Sweaty in Saigon


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Our flight was delayed by an hour leaving Da Nang airport. Not a lot to amuse yourself with there, think small regional airport with a couple of market stalls. But on the upside there was air-conditioning. The other positive yesterday was we got an upgrade at the hotel. We are in District 1 in Saigon, pretty much walking distance to all the touristy things you need to see. We decided to eat in at the hotel last night, not a great decision as it turns out. There was a very loud group of locals celebrating something. They were unbelievably loud. We checked out the menu – challenging – and tried to speak to the waiter – he couldn’t really hear what we were saying over the noise. In the end I found a pork dish, and Howard had bones with fish on them, and the greens I picked turned out to be steamed flowers of various types. As Howard only had three mouthfuls of fish we had to go out and find another restaurant to eat at. The food in Saigon is very different to the food in Hoi An. We settled on a restaurant, Cafe Bien Hue I think, close to the river, and ordered boiled dumplings and chicken on a stick. Nice, but the service was awful. They were so busy they just couldn’t cope. According to the couple we were speaking to on the way out, it was a really bad night for them, they had been there a couple of times and it had been faultless. I’d go back and give it another try.

This morning we went for a walk up to the Reunification Palace, and had a walk through that. The top couple of floors just showed how the President was living at the time (very nicely thank you very much) but underground was the war rooms, map rooms, communications and planning. The walls were solid concrete – 2 feet thick.

From there we walked to Gloria Jeans Coffee Beans – it has air-conditioning and a loo! Much aimless wandering bought us back to the hotel – the humidity is in the 80-90% area, temp mid 30’s and the deodorant is failing. We cooled down for a while and then headed out to the market. The food sections are fascinating. Howard thinks he has found a restaurant with Peking Duck so tonight we will try that. Tomorrow we are heading to the floating markets in the Mekong.

Random asides – not nearly as many push bikes in Saigon as I imagined. But the ones that I have seen being used as businesses are carrying much more load than those in Hoi An. Sometimes you can’t see the bike for the product. Motor bikes are far more widely used, and they carry enormous amounts on them. Most people seen on one motor bike 5 – 2 adults, 3 kids.

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