Ho Chi Min City – Saigon Typhoon

Because of the weather and Reiner's foot, we didn't make any trips today! Tropical Storm "Usagi" has reached HCMC. I only went shopping for a short time in the coop and got wet in the process. As the day progresses, the rain has become stronger and stronger.

Until 5:30 p.m., the water started to run over the balcony into our apartment. Also in the room above us it ran in. Luckily, the property management still had a dry apartment for us on the other side of the building.We then moved with sack and pack.

Water damage! Reiner knows this way!!?


Ho Chi Min City – Cu Chi Tunnel

In our small kitchen we prepared a breakfast for ourselves. Then today we took a tourist bus tour to the Cu Chi tunnels. We had a bus with 28 passengers and a very funny Vietnamese guide, who explained in English some special details about the war and the tunnel system.

The tunnel entrances were hidden under foliage 25 x40 cm in size and on the tree was a sign of the Vietcong to find it. Most of the approximately 55,000 American soldiers who have died have fallen into deadly traps. These were real torture traps with nailed coconuts and bamboo skewers in a pit where the soldiers were literally skewered.

The tunnels themselves measure only about 40 x 60 cm and only the petite Vietnamese could get through there. For the larger Americans, that was too narrow. For the tourists, a 100 m long section of tunnel for climbing through has been extended and illuminated. The tunnels had a ventilation system and were dug in three levels at a depth of 3 m, 6 m and 10 m. A city has emerged underground with larger spaces for living and sleeping. The total length reaches over 200 km and leads to Cambodia. We went down once and it is inconceivable how hot and tight it must have been there with a lot of people. Back in Saigon we ate something for a short time and then Reiner went to the room "cool your foot" and I went to the supermarket for a short time. In the evening we talked a bit with home via Facetime.


Ho Chi Min City – Tatonka Open Factory

Reiner took the photo this morning before sunrise from the terrace of our bungalow in the Mekong Delta.

We returned to Ho Chi Min City at 6:00 a.m. by first bus to take part in the Open Factory Tour at Tatonka Plant at 10:00 a.m. It was very interesting to see where and with how many steps my backpack was created.Two employees in the final control are up and down at the tent all day long. Each tent is completely set up before delivery. During the lunch break, all employees receive free food in the canteen. The German plant has been in existence for almost 30 years and currently employs around 800 people in Vietnam at two locations. The brand name used to be "Mountech". Pax-bags and military backpacks are also produced there. The DB backpacks and bags also come from here!

Then we checked in in our new accommodation, a small apartment. On our walk to the food market Reiner unfortunately represented his foot. It is noticeably swollen and hurts. We wait until tomorrow to see if it gets better with cooling and ibuprofen.


Mekong – Can Tho – Floating Markets – Xeo Quyt forest

Today we rented a car with Driver for a day through our hostel. We have been to Can Tho. At the largest floating market in the Mekong Delta, we marveled at the different ships from a small boat. The goods that can be purchased on the ship are attached to a mast. For us there was a watermelon.

On the way we got a noodle soup and a sweet drink with coconut milk and beans in a small restaurant. Along the way there were many rice fields, frog and fish farms, mango and pineapple plantations and a workshop for incense sticks. In the Xeo Quyt Forest we felt reminded of one or the other youth film on a paddle boat trip and a walk. Jungle up close! Back at Riverside Homestay, we've been spoiled with jackfruit dishes.


Mekong – Boat trip

Today we had accepted the offer of our homestay for a 5-6 h boat trip with various stops (30 USD pP).

Our hostel father outwitted me a little bit and the first km we had to ride on the bike. Well, I survived.

The boat trip was great: we were alone with our captain and he showed us many interesting things.

Fish farms on land and floating in the river, for carp, catfish and snakeheadfish. – a cocoa plantation and a chocolate factory chocolate with a high cocoa content and e.B. cashew, chilli or coconut flavor , – a beekeeping, – coconut candy manufacturer (we ate a coconut ice cream) it is offered there e.B also coconut wine directly in the coconut shell and in whiskey pickled cobra (Reiner has tried)

We also changed into a small paddle boat on the way and were driven a side arm to a snack with fruit, tea and traditional music.

The sunset on the Mekong was also very nice. Back at Homestay, a delicious dinner with fried jackfruit and hotpot awaited us.


Mekong – Rice Noodle Workshop – Cooking Class

Today we learned something about Vietnamese cuisine again. And that's how rice noodles are made. The grandfather and uncle of our hosts run a rice noodle shop in the neighborhood and we were allowed to look over their shoulders. It's very hot there! At over 30 degrees outside temperature, a cauldron of coconut wood is fired to create pressure for the pasta machine and hot water to boil. The pasta mass of rice (which was put into water for a day and then ground) is filled and runs with hot water from a kind of shower head like spaghetti on a conveyor belt. At the end of the ribbons, the noodles are collected in sieves and cooled with running cold water. They are then packed in portions in plastic bags and sold on the market. They produce about 200 kg per day.

We got a portion and I was allowed to cook in our Quoc Phuong Riverside Homestay. So to speak, a private cooking-class! Our nice homestay mother has already collected the ingredients and we just had to wash, nibble and fry.

Recipe: A handful of rice noodles in a bowl, cucumber, salad, various creams (basil: Bai Horapa tastes like liquorice, Bai Krapao is a bit spicy, Bai Maenglak is rather lemony) from your own garden on top, spring onions, tofu fried in oil, soy sauce, roasted peanuts and dried onions on top! With pure instead of the tofu, beef and fried spring rolls on the noodles and salad.

And then it was eaten on the terrace under a reed roof directly on the river. Delicious!

In the afternoon we sped off the calories and made a 36 km long bike tour across the island to My Tho and back.

By the way, we changed the bungalow today and are now in a river directly with bast walls and own terrace. Beautiful!


Mekong Delta

After breakfast in Saigon, a grave drove us to the bus stop. The bus station looked more like a demolished hostel entrance. The manager there ( In a wheelchair and torso-free ) waved at us and gave us two plastic stools to wait. The bus then also came and took us to My Tho, two hours away. From the road to Homestay, 1.5 km away, we should be driven on motorbikes. To Reiner's chagrin, I am not yet ready to sit on such a thing. Especially not with all the luggage. That's why we ran the little bit. But the walk was very nice (except for the luggage). You feel like you're in the Garden of Eden! Bananas, coconuts, mango, jackfruit, chilli peppers, pomelo, … everything grows right on your doorstep. Also the cocoa fruit! Our host has nicely harvested one for us and gave me to try. It is elongated, yellow orange and has a hard lightly pupated shell, like pumpkin. Inside there are five strands of beans surrounded by soft sweet-sour lychee-like flesh. The beans are nutty and taste a bit bitter, unfortunately not yet like chocolate. But they are also freshly edible.

In order to get the cocoa smell and taste, the beans are further processed and fermented and dried.

In the evening we ate very well in our homestay and then listened to the crickets and other animals in hammocks directly on the water.


Saigon Arrival and Streetfoodmarket

The night train journey went without any special incidents. Shortly after 6:00 a.m. we marched from the train station towards the city. From about 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. we sat at HighlandCoffee and booked the next few days on the internet. Then we checked in at the hostel "Willhome" in District 1 and took a shower. The hostel is a bit hidden in the backyard, so it's a little quieter. We have a large room on the third floor with balcony. On a walk through the city we could get a first impression of Saigon. Lots of traffic, dirt and huge construction sites, where a subway is supposed to run. Of course, there are also pretty little oases, cafés and lots of flowers. The BénTh on Market in the centre of HCMC offers a huge swarming of different goods. There are, among other things, clothes, souvenirs, dried fish, fruit, snakes in liquor, scorpions, … .

Right next door was a great street food market, where we ate delicious. For Reiner, there was a shrimp and pork-filled bnhXe' (Vietnamese pancake fried in wok). For me, rice rolls grilled in banana leaves and coconut milk sauce, grilled in banana leaves.

At the end of the day we were still with a "Saigon" (beer) on the roof terrace of our hostel and enjoyed the view.