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Vietnam Tour #1

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Nazgul    Netherlands. Mar 12 2008 07:10. Posts 7078
I figured traveling through Vietnam would be a good reason to pick up my blogging again. I’m here with my girlfriend Melissa and there is just so much to see here that I can hardly talk about it all. We have been taking tons of pictures so far, I’ll try to pick the nice ones to show you as good as I can how we are experiencing the trip.

A small intro might be needed here, impatient ones scroll down for the pics. I met Melissa 4-5 years ago at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam when I was still a student. That’s about the time when I picked up poker as well. I came straight from Korea after staying there for 6 months for progaming, and when I returned to Holland I started playing poker before the school season started. We were both studying international business but true to my calling as a poker bum I dropped out about one year ago, after already slacking for a full year before that. Melissa is Vietnamese and has been in Holland for studying. Now almost finished with her master she’ll soon be trying to find a job there as well.

The trip starts off at Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) where her parents live. The trip was going to be long, about 13 hours in the plane and 17 hours from door to door. We were leaving in the late-morning and having a completely messed up sleeping rhythm I figured it would be a good idea to skip a night before getting on the plane. After falling asleep during takeoff the next moment of consciousness came 8 hours later when we there were only 2 hours left before transitioning. Solid start so far.

First night in Saigon we met her parents and went out for dinner. Her mother had already come to Holland once before so that was at least a familiar face. Back home there are no good Vietnamese restaurants so this was my first experience with Vietnamese food. The dinner was fun and her parents were really nice and wanted me to try everything. I’m returning from this trip fat from overeating or skinny from eating healthy.


Melissa, me


Jetlag is usually pretty good for my rhythm (unless its Vegas where waking up too early is a sin) and the next day we woke up at 7am after a good nights rest. Today we’d be meeting Phuong who has been Melissa’s best friend since they were very young. She’d be bringing her boyfriend for dinner and her cousin who she said played poker as well. Meeting poker players through non-poker players is always a bit sketchy. Usually whenever someone says they are a poker player alarm bells immediately go off inside my head. People who think because they are beating the weekly homegame that they are actually good at poker, but in reality don’t know the difference between diamonds and spades (diamonds are better). It was a relief to hear Sai (Phuong’s cousin) 24 tables on stars and is actually not much different from the crowd here at LP. He had even heard of LP that was really fun to hear.


From left to right: me, J.J. (Phuongs boyfriend), Sai (cousin), Phuong


So by now we crossed the city these last few days a fair bit and the streets here are just something else. There are about 10 times more mopeds on the streets than cars. At first seemed like complete chaos, but after riding on the back of the moped with Melissa driving it is starting to look like these people actually have some idea of what they are doing. That doesn’t mean they intend on following any traffic rules but it is something. The way traffic works here is that if you want to cross the street or take a turn you dump your vehicle in someone else’s way and hope they stop. Everyone is anticipating this drives kinda slowly. I didn’t get to take any pictures of the traffic yet but we are returning to Saigon at the end of the trip and then I’ll be the ultimate tourist making pictures of the traffic.


it probably takes more than 5 minutes to fix your electricity, common sight in the city


On the third day we planned to visit the Vietcong tunnels in Cu Chi. This being one of the things I was looking forward to the most I was really excited to go here. Might be that there isn’t so much to just a tunnel, but to live, sleep, fight, and eat in it is mind-boggling. Cu Chi is about two hours removed from Saigon and an agency in the city arranges tours, so we took a bus with them from Saigon early in the morning. After about one hour the bus stopped for a break at a huge handcraft shop outside of the city. Usually all you see in the city is tiny stores and a lot of the stuff they sell is lower quality tourist stuff. Here you entered into the working area where you could see how everything was being made, and then went into a larger part where they were selling everything. This shop has some of the nicest decorative items and we will definitely be returning here to bring half the store back to Holland.



















In Cu Chi they had a big area functioning as a museum for the tunnels. Our tour started off with showing the traps the Vietcong used. If anything qualifies as sick then this is probably it. They show some crazy inventiveness in terrifying the enemy by using simple traps. They had a bunch more but here’s a few I remembered the use of.





Spinning trap, both sides are camouflaged and spin around a middle point, first guy falls in then the trap is ready for the next victim




Rolling trap, enters your leg multiple times while you get suck in




Sticking trap, step on the wooden panel and 4 spikes enter your leg from different angles so you cannot get out


After a quick course through the traps they took us to a tunnel where you could go in yourself. The tunnel was cemented and widened for fat tourists so it’s not really the same, but it gives you a good impression of how it would feel to live in these things. At first you are excited to experience such a thing but once you start crawling after 10m your legs start to hurt. The air is thick and breathing is harder than normal. A bit further you need to go on all fours (which was always the case in the original tunnels) and things become even harder. Eventually after 60 meters you are anxious to get out and physically exhausted. After coming up I was sweating all over and felt like I just played a football match.



Posing




Reality


After spending 4 days in Saigon, meeting the family and going to the tunnels we flew to the North of Vietnam to visit Ha Long Bay. At the time of writing this blog we just returned from Ha Long Bay and arrived at our next location Nha Trang. Ha Long Bay is without a doubt the most beautiful natural scenery I’ve seen so far and that is not just in Vietnam but I really have never seen anything like this. I can’t really describe it deservingly but here’s a quote of something I read that translates my feelings nicely.

  Majestic and mysterious, inspiring and imperious:words alone cannot do justice to the natural wonder that is HaLong Bay. Imagine 3000 or more incredible islands rising from the emeral waters of the Gulf of Tonking and you have a vision of breatheaking beauty. Halong Bay is pure art, a priceless collection of unfinished sculptures hewn from the hand of nature.



We took a couple hundred pictures at HLB, or at least I took some and Melissa took hundreds. My next blog will be on our three day trip through Ha Long Bay.



That’s it for today hope you enjoyed it, here’s a few random pics to end with.



at what point do they start calling these lobsters?




fighting for ice scream against 13 year olds at an all you can eat ice cream buffet




jack-fruit




snake wine



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You almost twin-caracked his AK - JonnyCosmoLast edit: 12/03/2008 10:13

locoo   Peru. Mar 12 2008 07:19. Posts 4558

great post! loved it!

bitte bitte bitte bitte bitte bitte 

Loco   Canada. Mar 12 2008 07:19. Posts 20442

nice read

snake wine looks surprisingly good

Those who make a peaceful revolution impossible, will make a violent revolution inevitable. 

sniderstyle   United States. Mar 12 2008 07:23. Posts 2046

looks like an amazing trip, love the report

Genginho: lose today 100 dollar only because of fishs they called and had luck on river 

The72o   Zimbabwe. Mar 12 2008 07:30. Posts 6112

wow cool trip man

A Hard Way to Make an Easy Living 

Milk.   Netherlands. Mar 12 2008 07:30. Posts 49

Geniet er van Victor!


Ket    United Kingdom. Mar 12 2008 07:30. Posts 8655

sick read and insane pics, looks like experience of a lifetime, ty for post


NiagaraPoker   Canada. Mar 12 2008 07:32. Posts 425

looks awesome

but...

"but in reality don’t know the difference between diamonds and spades (diamonds are better)."

spades are the highest suit? it goes clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades...

give them nothing, but take from them.. everything. 

Twisted    Netherlands. Mar 12 2008 07:34. Posts 10422

Awesome read, have fun there!


pinbaLL    Sweden. Mar 12 2008 07:36. Posts 7243

Awesome blog entry

I hope u and Melissa keep rocking in Vietnam and bring us more updates and pics


BenGb   Canada. Mar 12 2008 07:53. Posts 421

nice read, very nice report
HLB looks pretty sick

wallaP 

TheGuru   Sweden. Mar 12 2008 08:03. Posts 532

How nice to get a personal guide, that is needed for sure to get close to Vietnam, as a backpacker/tourist it's really difficult as the only people you can get contact with easily is the one that want to make money from you, a not always good experience. I spent a couple of weeks in Hanoi/halong bay/ninh binh on my 6 month trip but couldn't really enjoy the country as much as I wanted (some dutch friends had some really scary experiences).

If you guys have time you should spend a week or so in Laos which is equally pretty and have a really nice athomphere.

Vietnamese food is really nice though!

Enjoy your trip

There is no such thing as luck. There is only adequate or inadequate preparation to cope with a statistical universe. - Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love) 

ploper   France. Mar 12 2008 08:12. Posts 608

wow, vn, thx for sharing

plop 

ChoboPokeR_r   Germany. Mar 12 2008 08:16. Posts 4598

--- Nuked ---

Have you ever wondered which hurts the most: saying something and wishing you had not, or saying nothing, and wishing you had? 

all_in_4tw   Canada. Mar 12 2008 08:37. Posts 4515

sick traps !

I sometimes fold AA preflop to balance my range 

Golden Ghost   Netherlands. Mar 12 2008 08:51. Posts 285

So...did you win the icecream fight?

But we at Liquidpoker don’t care about that. Our players are nutjobs, maniacs, psychics, and unstoppable beasts at the poker tables, crushing the highest limits around -[vital]Myth 

2Vi3T_B0Y4   Canada. Mar 12 2008 09:34. Posts 927

HI Nagul.. Im living in vietnam right now ( back to my country from march break but im studyin univ in canada), pm me if u still in vietnam and wanna hang out . Did you try PHO( vietnamese noodle soup) yet ?


Sheitan   Canada. Mar 12 2008 09:35. Posts 4217

ZOMG COBRA JUICE IF YOU DRINK IT YOU WIN THE NEXT WSOP ME !

Odds are exactly 50%, either happens or it doesnt  

ggplz   Sweden. Mar 12 2008 10:14. Posts 16665

v.sick read, nice write up look forward to seeing more from u

looks like such an awesome experience, hope u have lots of fun gl

if poker is dangerous to them i would rank sports betting as a Kodiak grizzly bear who smells blood after you just threw a javelin into his cub - RaiNKhAN 

asdf2000   United States. Mar 12 2008 10:51. Posts 7579




this picture is so awesome it looks like a characterature

Grindin so hard, Im smashin pussies left and right. 

 
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