Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City
It's impossible to picture Ho Chi Minh city without thinking of dodging crowds of motorcycles whenever you try to cross a street. The wearing of masks is not to hide one's identity but to filter out the pollution from the many motor vehicles which also include autos. Not only is the motorcycle used as the most common form of transportation including up to 4 persons on one scooter but also their used to transport commercial goods that boggles the logical mind. From several large packages, large tv's, to large sheets of glass.
While there are plenty of traditional outdoor markets and street booths to eat at. There is an obvious trend to more modern shops and eateries including a plethora of coffee shops.
These coffee shops range from a small counter with a drip filter and plastic chairs to a new trend of coffee shops to rival Starbucks.
And yes there is at least one Starbucks located at Starbucks Grand China Hotel.
Vietnam coffee is very good coffee and they like to make it strong.
Many grocery chains, like VinMart, are currently making a big push into Vietnam opening 100 grocery stores in one year and a target of 300 by 2017. Look for a modernization in Vietnam in the years to come
Vietnamese like their food fresh and may prepare a meal right in front of you at the traditional restaurants.
Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City
Other things to do in Ho Chi Minh City within walking distance:
Ben Thanh Market - where bargains abound, both in electronic and apparel, including a large suitcase for about $20 US to take all the goodies home that I found.
History Museum, Opera House, Reunification Palace, and more.
Places to Eat: Besides the numerous street stands and I never got sick.
The restaurants I visited were HMSHost Tan Son Nhat, Vin Pro Dong Khoi, Dim Sum, Vietnam House, the Sheraton Hotel, & the Grand Hotel
The Sheraton Hotel in Saigon has the best breakfast buffet by far of any.
Places I stayed: from the economical but nice Saigon Apartment to the 5 star Sheraton
Brazil, Rio de Janeiro
Copacabana beach during the day. Even though the tonga or string bikini is popular beach wear nude or even topless sunbathing is illegal.
Copacabana beach at dusk.
Copacabana beach at night.
There are several cabanas along the beach that one can stop at to get a cool refreshing coconut drink or something to eat.
This could be the girl from Ipanema as she is walking away.
Ipanema beach. A nice walk from Copacabana beach but stop at Ft. Copacabana on the way for a historical experience and have a bite to eat at the local restaurants just after the Fort as you continue to Ipanema Beach.
I hope these canons were not pointed in the direction they are pointed now towards their own buildings.
This white bird tried to blend in with the white curb almost successfully.
A gentle breeze against the Brazilian flag unmasks the poorest sections of Rio people living in shanteys up the hillside. This is where the majority of crimes occur as well.
An up close view of the favelas or slum area of Rio.
The main road along Copacabana & Ipanema Beaches are closed on Sundays to automobiles to allow pedestrians, bicyclists, skateboarders, and runners worry free access.
Foods of Brazil
Sugar Loaf views
Corcovado Mountain views & Christ Redeemer Statue
Since I love to travel and try local food I will comment on my experiences, places, and food that I encounter so that others may be inspired to travel to the same locations with some insight into the local food , restaurants, culture, places to stay (hotels or airbnb) and hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls and tourist scams so not to waste time and money unnecessarily. I would also appreciate posts and comments on the same locations by others!