Vietnam 2014 - Day 5

                                                      March 02, 2014:  Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam    94 - Sunny

                                                                       Journey Day    01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 HOME 

                                                    4TB.  Even if your camera is equipped with a 4 terabyte flash card, it could not capture all the images of this city
                                                    in constant motion.  Started the day with two routes – One going on a walk to Ben Thanh market and the other with
                                                   an escorted local chef tour.

                                                    Walking to the market was filled with streets of early start of day life – workers, security, guardsmen, and everyone
                                                    in general it seemed was having sit down noodle broth meals for breakfast.  Guess Denny’s restaurants would have
                                                    to add “Grand Slam Pho” if opening here. 

                                                    An official sight of Sai Gon is the plastic 18” high stool – used to “squat sit” everywhere.  Easy to stack and easy to
                                                    unstack for more customers.  During the walk, encountered an unknown parade full of horns, cymbals, and other
                                                    objects to make loud bashing sounds.    

                                                    The market built in the early 1900s by the French is mostly tourist textiles in the front section and real meats and
                                                    spices in the rear.  Encountered someone from the same home address learning about the market from a local
                                                    Chef which was the precursor to a cooking class.

                                                    After the sensory overload, and olfactory overload, time for photo session and hopefully “shoot from the hip”
                                                    local faces and life sample.   Down from the market is the
Reunification Palace.  The rear entry with large park is
                                                    for locals only.  For some reason, guess my appearance didn’t have the local flavor.  Security officer gave very
                                                    direct instructions to use the ticketed front entry.

                                                    Stopped at the park across from the Palace and watched the constant flow of tour buses with tourist taking pictures
                                                    next to the tanks parked up front.  Not sure if one was the original ‘crashing the front gate’ tank in Southern
                                                    Vietnamese history; however, the 1960s styled building does have it’s full share of diplomatic challenges.

                                                    Next few stops included the assortment of French inspired architecture, including hotels,
Gustave Effiel’s post
                                                    office (more known for his Parisian tower), city hall, and music hall.  Without the French designs of parks,
                                                    boulevards, and stylish buildings, it may have been a large city of just dwellings.

                                                    Architecture here is doing a 180 degree turn from French roots.  Eclectic glass towers are going up everywhere,
                                                    including the Texco tower with large saucer extending from its peak for viewing.  Accros the Sai Gon river is a
                                                    ‘blank canvas’ of an island with drawn plans to be a
new city center.  Call it Shanghai II.
                                                    Walking around the inner city included many, many offers to shine my shoes.  Wonder what would happen if
                                                    footware is changed to sandals tomorrow?   Offers for pedicure?  Most of these ‘small scaled entrepreneurs’
                                                    would cease after a couple of “No’s”.  A few motorcycle ride offers can along, too.       

                                                    Speaking of motorcycles again – How do you transport construction supplies?  Easy.  Just put a ladder perpendicular
                                                    across the handle bars and then one stacks scaffolding on top.  Had to be seen to believe.  How many bushels of
                                                    vegetables can be stacked on the back?  Counted nine as the maximum before “wheelie syndrome” starts.  How
                                                    many family members can ride one motorcycle?  Counted six at most.  Amazing how many the handlebars can hold.

                                                    Returned back to the hotel to enjoy afternoon pool time – on the roof overlooking both the river and city.  Very
                                                    popular option for many guests   German, Korean, Aussies, Tokyoites (spike colored hair gives it away – women, too),
                                                    Brits, Hong Kong crowd with bright pink polka dot swimwear, and some very verbose Chicagoans were all seeking
                                                    heat relief.  Looming over the pool was a new building working on floor number 35.  Seems Sunday is not an
                                                    applicable off-day.  Also, wonder if they can hear the country music being played at the pool?   Nin hao Pod’nuh! 

                                                    Looks like it could be water puppet theater tonight or another walk around the lights, sounds, and breeze of
                                                    Sai Gon evening.  (Ended up being none of the above - sleep drove the choice)

                                                    Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City
                                                    Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City         
                                                    Ho Chi Minh City - Post Office Ho Chi Minh City - Post Office Ho Chi Minh City - Post Office
                                                    Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City 
                                                    Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City
                                                    Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City
                                                    Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City - Saigon River
                                                    Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City
                                                    Ho Chi Minh City  Ho Chi Minh City  Ho Chi Minh City
                                                    Ho Chi Minh City  Ho Chi Minh City   Ho Chi Minh City  Ho Chi Minh City - Market    
                                                    Ho Chi Minh City  Ho Chi Minh City                                         

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