Gooooooood morning, Vietnam! Okay, I had to say that at least once in my journey through this magnificent country, no? Even though it’s evening here.
Sure, it’s officially called Ho Chi Minh City, but everyone here calls it Saigon, and I prefer the name Saigon anyways. The first thing my friends warned me about back in the States was how treacherous crossing the streets were. And they were right! It’s not as bad as I had imagined though… think crossing the Westside Highway in Manhattan, except cars and scooters actually slow down instead of speeding up! But that’s just one street in New York. Almost every road in Vietnam is like this. So I would guess if I was from somewhere like LA, where no one dares to jay walk, it would be pretty scary.
But my friends had also said how ridiculously friendly the people were and how amazing the food is as well. Vietnamese cuisine was already one of my favorites before I stepped foot onto this forever 100 degrees nation (38 degrees in Celsius, I quickly learned)… it was one of the reasons I wanted to come here in the first place. But I’m constantly and consistently blown away at how nice and accommodating everyone here is.
I’d like to say hello and thank you to all the wonderful people I met in Saigon… from the locals, the tour guides, and all the other travelers I’ve crossed paths with. It’s interesting that the vast majority of other travelers I met come from Australia and New Zealand. Germans come in a close second and you also hear a lot of French being spoken (though I haven’t actually befriended any French people… the ones I’ve come across have all been a bit stand-offish… just my experience), and the occasional Brit here and there. It’s very rare I’ll run into an American.
Anyways, enough talk, here are some photos. Enjoy!
Chillin.I came across lots of engagement sessions in Saigon. Their style is a weeeee bit different from mine. But it was fascinating for me to witness.This is just one of a million moto parking lots in the city.And one of a million moto garages in the city.You have to always keep your guard up and your ears open for motos behind you… even in tiny cramped alleyways. Luckily, they honk their horns (every damn time) they’re in your vicinity.As many motos and scooters there are, there are plenty more smiles.Ants marching…He has a head, I promise.The previous and following few images are photos I took in a Chinese pagoda. I found the elderly gentleman there quite captivating, as you can see by the many images I took of him working.I saw lots of drivers taking mid-afternoon naps. I don’t blame them, being in the sweltering heat all day.One of the few “must see” spots for me… the Hotel Continental, where Graham Greene wrote his masterpiece, “The Quiet American,” which was the book I was reading while in Saigon. It was quite the “meta” experience. A lot of the scenes in the novel took place at the hotel as well.Vietnamese barber shop.The infamous “Lunch Lady,” made popular by Anthony Bourdain’s show “No Reservations.” I’m still not sure exactly what I ate, but it was fantastic.Portrait of the Lunch Lady.Spent my last day in Saigon lazing around. One of the many moments I stopped for coffee and cigarettes. And a good book (the aforementioned “The Quiet American”). Vietnamese coffee is absolutely phenomenal. I don’t know how I’m going to go back to the normal stuff in America. Next stop on my journey was the gorgeous city of Hoi An. I’ll hopefully be posting those soon. Currently in Sapa, enjoying the magnificent scenery of rice terraces and being constantly stalked and harassed by Hmong hawkers in the street. Boy, they are persistent! But a lovely bunch, nonetheless.
See you all next time, kiddos. Hope you enjoyed the photos!