Goodnight Saigon…

December 30, 2009 · Posted in Travel · Comments Off on Goodnight Saigon… 

I figured I’d leave Vietnam with a few last notes about what we did since the escape from the Khmers.  Even though I am in Hong Kong by now, this will still count as a Vietnam post for those of you keeping score.

To bring you back up to speed, Alex and Brandy were the only ones actually trapped in Cambodia.  My entrapment was more of the hunger strike variety – solidarity, strength in numbers, self imposed.  That kind of noble B.S.  But, deciding that I’d had enough of that, I left them to fend for themselves and went back to Vietnam.  I had a day to myself, so I went to see Reunification Palace and walk around HCMC by myself for once.

This is Christmas Eve so after Alex and Brandy returned, we went out for a nice dinner and then to the Sheraton for drinks – they have a nice bar that overlooks the city.  Or tried to go anyway – the city had lost its collective mind.  Apparently Christmas Eve is a huge party in Vietnam.  But not like a party in the US, where some city council or something has to organize it and there better be at least 15 beer tents or everyone is going home.  No, there was nothing official set up.  The city was decked out in lights, sure, but other than that no official “event” so to speak.  AND no booze!  And yet, there half of Ho Chi Minh City was (that’s 3.5 million people, crowded into three square blocks) just hanging out on Christmas Eve.  Spraying everyone within a mile radius with fake snow.  I got hit twice.  By high schoolers.  Everyone’s just sort of hanging out, walking around, driving around on their scooters, just enjoying being outside.

The next day we left of Long Hai – a beach resort about two hours away from Saigon.  We stayed at this resort here: Anoasis Beach Resort

That’s actually a complete lie.  I just made that up.  What we actually did was snuck into that resort.  It’s amazing what people will let you get away with if you just walk in.  Our “hotel” was a place that used to be an old military barracks and is still run by the Navy.  (Vietnamese, not US, in case there’s any confusion.)  The beach there wasn’t so nice, so we walked over to Anoasis.  We asked to use their chairs and bungalow on the beach and just like that, we were in.  The lifeguard then brought us over towels from the resort, and any of you Douglas Adams fans should know where this is going.  Smart travelers always carry a towel.  Once we had the towel, moving from the beach to the bar and pool was a smooth transition.  We had towels.  We were legit.  Rock on, Arthur Dent.

The only restaurants were these things called Can Tin 1, 2, 3, and 4.  Yup.  So we did what any self-respecting traveler to a fishing town does.  We ordered enough crab to feed a small village.

Christmas Dinner!

We had regular crab, deep fried crab, and then crab tamarind which was by far the crowd favorite.

Another lazy day at the beach/pool, and then back for a mad dash through Saigon in seven meals.  We weren’t counting days nor hours.  Only the amount of food we could reasonably fit in before I left for Hong Kong.  You’ve already seen some of the pictures if you’ve been reading…

Here’s a quick picture synopsis of the last few days:

Cho Lon market – kind of like a giant CostCo for all the smaller markets in Saigon.

This guy was too cool NOT to photograph…

I am NOT supposed to be driving here.  Pretty convinced I was going to die…

Crispy pho @ Pho Ta – my absolute favorite dish in Vietnam.

Our last night was very chill as I got up at 3:30 this morning to get to Hong Kong.

A thousand thanks to Alex and Brandy for an incredibly memorable, fun-filled, amazing trip!  The return trip cannot come soon enough.