Me, Myself, and the World | S2E1 | Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam -- Cu Chi Part 2

Me, Myself, and the World | S2E1 | Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam -- Cu Chi Part 2

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(calm jingle) - Here, area right here is really safe already, but we still have some weird things around, I mean like landmines, bombs, things like that. And also, when you go off trail, there's gonna be snakes, scorpions waiting for you. - Snakes, scorpions, and landmines? - Yeah. - Okay, so

snakes, scorpions, landmines, oh my. Snakes, scorpions, landmines, oh my. (uplifting music) Welcome to "Me, Myself, and The World." I'm your host, Pamela Holt. I've traveled to over 90 countries and territories, and I'm here to enlighten and inspire you on the art of solo travel.

(train honking) (Pamela screaming) Come along with me as I journey around the globe and share inspiring stories of solo travelers, hit lots of cool adventures, meet the locals and hear their stories, and a whole lot more. Join my solo travel revolution and discover a new lens on the world as we explore this great planet of ours, together. Welcome to "Me, Myself, and The World!" I'm your host, Pamela Holt, and this is Vietnam! (Pamela cheering) (calm music) It's day two in Ho Chi Minh City with Derek, our tour guide extraordinaire.

Today, he's taking us through the rubber trees on route to explore the Cu Chi tunnels. What's a little bit of the history behind the rubber trees? - [Derek] Yeah, this area is really popular and good for rubber trees. And rubber, probably one of the main reason why the French, they used to want to colonize Vietnam. - The French wanted the rubber? - Yep, the French love the rubber at that time.

Also the British and a lot of European countries in the 19th century. In the 19th century, like, that's the industrial revolution, so rubber used to be one of the most precious materials at that time. Nowadays, we have the synthetic rubber, so natural rubber is not that valuable anymore. - [Pamela] We saw the cuts in the trees, and that's where the rubber slowly seeps out. What about all the, like, that aqua-colored tape? What was that? - [Derek] Oh, so the tape.

The tape have two main functions. During the raining season, the tape, it kind of like over the cut, so it prevent the raining water. So when it's raining, the branch of the tree, it will catch the water and the water will run across the body of the tree. So the tape will, like, direct the water away from the cut. Because if the water gets into the cut, the latex gonna be bad, it's not that good anymore.

And also, sometimes use the... That tape-looking thing to cover the old cut to make it heal faster. Yeah. (calm music) - [Pamela] I have been on many solo travel adventures. The Cu Chi tunnels is one that I've been looking forward to the most. Can you tell me a little of the history of the Cu Chi tunnels? It has a lot of significance.

- Yeah, so the whole truth is back then is really, really complicated. I think over there, you guys call it the Vietnam War, right? - Yes. - But, obviously, over here, we called it American War. In the south are a really big group of rice farmers and local people. At that time, as long as you were white, they would call you foreign invader.

They didn't care where you come from, Europe, UK, US. You white, they're gonna call you foreign invader because the French, they gave a really bad impression to the local people. At that time, we were technically just like slaves for the French, especially for the local people. So all the local people, they have a really bad feeling against Westerners. So they kind of establish their own governments, like their own system, not a full scale government.

And they call themselves the "National Liberation Front Army." Quite a fancy name, But Americans called them Viet Cong. And, well, they technically were just a bunch of rice farmers. They didn't really have the manufacturers, producing weapons, things like that for them. So in order to, against big power like Americans, they need to really utilize their environment, the terrains, their advantage, which is the jungle of Vietnam.

During the war with the French, a lot of people in this area, they actually, they already dug out the tunnel. But during the war with the French, they only used the tunnel for storage. So, like, one way in, one way out, and it didn't connect to each other. Not until the war with the Americans, when they realize how strong America is, they really start to expand the whole tunnel system, like, really used a lot, really, like, start to connect it with each other and develop a lifestyle, a way of fighting down there. And yeah, and that's probably what, like, the reason why the whole tunnel exists. Even though for me, I'm a Vietnamese, but it's still really difficult for me to wrap my head around the idea that you have to stay down there, live down there, and fight down there.

It's extreme, I will say that. (calm electronic music) There are two main rules I really want you to follow. First, stick with us. Do not go off trail. Here, area right here is really safe already, but better safe than sorry. We still have some weird things around, I mean like landmines, bombs, things like that.

But, but, but in this area, it's quite safe. But just to be in case, make sure to not go off trail. And also, when you go off trail, there's gonna be snakes, scorpions waiting for you.

When we're inside, it's technically jungle. Do not shake the tree. It's like playing gamble. You shake the tree, sometimes it's just a small, cute-looking spider, sometimes it's gonna be a huge snake falling down.

And it's happened before, so- - Really? - Yeah, stay away from the tree. One time I saw it happen, but the snake, it falling down from so high, when it falling down, it dead, die. - Oh, no! - Yeah.

- Okay, so snakes, scorpions, landmines, oh my. Snakes, scorpions, landmines, oh my. (calm music) So let's look. - [Derek] Have a look.

Try to find an opening. - I don't see any opening. - Because it's tunnels, so it's gonna be hollow down there, right? So, ideally, it should be... You should hear it. Where is it? Oh, oh! - [Pamela] That's an opening to the tunnel? - [Derek] You hear that? Yep! - [Pamela] Wow! - [Derek] Yeah. But keep in mind, as I told you earlier, everything here, they already make it bigger. So the original size is around, like, this.

So it really gives you an idea how small the people were at that time, right? Yeah. (upbeat music) - This thing is heavy! - [Derek] Yeah, it's heavy, right? - Here we go. - [Derek] Knees down. Careful of your finger. (Pamela grunting) Yep. - Oh, my gosh.

Hi! I'm in the Cu Chi tunnels! This is incredible. I cannot- Oh, something's in my hair! (Pamela whimpering) Here I go. Thank goodness I'm tiny. (upbeat music) Wow, what are we in? (gasps) Okay. Hello? Is anybody out there? Can you see us? There's a big spider web, but I'm here.

(upbeat music) (Pamela grunting) Cu Chi tunnels, check. My next solo adventure. Wow, it's, like, a little bit claustrophobic down there. And that was actually enlarged by the government compared to what it really was like. That's an adventure everybody needs to experience.

Whoa. Oh, my gosh. - [Derek] Kinda like a demonstration how the soldier at that time dressed alike. I say dressed alike, not look alike. At that time, like, if they look like this, we gonna have a different type of war. Like, small waist, double D's, more makeup in my girlfriends.

And... (Pamela laughing) - Did you just say double D? - Yep, I just said that. (both laughing) I hope that no one is gonna be mad at me.

So originally, like, Vietnamese people, the size of our... The body frame of Vietnamese people are really small. It's kinda weird because this is not a good demonstration of Vietnamese people too. - [Pamela] It was very meaningful to have a moment to honor our brave veterans at the Vietnam War Remembrance Center. (Pamela grunting) Watch your head, be careful. (Pamela laughing) Okay, push the buttons.

One, two, three, cheese! After a day of exploring, it was time for a little rest and relaxation, and some fresh coconut from the best little waitress in town. (upbeat music) (calm music) We are here in Ho Chi Minh City for our last couple days before heading up to Hanoi, and we were lucky enough to meet a fellow solo traveler. Good morning, Alvin. (laughs) - Good morning. - [Pamela] Thank you for joining us. First-time solo traveler.

- [Alvin] Yes. - [Pamela] Wow. And you are from... - I'm from Los Angeles. - [Pamela] From Los Angeles, USA. Can you tell me some of the places you've traveled to? - I've been to Costa Rica, and then, let's see, we went to Iceland, Australia, Japan, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, New Zealand, one of my favorite places. - Was that one of your first trips? - It was, actually, it actually got me traveling.

- What took you there? - Actually, I had just been through a breakup, so I decided to go to New Zealand, and he wanted to come, so we went, and we explored it for about a month. Made a lot of new friends, a lot of cool experiences. - Did you stay in hostels or homestays? - So we were part of this, like I said, a hop-on hop-off tour.

And the way that works is you get a route, and you can stop wherever you want if there's a stop, and then spend as much time there as you want. And then when you want to go to the next stop, you hop back on. Halfway through the trip, we made such a cool group of friends that we decided to leave the tour, rented our own van, and then kind of went around the country on our own.

- Oh, that's incredible. - It was a wonderful experience. - [Pamela] That's incredible.

And was that your first time out of the country, traveling? - No, I mean, I've been to other countries before. Costa Rica. - Right. - That was a couple years before that. It was, you know, it was a different kind of travel. That was more vacationing.

And now I'm really into seeking out the experiences, and the, you know... I don't stay at expensive resorts, you know, I like to stay in hostels. - Why? - Because it brings me closer to the actual experience. And typically, it's a great location, you're close to everything. And, I don't know, I'm just never the type of person that likes everything handed to me, taken care of.

I'm typically not very extroverted, so I tend to kind of, like, stay on my own and recharge that way. But I can be social and it's nice to meet new people, but not having that safety of, you know, having someone to talk to, share things that you're experiencing, is, you know, making me a little bit anxious. But I think that's part of the reason why I'm taking this trip, is to...

Going through that anxiety, I think, will make me grow as a better person. It's kind of like a self discovery thing. I don't know what's gonna happen during the trip, but I know I'll probably be a better person at the end of it. - That's great. - I don't know how I'm gonna be better, but I just know that traveling opens my eyes, and opens my heart, and yeah, it's always a positive thing. - What's a piece of advice that you would give to solo- It doesn't have to be solo travelers, 'cause you're a traveler. - Right.

For traveling, well, certainly, if you're not traveling, I say just go, take a short trip somewhere, it doesn't have to be outside the country. You know, just... It really helps you realize how big the world is, and sometimes when we're just stuck in our daily routines, the world feels really small, but actually, it's big. There are a lot of cool people living in this planet and you should experience some of that. You know, you have one life, so take advantage of it.

- Thank you so much for speaking with me and sharing your story. - You're welcome. Thanks for having me. - Welcome to Vietnam. - Thank you. Cheers. (Pamela giggling) - Welcome to "Me, Myself, and the World."

I'm your host, Pamela Holt, and this is Packing with Pamela. I do something a little bit silly, but it's kind of fun, and it's just for me, and I'm gonna share it with you, which is I like to buy toothpaste and other random products in countries to refill my toiletry case so that when I pull the product out in either the next country or back when I'm home, I remember where I got it. So this morning, I bought a 10,000 Vietnam dong toothpaste, which is less than a dollar, but it sounds like a lot. And it's this cute little travel size, and for as long as I'll be using this, I'll remember the nice little lady that I bought it from. So while it's a souvenir that doesn't last a long time, some of your toiletries can be a fun little memory to last you another country or two, or another month or two, and then you buy the next product at the next fun place. Let's talk about laundry.

I'm staying at Christina's here in Saigon, Vietnam, and they have three washers and four dryers. This is almost unheard of in travels. It is clean as can be, and it is so nice to have after almost 12, 13 days of traveling where (laughs) everything in my suitcase needed to be washed. Something that I use, and I'm not, you know, moving this brand forward for anyone, but it's really handy, are pods. This happens to be Tide PODS. They're so great.

First of all, this heavy-duty plastic thing that they come in is reusable so that I could travel with it. This is a heavy-duty Ziploc bag, and Lord knows it's broken on me before inside when it's been damaged during travel, but that Ziploc held everything tight and kept all the liquid inside, and I just poured it as I went. Anyway, these Tide PODS are super handy to travel with. They're super durable and they have everything in one.

And I just usually pack six or seven if I'm gonna do two, three loads of laundry twice in, say, a six-week trip, it works perfectly. And I just usually put my little dryer sheets in a quick little Ziploc bag, and every once in a while, I open up the Ziploc bag in my suitcase so my suitcase smells a little bit better after several days of traveling and lots of dirty clothes. So today I did laundry, which was so exciting. Carry my little handy-dandy, weighs nothing laundry bag, which this one happens to be from Reisenthel. Not really sure, but it's cute.

I think it was all of, like, $4, $4.99. They have also really super cute ones at the Container Store. I actually folded my laundry downstairs, and I took my pods down below, which I, downstairs to the laundry, which I showed you earlier, and I just folded all my pants, put it right in my pod, I attempt to zip it up because I always overpack. (laughs) I walk back upstairs, plop it right in my suitcase, or in this case, I'm still here for a couple days, put it right back on the shelf, open it up, and I'm good to go. Today, I also washed my backpack, and I wanna talk about this backpack.

It is not fancy, I bought it online for almost nothing, but I will tell you, this sucker is so durable and washable. It's got this unbelievable nylon, which is super strong. And again, did I mention that it's washable? It's washable. Today, it smells like Tide PODS. (laughs) It's got this outside pocket, great inside pocket, but most important, it unzips (zipper creaking) to expand even further.

And I added this. This is one of those little, it's like a hand carry, it has my information on the inside. I put it here when I'm traveling so that it's comfortable. And again, I washed this little piece today, as well.

So I can either carry it like a book bag, a purse, or I can wear it as a backpack, and it expands. There are lots of really fancy backpacks, and I would love to own one, and in fact, I think I might buy one when I head up to Hanoi, but the great thing about this is it's washable. And a lot of backpacks, you can use Clorox wipes, and go in, and clean it. 'Cause after you're traveling, especially through forest and rivers, it's nice to kind of get things a little sanitized.

All right, this has been Packing with Pamela, laundry version. Stay clean, everyone. (upbeat music) You never know what you're gonna see along the route here in Vietnam.

One of my favorite things to do is to find some incredibly unique things that people carry on their mopeds. This is Motorbike Mayhem. (upbeat music) - [Derek] So we are in District 10. This area were occupied by a lot of Cambodians, and a lot of them still stay here. So let's go inside. - Yahoo!

And all of this is dried fish as well? - [Derek] Yeah, it's all dried fish, dried shrimp, dried squid. Do you wanna try a really special drink in this area? Peach tea. - Peach tea? - Yeah, peach tea. Cheers.

- Holy jamoly, That is amazing! That is, like, what? - It's just literally two ingredients, tea and peach. They smash the peach. (upbeat music) You do this for "hi" because when you say hi, it's the same way that, in Vietnam, we say number two. One, two, three, mot, hai, ba. So that's "Hi," like a peace sign, or something like that.

If the people are doing that to you, that's mean they are welcoming and they're greeting you, yeah. (upbeat music) - We are so lucky! We just found chicken, American style. We got fries, hotdogs, and chicken. (upbeat music) A must-see in the heart of Saigon is Bui Vien Street, the best nightlife in town.

Here, you'll find bustling bars, traditional Vietnamese restaurants, and places you can soak up the local lifestyle and culture. You can shop, dine, and party on Bui Vien Street. (upbeat music) D1 is the place to be. (upbeat music) It's been another incredible adventure on my solo travels, learning about the history of the rubber trees, crawling through the Cu Chi tunnels, and getting to visit the Vietnam American War memorial.

I also got to meet first-time solo traveler Alvin from California. Coming up next, I continue my journey and head up to the northern city of Hanoi in search of new adventures, new friends, and a delicious cup of the famous egg coffee. I'm Pamela Holt saying "hen gap lai" from Vietnam. (lips smacking) (Pamela laughing) (calm music)

2024-04-16 23:26

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