Wednesday, July 21, 2010
We went to Saigon over the weekend. There was a group of five of us. We learned from the tour guide that the city is separated into many districts. The city is officially called Ho Chi Minh City and District 1 is officially called Saigon; however, many of the local people still call the city Saigon. We saw several sites with Buffalo Tours. Around the city we saw the palace where the former president of south Vietnam lived before 1975, the War Remnants Museum, the Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, a laquerware company, and had lunch at a local Vietnamese outdoor restaurant/food stall. Lunch was really good and not in a touristy area, so we got to see lots of locals. After the tour guide dropped us off at the hotel, we walked around the city on our own and saw the Opera House, a water puppet show and several other things we didn't necessarily intend to see. We were looking for a restaurant from the Lonely Planet guidebook. We were at the correct place on the map but it didn't seem to be there. So we ended up on a long hike to look for a restaurant where everyone felt comfortable eating. We found a tourist area and ate at a restaurant that had food from central Vietnam. The food was delicious of course. There has hardly been anything here that we don't like.
Sooo... what I really wanted to update was crossing the street. Due to the above mentioned hike (and it was a hike... we might as well have been in the Himalayas as far as I was concerned... I swear there are no even surfaces in Vietnam), we had to cross the street many times, including large streets and roundabouts. Since I am still here to tell about it, we were successful. The chef from our cooking class (more about that later) gave some advice. He said not to hesitate, stop, or take a step back. Once you are out there you have to keep moving. The motorbikes predict where you are going and they go around you. If you make an unexpected step you can cause an accident. One time I had to push one of our group members out into the street because she hesitated as we started out to cross. Had to be done otherwise we would have fallen over her if we had all kept moving.
I'm feeling much more confident about crossing the street now. I think I could do it by myself out here in Thuan An if I had to, not sure about Saigon though. I think I still would want someone with me to have another opinion to fall back on as to when to actually step out into the street.
Have lots of pics of Saigon but haven't had time to upload. We are having problems with internet connections. There was a big storm and I guess the room where they keep all that stuff leaked and everything got wet. So who knows when we will have internet again. I can only get it at the school but I'm mostly working when I'm here. This is a government school and we aren't allowed to get FB on their wi-fi. So, will be on the internet when I can.
Posted by Helen Z at 11:43 PM