Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

the whole town in celebration

Posted by Hippo Bean at 10:30 PM
Sài Gòn - drove back to da nang and flew to saigon, now HCM city. and went straight to sightseeing. the war remnants museum was boring. american planes, tanks and helicopters on display in the garden, a few replications of prison cells and 3 floors of nothing but photographs. not interesting. however, the lunch was very special. i had coconut salad and duck confit on a bed of super delicious egg noodles. again, was totally stuffed. Afterwards, we visited the reunification palace, which was completely destroyed during the war and rebuilt. Again, not very interesting. quite simple and no extravagance. Had wanted to see the notre dame cathedral but it was closed for renovation. At the market inside the post office building, i finally purchased the Trung Nguyen coffee, only to find out that the coffee store was but a block from our hotel and it was cheaper at the coffee shop, and i could purchase whole beans there too. ah well, me, stupid tourist! the hotel huong sen was 1 block from the city center/time square, 2 blocks from the opera house, 3 blocks from the union square. the rooms were excellently appointed and with balconies. Skipped dinner that night as the lunch just about made my stomach explode. Stayed in the room and watched australian open tennis. Quite good. Breakfast was at the hotel terrace. Really liked this hotel.

the following day we did the cu chi tunnels. A picture depicting how the tunnel structures were was very interesting. disguised openings, traps, rooms for sleeping, dining and even teaching, and openings to the river. however, the 40 meters of the total 60m of tunnel I've crawled or rather walked bending over, was not all that fun or interesting. Just a low dark place. Displays of traps, guerrilla soldiers, shops to sell vietcon soldiers uniforms, hats and boots (made of rubber tires, they called them uncle ho's boots), nothing much else. not sure why all the fuzz about these tunnels. Not exciting to me. Returned to saigon for a pho lunch, just around the corner from the hotel. the pho was quite good. and i had a coconut juice right from the fruit. not as good as the ones in cambodia or myanmar. another free afternoon at the hotel watching tennis on tv.

A little before 7, i was sipping cold green tea in my balcony, when suddenly a big commotion started on the street below. a crowd waving the vietnamese flag was shouting. I thought it was some kind of political uprising. Soon the motorbikes joined, banging pot and pans tops. More and more bikes came and filled the streets in front of our hotel completely. Then I've realized this was their AFC cup semi-final victory parade. By 7 we headed out to hunt for dinner. The streets were filled with bikes, people carrying the nation's flag, shouting, banging pot lids. we had a hard time crossing the street, jumping over bikes. We eat on the top air conditioned floor at the Lemongrass, quite an upscale restaurant. I had soft shell crabs which were gigantic and deep fried seabass that was expensive, good but not excellent. For drink I've tried the 'car driver' which was grenadine, pineapple, lime and ginger ale. it was super delicious. My bill totaled almost 400K dongs, my most expensive meal in vietnam. Going back to the hotel took another daring motorbike filled street crossing. somersaulting over bikes again. back at the hotel, we watched the never ending sea of motorbikes from the hotel terrace. It was quite a sight. the victory parade didnt stop until around 3AM.

Sài Gòn photos:

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