From my note book written last week, the following is a brief travelogue documenting an experience in Vietnam while en-route to Tokyo.
“Yesterday I got back to Tokyo. The trip was more exhausting as usual and to be honest, I don’t think I’ll go down that avenue again, just in pursuit of a bit of adventure that is (I know, I’m sounding old). No problem with the place, I just wasn’t really prepared. Anyway….
Last month I spotted a cheapy flight from London Heathrow to Narita Tokyo via Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. The cheap price relates to the fact that I would be in transit in Vietnam for just over 12 hours. As there are no visa restrictions for Brits to enter Vietnam, I thought I could make a day trip of Ho Chi Minh City and do a bit of exploring.
After the 12-hour flight, I’m in the airport, it must have been about 35 degrees. The humidity was quite intense even at 9 in the morning. After a quick airport toilet wash and gulping down a few bottles of mineral water, I studied the map at the airport tourist office. Psychogeography was the next part of the plan. I considered doing a ‘Will Self’ which was to walk from the airport into the city. By doing so, I could get to grips with the environment, atmosphere and its surroundings which would give me a better perspective. However, on second thoughts, the controller voice inside me was telling me that if I get lost, mugged or injured somehow along the way, the consequences would cause serious problems as I had a full-on schedule the following day in Tokyo. I took the safe option and hopped on the bus instead. On the semi-packed bus I got talking to an American/Vietnamese woman. She gave me a few useful survival tips. One of them being, when crossing busy roads, don’t run, just hold up your hand. ???? I thought.
45 minutes later the bus had transported me into the city. It was frenetic beyond belief! The main roads were just a total free-for-all. Buses, trucks, cars, bicycles and scooters in their thousands moving in all directions. The woman directed me to the first port of call, the Bitexco Financial Tower . “Over there” She said. Then I tentatively crossed the busiest road ever amid the mayhem around me, taking her advice, walking slowly with my arm held aloft. It worked; I was still in one piece!”
The Bitexco Financial Tower (what an awful name!) is a very impressive structure. While in the Saigon Sky Deck on the 40 something floor, I found myself drawn more to the ceilings than the view. Like a hall of mirrors at a fair, there is an abundance of glass facets on the ceiling. Here I’ve enlarged areas of interest where the natural light is clashing with the reflected surfaces. The textured, geometric abstractions are just absorbing .
April 22nd, 2016