The day before we were to arrive in Ho Chi Minh City we had a relaxing day at sea with a most wonderful jazz brunch. They had everything good imaginable on the spread. It turned out to be one of the best meals thus far. Sailing into the port we were welcomed by music and lovely ladies holding bouquets of balloons that were later released into the Saigon Sky by the time we were disembarking for our tour of the city.
Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is lively, bustling, chaotic, congested and I love it! It happens to be the largest city in Vietnam, conquered by France in 1859. The influence was so great it was called “Paris in the Orient” for its wide boulevards and magnificent French villas. Now crammed on these lovely boulevards are over 4 million motor scooters. It’s a sight to behold. The pedestrian has no right of way and taking a big risk dodging the traffic. Occasionally, you will find a traffic signal or a policeman so you can safely cross the busy streets. You are suppose to be 16 to operate a scooter but I swear some look 13, ladies riding with pumps, moms riding sleeping toddlers and 90 year old grandpas riding mama San.
Our 4 hr tour stopped at Notre Dame Cathedral, the post office that looks like a train station but never one, the city museum where we saw a water puppetry show, the former Presidential Palace where North Vietnam tanks crashed through the gates in April 1975 ending America’s involvement. It is now called the Reunification Hall.
Can you believe I endured this tour? I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Robbie and I had a plan. We had the bus drop us off downtown and we hot-footed it to a very popular restaurant. Normally, there is a long line but we were seated immediately. We had a noodle dish with vegetables, shrimp and fish, some chicken wings with hot chili sauce and to top it off—-steamed crab cracked table side by our waiter. The crab was served with a dish of black pepper, salt and fresh lime. You squeeze the lime juice over the mixture and dip the sweet, succulent crab meat. Mmmm Mmmm, a wonderful new taste that dazzled my taste buds. Total meal cost $17 each.