Ah... Ho Chi Minh City.
Or more commonly known as Saigon (the older name of the city before 1975), or abbreviation HCMC.
The former capital city of Replubic of Vietnam.
I know, shocking, you would think the more populated and commercialised city of Vietnam would be the capital, but no, Hanoi is the Capital of Vietnam.
Might I remind that this trip was made quite a while back, so please do not assume that I am in Vietnam right at this moment, so many people have always mistaken this. It's not easy to blog while you're on the go, so I always make sure I blog after I returned from a trip. :)
My mom and I flew into HCMC and checked into a nice budget clean hotel on one of the busy street in Central Ho Chi Minh City.
It wasn't expensive. Probably around RM120 or so per night. Reasonable for two I'd say.
My friend Gerald was to arrive two days after our arrival. He flew in from Brunei and since our trips coincide, we decided to travel together during the days we were in HCMC.
Anyway, on the first day, I met up with a reader of mine, Robin Leong, who brought my mom and I to the famous Ben Thanh Market in Central HCMC for a drink.
that's my mom to the right!
Robin introduced to us a local cendol-looking drink, which name I have long forgotten, that tasted really nice.
It's very rich and much more refreshing than our Malaysian cendol drink. I loved it.
We then down it with some local Vietnamese teas (tasted like wheat tea) to wash off the richness of the earlier drinks.
If you're in HCMC, be sure you visit the Ben Thanh market at least once, if not only for the food.
There are many local spices and souveniers to be found here.
One of my personal favourites were the Vietnamese ham (I don't know what to call it so I'd just name it based on the country I bought from).
These hams tasted very different from our usual western hams or our eastern luncheon meat. They're harder and saltier and by god the most delicious thing you'd ever savour.
I first tasted this ham in Laos (Vientiane city) and it came in a form of a 5000 kip baguette sandwich (that's RM2).
It's a sandwich made of french baguette, spread with pork pâté (well they were a french colony once), pork floss, cucumber, little shredded lettuce (optional), and drizzled with really delicious local soy sauce (also found in Ben Thanh market, more fragrant than the typical Chinese version, I call it Vietnamese soy sauce, go figure).
Not exactly the most halal thing in the world. But god it's defintely one of the best sandwich I've ever tasted this lifetime.
God I missed it.
Since we're in Vietnam, here's a photo of a beautiful Vietnamese lady.
I'm sorry if your view of beauty is different from mine. :)
We then did a walking tour (according to Lonely Planet guide book) around HCMC (just momsy and I).
Starting from the Reunification Palace, which unfortunately, was not open to public that day. :(
Then we progressively walked along the dotted line as stated on the map and brought ourselves to the side of a beautiful cathedral.
The Notre Dame Cathedral to be exact, in HCMC.
More gorgeous photos with my wide angle SLR (when I was more arsed about taking good looking photos) in the next post.
Group of Vietnamese playing Chinese chess at the street side.
According to the guide book, we 'had' to visit the post office, which was an odd request, but obliged anyway.
Buu Dien in Vietnamese?
Old French telephone booths.
It was unmistakenly one of the fanciest heritage post office I've seen, even more so than the heritage red building post office in Melaka.
From here onwards it's quite a walk to see the next spotlight which was a hotel continential building, next to an Opera House, also next to an LV store. All which looked pretty French colonial style.
topless lady statue pillar
a very tired mom
Considering my mom's age at that point (well over 60), she's doing pretty well, though I have intention to buy her an electric motor-chair one day to bring to our travels.
Finally, we decided to head into residential street to visit the Ho Chi Minh City Museum to end the day.
I have walked to the middle of the road to take a photo of the motorcycle 'trend' in HCMC.
Took a photo of this ghastly eletrical pole in the centre of the road.
Tell me this is not the scariest thing you've ever seen.
I bet millions of pigeons die every year in Saigon, Vietnam.
HCMC Museum finally.
Spotted a 40's Citroen in front of the building.
Still kept at a very good condition. Ahh, I've always love looking at classical cars (note: not drive nor own one).
We didn't have any tour guide so we decided to just look-see around.
The museum showed the life of father of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh in his days; and the early life documentaries of the early Saigon.
a log boat
Then at night, reader Robin Leong brought us to dine at a local up-scale Vietnamese restaurant in town that served overpriced Vietnamese food.
Mom choosing her food with her spetacles. So cute.
Food was nothing special, and really expensive even for our (Malaysian) standard. But I guess it was a good experience and it did have nice atmosphere, albeit a bit noisy.
The young yuppies of HCMC knew how to enjoy life.
I liked these salt and pepper shakers.
Me and my freakishly long arms.
back when I still have fringe.
Mom and daugther!
Tuna Salad, cause I really didn't know what else to order.
Pretty so-so Vietnamese spring rolls.
Ah.. I do miss my fringe.
But never again.