits for shareholders, and that's ok. And this is how everyone judges success, by how happy shareholders are.

    Noblet told me an example of a guy who was brought in on a 6 month contract as an MD. In that 6 month period he cut everything out of the business and reported that the business was now making x amount more profit since he had been in charge. He then leaves the business and puts on his CV this is what he can do in short periods of time. The business spends 3/4 years putting itself back together again.

    Surely if we put a little more into making balanced businesses, with profitability still at the top but with more focus on

    Sustainability of the business
    How are the pensions doing
    Input back into the community
    More effort to help the environment
    Ensuring there are no skills gaps in ten years
    Longevity and quality of product
    Using local products/ materials
    Responsible taxation (REDUCE)
    H&S (non of out here)

    These things are all covered generally these days (I happen to think construction is one of the better industries for this!) but like, not really taken seriously its just written about a bit, but when making business decisions cash is still king.

    I reckon just a little more input from the government we could have it all boxed off! I cannot really think of many countries doing it much better than us.

    Just looking at construction schemes which make us better at most of the above include

    Considerate constructors
    BREEAM
    Building control
    Planning
    Frameworks which request minimum standards in relation to the above

    But in essence capitalism & communism are both too extreme for me.

    Reckon the world needs to do what we do but 5/10 more to the left! But not the left that only looks after the poor.... The left that looks after the world.

    Anyway I get my new trainers.... Won't say how much incase Noblet sees but they are fit!

    Then on the way home I stop into a chemist and think I'll try and sort Noblet out. Did I mention they don't speak English in this city? Well that's no exception in the pharmacy. Can you imagine my sign language trying to describe dioreah .... Many large hand gestures with squatting etc.... 3 mins later we're not getting anywhere. Then the chemist had the bright idea of google translate. Great. Oh crap, how do you spell 💩?

    I tried and eventually we got there. She handed me the pills from under the counter.... Immodium.... Fucking Imodium are you kidding I could have just asked! The whole shop has gobbledegook medicines with herbs and stuff and she gives me Imodium. Suppose we got there in the end.... I'll bare in mind in future just to say a brand 🙈🙈🙈 *note to self add Imodium Gam On to phrase dictionary!

    Whilst walking home I visited a 'iconic cathedral' which was basically the same as the Catholic Church in weaverham! Disappointing!

    Donkey: Noblet still being ill bored hurry up and get fixed!
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  • Day9

    Ho Chi Minh 3

    February 25, 2018 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 34 °C

    We hebben natuurlijk ook een dagje uitgetrokken om verschillende dingen te bekijken in de stad. Zowel de bekende en toeristische locaties en later nog wat andere plekken met minder toeristen.
    De stad heeft wat franse invloeden behouden in de tijd. Met name grote gebouwen zoals een roze Notre dame, een groot postkantoor en het grote City Hall met daarvoor het Ho Chi Minh plein.

    Onderweg daar naar toe kwamen we Chinese drakendansers tegen. Vanwege Chinees nieuwjaar hebben we die meermalen gezien in de stad. We hebben ook nog even één van de overdekte markten doorkruist (Ben Than), maar heel veel verschilt dat niet met Beverwijk imo. We waren er snel weer weg. De lokale markt met vissers die we 'smiddags per ongeluk tegenkwamen was veel en veel leuker. Kreeften met enorme blauwe scharen, dikke padden, allerlei garnalen, allerlei verschillende vissen (ook levend) en Vietnamese vrouwen met laarzen aan. Dus vissers, denk ik dan. Maar dat weet ik eigenlijk niet.

    Smiddags hebben we ook de tempel van de 1000 boeddhas bezocht. Dit was ff zoeken (gelukkig is er maps.me), maar eenmaal gevonden liepen we zo door naar de vijfde verdieping waar de grote tempelzaal is. Bijzonder om te zien, en te horen. Deze tempel wordt namelijk nog gebruikt en er werd ook gezongen (beetje eentonig) door de monniken.

    Eenmaal buiten hebben we nog een stukje langs een boulevard gelopen aan de andere kant van de Saigon River. Maar denk niet aan de boulevard in Scheveningen ofzo. De weg er naast had geen verharding, honden en kippen zwierven los rond, het zag er allemaal armoedig uit. En dat maar net buiten het centrum. Wel weer opnieuw die vriendelijke mensen. Zo werden we door meerdere mensen zonder het te vragen op weg geholpen toen we een stukje verderop zochten naar de brug terug naar het centrum.

    In drie dagen Ho Chi Minh kan je nooit alles zien of overal naar binnen. Maar we hebben wel een goede indruk van de stad gekregen en besloten door te gaan naar Hoi An. Het oude centrum van dit plaatsje is sinds 1999 werelderfgoed. Het ligt bijna 600km ten noorden van Ho Chi Minh. Flinke reis dus!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Xóm Ông Đội, Xom Ong Doi

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