To market, To market…

This morning I headed off to the Ben Thanh market which actually is in walking distance of the hotel.  I’m getting better at crossing roads, though I still feel like I’m going to get run over.  My best advice is either watch and cross when the locals do, or latch on to a likely group of tourists because a group offers more protection (ie other bodies to take the brunt of the hit should you actually get run over).  Enterprising no? 

The markets were quite nice, very neat, clean and well laid out.  I finally found the cheap t-shirt and knockoff DVD stands that our touristy hotel area still has very few of.  Although I didn’t buy anything today.  The market is divided into different areas.  There was room for tourist stuff, everyday goods, fruit, veges, a bewildering array of lollies, nuts, tea and coffee (including the kind of beans that are excreted by weasels – very gourmet).  The northern end is where all the fresh meat and seafood is held, so there was plenty of meat, organs and wriggling fish in baskets to behold.  It is quite stuffy inside so after having a wander around I headed across the road to a lovely frozen yoghurt shop.  At this one you can just grab a container, fill it up as much as you want and you pay by weight.  The coconut flavour was really good.

After that I wandered back to the Pham Ngu Lao (I finally remembered the words in the right order) district via a park.  While sitting I was joined by a local student and we talked for quite a while.  She is 18 and studies at a local school (university) and likes to visit the park to practice her English skills with the foreigners who are so often there.  I headed back to Bui Vien road (which is directly behind the road my hotel is on) for some  lunch and another look around the area.  Despite the fact  this area is so obviously full of tourists and travellers it is nowhere near as overgrown and tacky as the Khao Sanh road in Bangkok. Which is definitely a backpacker ghetto in the worst sense.  People spend the majority of their time in Bangkok on that one street and think they’ve seen the city, as if it’s all full of ethnic bags and crass t-shirts.

Tonight I meet my tour group, I already have a roommate who is from Brisbane.  I think there might be approximately eleven of us on the trip.  Here’s hoping it’s a good group.