All I cared about was getting to the airport on time with my passport safely tucked in my Ipanema travel bag. And the rest as they say is history. Everything else had been taken care of by the group. Though this time was slightly different; I had 2 of my business partners in tow. Note to self – always check on them and make sure I don’t leave them behind.
Landed smoothly in HCM airport. Hoped straight onto the bus that was already waiting to take us into the city of Ho Chin Minh (HCM). First a pit stop; Notre Dame Cathedral which was built back in 1877 with the aim of being officially a spiritual and cultural representation of the French presence in the orient. Along side was the old Post office which is remarkable with the french influence architecture, also located on The Paris Commune square in Ho Chi Minh centre. Of course we didn’t miss out on the photo-taking opportunities. We may have over done it a little too! hehehe…
Lunch was at D’Nyonya still in District 1, a quaint Halal dining with local and Asian delicacies on the menu. As usual, the minute we all sat down; streams of dishes started piling on our table. Safe to say we probably tried everything they had on the menu!
A satisfied tummy calls for bed rest! So off we went to check in to our hotel. The lovely five star Equatorial, located in District 5. We were nicely greeted with by far the best virgin pina colada ever! I didn’t have any qualms about taking a second helping. Next thing I knew we were already up in our spacious Premier room. I always love bathrooms with big glass screen overlooking the bed and tv. Makes you feel like your multitasking even in the bath.
Before you know it, it was already time for dinner. We were taken to Nha Do Restaurant. Essentially its a seafood restaurant serving from fresh lobsters to seafood omelettes but all I can remember was the black sticky rice with yam ice cream they served as deserts. Needless to say, we really needed to walk of the extra kilos just from the first day.
So off we went galavanting into the streets of HCM in the wee hours of the night; where we got our first taste of adventure. Crossing the road! It was sheer madness I tell you. Rationale will tell you to just take a cab. It looked absolutely impossible to cross even with the zebra crossing lines and traffic lights; which incidentally don’t mean anything there! So we followed the backside of 2 old Vietnamese ladies whom nonchalantly walked across without even a blink to see the motorists. Low and behold; the motorists just stopped to let us through, while others manoeuvred they vehicles around us to give way, despite it being peek-hour traffic all night long. I’m so glad I survived to tell the story. in short, you’re better of crossing the road with your eyes closed and still survive.
We stopped at Nguyen Trong, which claims they have the No. 1 Vietnamese Coffee. After 2 no. 8’s and 4 cakes… I have to agree! Admittedly, I was a Vietnamese coffee newbie. Couldn’t figure out how to drink as it came with a glass of ice coupled with a coffee cup being sifted with an aluminium jug of some sort. The very kind yet giggly barista helped me through this process.
If you’re planning a trip to Ho Chin Minh and need some advise, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment. I’d be happy to share my experiences.