Spent the last 8 hours walking around Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City. I think I've had a very complete experience for one day. I saw an old temple, spent lots of time at the huge central market and got ripped off by the local transport. I've enjoyed myself a lot today.
Our hotel is beautiful, and very old world, classic. Everything is wood. We had breakfast in the hotel restaurant, fresh fruit and a wonderful bowl of noodle soup. I have always thought that soup was the best possible breakfast, and I think that the very little time I have spent in Vietnam has proved my theory beyond a doubt. We then walked to the Ben Thanh Market, which is huge and has everything. Shoes, bananas, birds, coffee of all descriptions, all different types of meat, dried everything, oreos. I managed to buy three pairs of prescription glass and two prescription sunglasses. The lovely lady who owned the stall took my prescription off the glasses I was wearing.
Ben Thanh Market stall.
Flowers at Ben Thanh.
Meat at Ben Thanh.
Oreo's at Ben Thanh.
Pigs ears at Ben Thanh.
After that we went to another market, in one of those bike carts. The men who took us were very charming but managed to WAY overcharge us in the end. But the temple they took us too was beautiful. And in reality the extra twenty bucks probably makes more of a difference in their lives than it does in ours. All part of the experience.
The temple itself was beautiful. Very old, very Buddhist. The decorations were worth the trip there, and probably the extra cash spent on the sketchy drivers. I can see why people find Buddhism so alluring, it was very beautiful, and even though I have never been a religious person there was something very mystical about this place.
Me outside the temple.
Inside the temple.
Alter in the Temple.
Amazing giant incense cones hanging from ceiling in the temple.
Lunch was delicious. Shrimp paste on sugar cane, rolled rice flour rolls with crab, beef and pork pho and grilled meat vermicelli. The freshness of the flavours in the food here is eye opening. Even with the meats that were served in the pho, which had been cooked for hours there was something very fresh and clean tasting. I've also tried two of the beers here, Tiger and 333. I like both, their light and crisp like the food here. They are also very helpful in taking the edge off the oppressive heat.
Partially through lunch (I forgot about the camera.)
We are leaving tomorrow afternoon for Cambodia. Definitely not enough time for this city, but it is worth a trip back here at some point.