Saigon by day

02.19.11 | Comment?

We left the Philippines with a pinch in our hearts at the end of January. We had such a good time there. It was time to move on and get back on a continent (we’ve been on islands for the last 4 months).

We arrived in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam right before the Tết Holiday which forced us to stay put for extra days. It was a blessing in disguise, we needed rest and time to plan our next moves. In between long periods of time just lazing around in our hotel, eating at nearby restaurants and spending time on the interwebs, we actually walked around a little.

We learned that crossing the streets was a bit of a sport… while there is the rare lit crosswalk, most of the time, you just pick a spot, engage in traffic, walk slowly, never stop or move abruptly and make your way across as motorcycles and cars dodge you. It’s actually quite fun! This is what it looks like (although it’s not the “worst” we’ve crossed).

Continuing on the scary stuff… this was the view from our hotel window on Chinese New Year day. Yikes! I guess it didn’t start real well for the building behind the Crazy Buffalo.

It was also the day we changed hotels (not for that reason, just to experience a different neighborhood). When the power went out and we saw the scene, we accelerated our packing and got the hell outta there, taking a detour to avoid the thick smoke in the air. Thankfully, the fire was controlled fairly quickly and we weren’t in the tiny hotel elevator when the power went out. Phew, all ended fine.

On to happier sights… This is a view towards the financial district from the park near Ben Thanh market.

I don’t know if these trees were there for the Tết holiday, but they were very pretty. I like the contrast with the high-rises in the background.

On the (pretty dirty) river, was docked a huge tourist restaurant-boat that looked like it was eating all the other little boats.

Around town, we could see some of the French architectural influences. I mean, if I didn’t know, I’d never guess this basilica is in Vietnam… (ok maybe the palm trees and the big red non-western banners give it away).

It’s the year of the cat in Vietnam (rabbit everywhere else)… I’m sure Hello Kitty made some extra bucks this year.

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