Day 15: Exploring Saigon’s Colonial History & meeting the Donald Trump of Shoes

Exploring sophisticated Saigon

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Vietnamese FOD: the desire to have pale skin in Vietnam is so strong that people wear socks with sandals, masks to cover their faces and wear long sleeved clothes all while driving in 40 degree heat!

Everyday Randomness: getting your meal paid for at 1:30am

A coffee stop was the first place on our self guided walkig tour. We went to Mila which is once again quite french and tried to order a hot coffee but ended up with an iced one. It was still delicious so no complaints from us especially seeing as it was paired with a comfy couch.

We took up where we left off yesterday and found the second electronics shop but we were once again unsuccessful. The guy in the shop said the Chromecast was sold out in all of Saigon so at least we had a definitive answer!

On our way to starting the actual tour we popped into the Ban Thanh market where we were greeted by sellers with deceptively good English. In these markets you are tempted to by your entire sporting wardrobe for the year but restraint is required when cycle touring! So we opted to just get a nice Vietnamese t-shirt and continue on to the statue of the man himself:

He resides in a huge pedestrian rectangular which was empty today but is teeming with kids on roller blades and scooters at night! 

The next stop was the Majestic Hotel which definitely warranted the name. It was spectacular and for €100-300 a night I would suggest it is very good value if you can afford it! The Notre dame cathedral was dramatic in the midday sun but I may say the post office beside it certainly held its own! On the outside, names of French scientists such as Ampere are adorned on the walls. The building is in impeccable condition and features beautiful maps and telephone boxes that have been converted into ATMs.

I sent a postcard for a total cost of 65 cent to Ireland pretty much just to see if it would make it at all. The stamps themselves were also very cool. Along the same lines as the dog with the purple ears we came across these mad looking pigeons:

The real purpose of the walking to was to build up an appetite for Baba’s Kitchen. We went to this place last year and it was the best meal we’ve ever had. It’s an Indian restaurant that has a lunch special of a Northern or southern Thali for an exceptionally good price. A Thali to me, and I am no expert, is two curries, a Dahl, a yogurt, naan bread, rice and in this case a dessert. It was as tasty as I remember it being with the cheese (!) tikka masala being my favourite, followed closely by the cucumber yogurt. It’s extremely filling so unfortunately I couldn’t finish my naan bread or make it to the end of the cardamon flavoured rice pudding. If you are in Saigon you really cannot afford to miss this place!

We returned to the hostel to recover from our food coma and did some planning. With no appetite for dinner we decided to hold off for a late one and had a few drinks in the hostel with some really sound English people. On the way to the other hostel, after 9pm we got some fantastic pho (beef noodle soup, probably the most famous dish in Vietnam) in the most popular place around here! 

We ended up on the pub crawl which was good craic, especially when we played Fussball against a pair of local guys who were delighted that an entire hostel had invaded the bar. We opted out of a few of the last bars and once again searched for friend noodles but only seemed to be able to find fried corn of all things. So the best compromise was to head back to the dinner spot and just ordee soup with noodles and no meat.

This merry French Canadian who was clearly on a business trip started chatting to us. He was doing some deal with a local guy and a guy called Stanley who was the “Donald Trump of shoes” according to the Canadian. After many handshakes  a and introductions they ended up paying for our meal (if only we had known we would have had meat!)! Another great end to a brilliant day!

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