Sunday, March 8, 2009

Walked Up To Jesus and Went Inside him...

We woke up at 8 this morning and checked out of the Happy Hotel. Anika and her friend already bought tickets for a hydrofoil back up the Saigon river to HCMC for 12:30, so while I went to the other side of the peninsula to buy my ticket they went to the beach. It was much hotter than the day before and the 2 mile walk to the harbor was excruciating. Having bought my ticket I decided to take a motorbike taxi back to the beach instead of walking and met up with the girls at 9. 

Pic: The beach from the bottom of the hill that the statue was on

From the beach I saw a large statue of Jesus on top of the tallest hill by the beach, similar looking to the one in Brazil. Anika told me that they took a motorbike to the foot of the hill the day before and climbed up to it. She said that there is a spiral staircase inside that you can climb up, and the view from the top is incredible, so I decided to take a jog up to it. It was nice to run on the beach instead of HCMC because of the breeze and lower percentage of humidity in the air. I tried to run up all of the stairs to the statue, but pooped out about half way up. There were smaller statues and sculptures on the way up as well as benches that were sponsored by people around the world, including some from Philly, and lots of beautiful flowers. 

Pic: The final ascent to Jesus

At the top I was instructed to take my shoes off before entering Jesus's feet, and once inside I had to climb up into a room that had lots of framed paintings of Jesus. Upon further inspection I realized that they were actually posters of paintings, which I found amusing. I climbed up the narrow spiral staircase, just barely able to pass the people going down, and 100 some feet later was at the top, just outside of Jesus' neck. The view was incredible, I didn't realize the beach town was so big. 

Pic: Looking down the stairs I just climbed up. I am probably in Jesus' esophagus. 

I ran back to the beach after descending back down through Jesus and laid around for an hour before we walked to the harbor to catch the boat. It was much busier Sunday than Saturday and vendors were selling anything and everything that comes out of the the sea (including whole dried squid, sea snails, clams, and fish) from an assortment of mobile carts, including bicycles, motorbikes, shoulder straps, carts, etc. 

Pic: 1. A woman selling corn from a basket on her bicycle. 2. Anika and I in front of the harbor.

We got on the hydrofoil at 12:30 and started our journey back. After a half hour the boat stopped and I looked out side to see why and saw black smoke billowing from the engines. They told us that another one was to come pick us up and in half an hour it did. We arrived in HCMC nearly at 3, when I went home to do my laundry and then relaxed for the rest of the day. 

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