What can we say but...
We went out yesterday walking through the city. We quickly learned how to cross the street against the traffic, which seldom stops. The key is: just step out into the street, keep your eyes open, but just walk ahead and trust that the hundreds of motorcycles will just part around you. So far it has worked. One time though we must have hesitated too long before crossing, as a woman crossed the street towards us, took me by the hand and walked us back across, with me laughing with fear the whole time.
We visited the Ben Thanh market which was a maze of items for sale, including textiles, clothing, household items, and food. We sat at the low, plastic (child-sized) tables and stools outside one of the food stalls and had a bowl of vegetables and noodles, and a thickly sweet iced coffee.
We also visited a couple of temples/pagodeas. The Jade Emperor Pagoda had ponds outside teeming with fish and turtles, which people fed with needlessly large amounts of bread, which flosted on top of the water unappetizingly. The inside was beautiful though - small and dark with carvings of buddhas and tigers, with two altars of gold buddhas and dozens of people makign offerings of flowers and incense. The incense was thick and filled the room with an atmospheric haze. We visited a similar temple in the Cholon (Chinatown) neighborhood where we were charged by a brave rat, which sent us off on our way prematurely.
We have just had breakfast at out hotel and will now go on a walk in the neighborhood before catching a bus to the Mekong, where we will tranfer to a boat, taking us north.