After the peace and serenity of Hoi An it was back to the all out chaos of another Vietnamese city. This time it was Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon if you prefer. We took the path of least resistance and smell and boarded a jet to shoot us south to the countries largest city on an hour flight full of seat kicking and children screaming. Peep the video on our youtube page to see some footage of the gem that sat behind Nicole.
We arrived in Saigon mid afternoon and after packing into our room we wandered the streets to get a better feel for our surroundings. Saigon is considered to be the business hub of Vietnam so unlike Hanoi with its small streets and smaller buildings, Saigon was more developed and more sprawling with some very nice looking areas as we cruised the streets.
After about an hour of so our hunger pains had set in and so we snuck into a local spot that was chock full of beer drinking business men sitting in kid picnic chairs eating some rather interesting meat dishes. After a rather long look at the menu that included cooked farm animals of almost every sort, including dove, tortoise, salamader, and rabbit, we opted for some salads and i went nuts for the beef muscle, whatever that was.
The atmosphere was really loud but fun and its at times like these that we felt that the experience of where we were was far more real than if w had chosen a trendy backpaker place to grab a bite. The locals all seemed pretty happy to have us there and after our meal and a few raised toasts to our neighbors, we headed back to the crib for some much needed zzzzz’s.
The next day we awoke to some breakfast and a whole list of sights to see around the city which was walkable and with the humidity down somewhat, it was a pretty comfortable day to be out and about.
We were told by some Aussie friends in Hoi An to check out the Opera house, Notre dame Cathedral and finally, the Post Office which was built by French railmen back in the day which gave it a cool rugged feel.
We unfortunately missed the opening hours of the Reunification Palace which was constructed in 1966 as the Presidential quarters and most well known for the August 30, 1975 events in which Saigon surrendered after a communist tank from the North crashed through the palaces front gates. It was cool nonetheless to witness the building which has been left untouched since that day with the exception of the front gate repair.
We headed over to a coffee shop for some cool beverages and were lucky enough to meet two Dutch girls Marieke and Mariel. We ended up joining them for dinner of pasta and beer and then making plans to see each other in a few days in another city, Mui Ne.
We woke up early, booked an afternoon bus to Mui Ne and headed out to the War Remnants Museum. We believed it was something that we needed to see. It was quite an emotional place. The whole first floor had pictures and empty shell casings and documented Agent Orange and its effects over Vietnam, as well as the after effects it is having on Americans, Koreans and other soldiers. But, the museum of course focused mostly on the 3 million Vietnamese men, women, children and soldiers who were killed during the war.
We ended our time in Saigon talking about our feelings of the museum and our past relations with this country versus how we feel and are seen here now.
We boarded a bus and headed on a 7 hour journey north to Mui Ne.
Ps. Remember to look at the youtube channel for video and all the pictures are slowly heading up on the right.