We made it HCMC or Saigon I will find out.
Arrived Saigon approx. 0715 as we were driving down the street Summer asked what street we were on saw a street sign Pham Nao Lao. This was the street our hotel was on. Arrived at bus stop got all our luggage together and decided to walk to hotel. On our way walked past 2 x Comm Bank ATM’s.
Our hotel was lucky to be 500m from the bus stop. Really good score. We were unable to check in as the room was still occupied so we left our luggage at the hotel and went for a walk to get some breakfast. Asked the manager were the local Pho Bo was? Just up on the corner, walked to the local Pho Bo and ordered some of the best noodles we have had since Hanoi. Had a look around for a bit returned to the hotel and were able to check in approx. 1000.
We checked in and the kids put on a movie. A comedy were a guy had donated sperm to enable his sick mother to go on holiday. He used the alias Starbuck and now all his 533 children wanted find out who Starbuck was. It was funny, just what we needed.
We arranged a tri-shaw (cyclo in Vietnam) tour for 1300 so we could stay awake and get a good look around town. This was awesome they rode us around to the Ben Thanh Markets, then to the 1975 memorial picture with the helicopter landing on the roof to remove US friendly’s after the war. From there we stopped at the Post Office and Saigon Notre Dame for 20minutes to have a look around and get some photos. Then over to the War Remnants Museum. This is a must do in Saigon, it is truly an amazing peace of modern history. Shocking, confronting and in your face. We couldn’t do all the sections such as Agent Orange and truths about war it was just too hardcore for the kids.
I can remember watching Tour of Duty as a kid not knowing much about the Vietnam War, now visiting these kind of sites as an adult really drums in how terrible war is for multiple generations and how messed up humans can be to each other in a war situation.
This was fully drummed home on exit through the prison cells and POW living conditions. I can sense an underlining hatred that has eased with time, but definatly won’t go away. We spent an hour in here and then moved on to the site of the Buddist Crisis were the monk set himself alight. This also was quite graphic as a monument to the monk.
We were then supposed to go to the flower markets and the animal market but we were well out of time so we asked for the guides to take us back to the hotel. Return to the hotel approx. 1530 and got the girls to do 2 hours’ worth of school work. Got the girls washed up and went up the local street for dinner. Instead of turning right to go to the main street we went left and were in the heart of backpacker area. It was chaos we saw a motorbike accident prior to getting to the next corner. Decided to pick a restaurant on the busy corner and just watch the madness. The food was excellent and cheap. Returned to hotel and we all had a solid nights sleep.