Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, was the former capital of Southern Vietnam and remains the most populated area in Vietnam. The city has preserved many of the structures that played a large role in the war and has set up museums to educate tourists about the events that occurred here in the 60s & 70s.
When we first arrived, we visited the Reunification Palace where the president of Southern Vietnam resided. This is where, on April 30, 1975, a North Vietnamese army tank shattered the front gates of the palace and ended the Vietnam war (or American War based on how you see it). It was interesting to see the different rooms in the palace and how the president lived. One room was decorated with animal skulls and even real dried hollowed out elephant feet. We even saw the secret passage to the bomb shelter! We ended the evening sampling the local street food and beers.
Our second day in Sagon was tainted by a virus! Jeff fell very ill with a fever of 104, which alarmed us immediately. We contacted our travel insurance right away and they had a doctor at our door within minutes. It was Sunday night, so we were advised to wait until the morning to go to the hospital. After IV fluids and blood tests, we found out that he had contracted dengue hemorrhagic fever, which is different than just a dengue fever. The hemorrhagic fever usually occurs if you have been bitten by a dengue mosquito and bitten again by a mosquito carrying a different strain of the virus (there are 4 different strains of it). Dengue fever usually goes by without any complications but the dengue hemorrhagic fever has the chance to develop into a very serious condition including going into shock and possibly death.
We spent the next week mostly in our hotel room. Jeff was in and out of sleep most of the time while I was out fetching coconuts and fresh fruit. The heat was really hard on him so he went out only at night to try to force down some dinner. We watched a lot of stupid movies during this time and reflected on our travels.
Our next stop was going to be Jakarta and another month in Indonesia but full recovery of dengue fever is about 2 – 3 weeks, so we decided to roll with what circumstances were telling us and jet back to Bulgaria so Jeff can fully recover. Indonesia and other parts of SE Asia will have to wait – now we put Bulgaria and the rest of Europe in our sites! Barring any other life threatening tropical diseases :) – here we come! For the few pics we have from this leg, click here - http://flic.kr/s/aHsjzfMPPh.