Fly to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam
After breakfast at the hotel, we head to the airport for our flight to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, the country's largest city. While many locals still call the city Saigon, the city was officially renamed Ho Chi Minh City in 1976. We embark on an included city tour this afternoon, passing the French Quarter and the Catholic Cathedral of Notre Dame. Dressed in beautiful stained glass, the church was completed in 1880 and is said to stand on the site of an old pagoda. We also see the architecture of the majestic Post Office, built during the same time period and featuring two enormous murals depicting maps of Vietnam as it was many decades ago. Later, we explore the landmark Ben Thanh Market, where local merchants peddle everything from carved wooden animals and coffee beans to
delicately painted cookware.
Dinner is at a local restaurant this evening.
1 of 2 nights CONTINENTAL HOTEL
132-134 DONG KHOI STREET,
HO CHI MINH
Tel: 011 84 8 3829 9201
Fax: 011 94 8 3824 1772Website: WWW.CONTINENTALHOTEL.COM
This was a very lazy morning. Luggage out at 11 am and departure to the airport at 11:30 am. Except at 6 am horrible music started, horrible loud music. Well, one couldn't really call it music though. It wasn't a Muslim call for prayer. That would have been o.k. in my eyes. To make matters worse after a while a man spoke over a loudspeaker and then a woman sang (?). All one could think is "put that cat out of its misery". Sorry!
Breakfast. Luggage packed. Bye-bye, my precious hiking sandals. I will miss you.
Check-in and security went very easily and we had plenty of time to have a peek at the pharmacy at the gate. James decided it was time for me to start taking Cipro. Imodium just didn't do it.
It was only a one hour flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). There wasn't much to see during the flight, just a little before landing. That is always my favorite part: seeing something with a bird's eye.
We were met by a local lady guide. On the way to the hotel we stopped at a museum. No pictures allowed inside (except if you paid $2 but it wasn't worth it) but the inside yard was very pretty.
Then we stopped briefly at the cathedral and the post office. We also got our first lesson on crossing the street. Traffic is very "special" in Saigon and we remembered very well from Hanoi years ago.
Then we checked into our hotel which is a colonial building from 1880. Gosh, you can't help feeling great. This was the view from our window.
The Caravelle Hotel brings memories back from a previous visit many years ago. I really need to find my old pictures and may be I have a report(?).
We had 5 minutes to the end of happy hour.
Fresh flowers in the lobby.
The bus brought us to our dinner place. Bird of paradise flower folded napkins.
First we had soup with sizzling rice or "crispy rice from the bottom of the pot". Fellow traveler Betty (her heritage is Chinese) was very excited. I always like the soups.
Then we had morning glory salad which you were supposed to put on a half-shell rice cracker.
Main course: the banana leaf parcel with the lotus on top contains a rice mixture with lotus seeds. And stir-fry chicken.
We didn't do much today but fell into bed very tired anyway.