Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

We’re in Bangkok right now souvenir shopping and site seeing by day and hanging out with our friend Ben, who we met during The Gibbon Experience, by night.

Chris looking handsome in front of some water lilies and a shrine.
This sign was part of a travel agents sign in Ho Chi Minh City. After using Lonely Planet for seven months I've learnt there are a lot of things it doesn't tell you and a lot of things that are wrong. Needless to say I chuckled at this one.

Yet again, it’s the final countdown. After roughly 650 meals in restaurants over the past seven months we only have about 9 more restaurant meals to go.  The last three weeks have flown by.  I have trouble remembering if I saw something in Vietnam or Cambodia unless I think really, really hard.  To help me remember I have kept a rough journal throughout our entire journey where I noted what we bought, prices, what we saw and any other notes or feelings. I also, of course, have my photographs to remind me of our journey.

The locals don't refer to the city as Ho Chi Minh City, instead they use the pre-war name, Saigon.
While walking through a city park we found hundreds of pots with water lilies. They were as tall as my chest.
I wish I could grow these in my backyard pond in Grande Prairie. Not that I have a pond or even a backyard for that matter.
Bushes carved like a dragon!

While in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) we decided to visit the zoo.  It cost a little more than $1 dollar each.  I have been to the Calgary Zoo countless times.  It is the zoo of my childhood.  It is the zoo I measure all other zoos to, so when we strolled through the jungle-like zoo in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, I was captivated by the variety and size of plants and animals.  I was also proud of the education and conservation efforts of the Calgary Zoo.  The Ho Chi Minh Zoo has none that were obvious or apparent.  On many levels it is a sad experience to visit the Ho Chi Minh Zoo.

With only a colourful picket fence separating visitors from goats a lot of carrot eating goes on here.
"Give me that carrrrrrot"
I was actually that close to this baby hippo. The only thing between us was a waist high fence. If I leaned over it and stretched out my arm as far as possible I could probably touch him. As you can see he's waiting for a tourist to throw another carrot in this mouth.
I unfortunately have no idea what kind of bird this is. He looks part dinosaur with a turkey neck and a body like an ostrich, but with shorter legs. Pretty hey?
Okay, I wasn't this close to this friendly crocodile. I used my 50mm Canon. Look at the detail and hard folds of his skin. Amazing!
See the plastic bottle next to the bear? While we stood staring at this sad looking creature one of the other spectators tried to hit the bear in the face with the empty bottle. I glared at them. How could they do that? I wanted to slap them. Our hearts were quite heavy as we saw this type of behavior from visitors. I wish I spoke Vietnamese so I could hold education workshops, because obviously there are none.
A giant chain keeps this beautiful animal from walking around. He stretches his trunk out to visitors who throw him pieces of bamboo. This was the saddest thing we saw in the zoo.


3 responses to “Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam”

  1. Wow. Hard to see stuff like that. On a side note, the bird is a Cassowary. native to new guinea and northern Australia. I saw one in the wild once! Pretty vibrant, interesting animals.

    1. I love how we have friends that can identify animals like that… Thanks Marcia!

  2. My zoo experience in Korea was much the same. I saw tiny enclosures for even the large animals. I was so sad. I felt guilty for even being there and being part of the system that financially supported the zoo. I am proud of you guys that it affected you. That being said… it is nice to know that our facilities here are at least an improvement…

    Can’t wait to see you guys.

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