Ha Bai Trung street stretches for two kilometres through the heart of the city, past shopping malls, high-rise office buildings through to the historical centre of the city past the war museum and Reunification Palace. We decided to get out of the taxi at the end of the street and walk back towards town.
It was quieter here, the shops set up for locals as exquisite colourful Ao Dai, local traditional dresses hang in the window capturing our attention. We walked along slowly as we didn’t have to fight with motorbikes over space for the footpath like you have to in the heart of town. Cafés, restaurants, Coffee shops were spotted along the streets we stopped at a cafe decked out in a colonial building for a quick bite to eat, stomach content we wandered off down the street. Traffic built up motorbikes streamed by, cars sputted along. An array of smells drifted through the air that we had never smelt before. This was Ho Chi Minh, an assault on our sensories.
By now we were only a couple of blocks from the old centre, walking along the street out front of a petrol station, casually chatting away about how to approach crossing the upcoming intersection when from behind a motorbike crept up behind us, we were oblivious to what was to happen.