20.08.2009 - 25.08.2009 31 °C
Having had our last and in my opinion most comfortable overnight bus ride from Nha Trang we arrived in Saigon at about 6.30 in the morning on what was both Alex's birthday and the morning of exam results. Having found a hotel with both some decent internet and a room with two singles rather than a double bed, I headed to the main electronics street to try and get my camera fixed. The first two days were spent waiting for universities and discovering that my camera was completely broken after someone had spent two hours completely taking it apart.
Over the next few days, with me sporting a new camera, we headed out to explore the city. We visited the Reunification Palace, the War Remnants Museum, Cho Lon (China Town) and Notre Dame cathedral. The Reunification Palace and War Remnants museum were interesting and gave good insight into what the war was like for the local people. Although, it was obviously a bit biased. Having gone to China Town to search for Dim Sum, as we failed to have it in Hong Kong, we found it to be a rather more traditional China Town than London with lots of Chinese shops and few restaurants.
We also did a morning Vietnamese cookery course, which now makes us experts in Vietnamese cuisine. As the course was about 7km away from central Saigon we had some rather interesting taxi rides there. On Saturday we went to book it and our taxi driver took the most direct and the most heavily congested route in the city. We had seen we were on the right road and the taxi driver stopped to drop us off. However, it transpired that being so far from the centre he had seen another fare and kicked us out. This left us with about a 2km walk down the road where the buildings were seemingly numbered in no particular order. However, we found it and we were more able to direct our taxi driver the next day. It seemed that knowing the city isn't really a necessary qualification for taxi driver.
Generally Saigon is an interesting city with huge quantities of motor-bikes and traffic lights that seem more advisory than compulsory. This makes crossing the road slightly difficult as you just walk and assume the bikes will avoid you. It also has some crazy electrical wiring with tens of wires going down above the pavement on every street, occasionally below head height.
On Tuesday morning we have a 06.30 bus crossing the border into Cambodia and then on to Phenom Penh.