Today was by far my favorite day. We went to Vung Tau, a beach resort town. To get there, we had to travel about three hours outside of the city. In this relatively short amount of time, we saw astounding differences from downtown Ho Chi Minh. As soon as we reached the outskirts of the city, we noticed some seemingly impoverished areas as well as many extremely rural fields and marshes. We passed a few areas that deviated from this pattern, but for the most part the areas appeared to be very underdeveloped when compared to the city. When we got to Vung Tau, we stopped to trek up a few hundred stairs or so to see Jesus. Once at the top, we climbed up into the statue for what was probably the best view I’ve ever seen. We had an incredible outlook over both the beach and the town. It was definitely worth all of the sweat.
Immediately after that, we headed down the road to a resort where we served a delicious (very Americanized) lunch. After lunch, we layered on the sunscreen and then got to relax in the ocean and/or a pool for a few hours. To be completely honest, I was a bit surprised at how nice the resort was. On the drive there, as we started to get farther away from the city and the surroundings seemed to get more rural, I was expecting the resort to be a very rudimentary pool and a few chairs type of situation but I was pleasantly surprised by the reality. I would say as a whole, Vung Tau was about where I expected it to be in terms of development. It was a lot nicer than the countryside, but it appeared as though it could be improved in a few ways. For example, the beach was covered in garbage, as well as the streets on the way there. I’d hope that in the future Vung Tau can implement policies surrounding littering and recycling to ensure that this problem gets resolved.
Dog count: 27. Primarily strays since we were driving through the underdeveloped countryside for almost 6 hours!