Ho Chi Minh City: But my friends call me Saigon

Nothing could prepare me for the pain of waking myself up at 3am on a Vietnamese sleeper train, scrabbling around in the dark for my belonging and clambering off the train into a dark Ho Chi Minh station. Worse still, we arrived early, so it was an anxious rush to get everything together before getting off the train. Bleery-eyed and confused we piled into taxis to the hotel that my tour had booked. We arrived to find the rooms were not ready yet. Sam and I had a back-up plan, though. We’d booked a hostel. So we got a taxi over to the hostel (which was in the backpacker part of town), only to find the place closed and shuttered up. We’d told them we’d be arriving around this time. Desperately we banged on the metal shutter. We waited. Thankfully, a sleepy-looking receptionist appeared and let us in. Our room wouldn’t be ready until 10am, though, so we could have a different room until then. Fine. We got into our small room, with a broken air conditioning unit and partially functional bathroom door, and immediately fell asleep.

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