… during our stay in VN!
(I’m using snippets of information from an article I found online and liked)
Bulging with a population of nearly seven million, Ho Chi Minh City, is Vietnam’s largest and most exciting city. While Hanoi is the center of government, Ho Chi Minh City is the nation’s economic heart, and money is on the minds of everyone here (Source).
We stayed at Cau Bao’s place (Intercontinental Hotel – *****) during our visits to Saigon. Thank you again for your hospitality uncle!
July 25, 2010 – Arrived in Saigon from Phung Hiep
July 26, 2010 – We were in Saigon because I had a 1 week elective in ENT department at the University Medical Center. I lasted 2 days. Days 3 and 4 I got sick. Days 5 and 6 I decided to skip out because I had seen just about enough during the 2 days I was present. It was… an experience. Definitely an eye-opener.
Mom and Di Maridam at Hung Vuong Plaza after my first shift at the hospital:
We went to visit Ba Hai (with Di Maridam, Mommy’s friend) on the 26th:
We also stopped at Cho Ben Thanh for some shopping.
Here, you will find practically every staple commodity imaginable except automobiles and real estate. If consumerism offers intimate glimpses of how people live, wandering among the tiny, packed stalls here will give you some unique insights into modern Vietnamese life. The food court here has delicious and very tasty local specialties. Produce, flowers, and meats are sold on the sidewalks surrounding the building.
We took the bus a lot during our stay in Vietnam… sooo CHEAP! Loves it. A bus ride costs about 16 cents CAD. You get on, take a seat, an employee comes to take your money and give you your ticket. He/she will also ask where you’re getting off and will call out the stop for you. In addition, most buses are air conditioned and are rarely full, as the majority of the population drives motorcycles/scooters. So easy to get around! (Hmm… I have a feeling I’ve said this before in a previous blog entry… oh well).
The poor employee is sweating buckets!
This was my coat and ID for working in the hospital:
July 27, 2010 – More hanging out with Di Maridam:
Highlands Coffee is everywhere in Saigon and quite tasteful, reminds me of a Starbucks or Second Cup except it’s more like a restaurant. You go in, sit down, and someone comes to take your order and bring you your food. I don’t drink coffee but they have the best freshly squeezed lime-ade I’ve ever had… not to mention their passion fruit cheesecake! Mmm, so good.
Stayed in and cooked dinner that night, with Cau Bao coming home early to join us…
July 28, 2010 – My birthday!
Super low key, my mom made a few dishes and we just had dinner at home. Cau Bao didn’t know it was my birthday so he didn’t come home in time for dinner. Had to wait til the next day to cut the cake!
Cau Bao’s place offers an amazing view of Saigon.
July 29, 2010 – I finally get to eat my birthday cake! Yum yum
July 30, 2010 – Exploration on foot!
Stopped by to visit Nha Tho Duc Ba (Notre Dame Basilica) – During October 2005, the statue was reported to have shed tears, attracting thousands of people and forcing authorities to stop traffic around the Cathedral (more info here).
Then stopped at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf for a drink and snack. So very tasty place and quite similar to Star Buck’s and Second Cup from the drinks right down to the prices!
We walked over to the Unification Palace, the former Presidential Palace occupied for nine years by Nguyen Van Thieu. Tourists stop at the front gate to snap photos by the thousands, but few venture inside. You might find yourself practically alone and wander from floor to floor as though you owned the place. Maps still hanging in the underground military operations rooms remind visitors how close the ‘‘enemy’’ was. On the top floor you will find yourself in a party room with a stage and a huge lanai. Below, lavish reception halls and office, a gambling room, and a private movie theater are all self-indulgent and tasteless reminders of why our side lost (Source).
We did go inside as well but I’m not posting those pictures because there are too many and it’s not all that interesting.
Back to Phung Hiep on July 30th!