Archive | 11:18 pm

The Crazy Cyclo

28 Dec

After the Water Puppet performance, we took the Cyclo City Tour. Man! The ride was crazy and scary. There seemed to be no traffic rules for this mode of transportation.

Our entourage ran past red lights, went head-on with oncoming traffic especially at the roundabout and junctions, and constantly millimeters away–not inches mind you–from another vehicle, be it a car or a motorbike. And when the buses approached, oh man… I’d cringe and will the guy to peddle faster.

Half the time I was either curling my toes or straightening my legs as if stepping on the brakes! Despite the seemingly reckless traffic maneuvering, there was no contact or accidents. Phew… Like I said previously, it’s controlled chaos.

And the traffic noise. My goodness… it made me realized the eight years I have been driving my current car, I can count the number of times I have used the horn of my car – less than my two hands put together. But these people in Vietnam… they use the horn as frequently as possible, probably more than the signals.

The ride took us from the theatre through the city, passing many of the sights covered two days ago and it was interesting to see them at this street level situation instead of from inside a van or standing at street level. It’s a different experience.

But at one point, we had to get off the Cyclo and walked alongside traffic because the uphill bridge was too much of a weight to handle. Once we hit the top, we climbed back on and the downhill ride was a breeze.

We survived the hour long ride and headed for the river cruise with dinner on board. By then an appetite was worked up.

 

We each had our own Cyclo

  
    
  

No gridlock can stop the Cyclo!

  
  

Had to get down and walk on the bridge

 

The Puppet Show

28 Dec

Our van came at 4.30pm as scheduled and we made our way to the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre for the performance. And I must say it was quite entertaining and hilarious despite not understanding what they were talking about. 

The movements of the puppets were as if they were on a high, jerky and unexpected, and had us all in stitches. And the accompanying vocals, sometimes bordering on pitch high hysteria was very comical.

Very entertaining indeed and one should consider this in their itinerary when visiting Ho Chi Minh City.

   
    
    
   

After Ben Thanh

28 Dec

The air con at Takashimaya was very refreshing and we were reenergized so the mall rat in us explored the place a little bit. Although we felt that purchases from outside were better, hubby did buy a pair of Doc Marten’s which were 60% off.

We went back to Saigon Square soon after and felt more comfortable there compared to Ben Thanh Market. I think the reason for this preference is that the vendors are not too pushy and the lanes between the stalls are wider, easier to navigate without being pushed from behind. Plus it’s cooler with air conditioning. We bought some fancy soap this time.

By then it was slightly after two and we stopped by the Street Food Market again for a late lunch. We had two bowls of Pho, a spicy noodle and a rack of ribs, something different from this morning’s Bahn Mi, Sticky Rice with Mango and dessert, eaten here too.

Sated we went back to the hotel to rest and be fresh again by 4.30pm. Such fun we are having!

 

I’m gonna love smelling like grapes!

  

Pho with shrimp

  

Spicy beef noodle

  

BBQ ribs

  

Sticky rice and mango

  

Mung bean dessert

 

Ben Thanh Market

28 Dec

Ben Thanh Market is a very vibrant place but I find the vendors there very aggressive and intimidating to a certain degree. It’s very crowded and competitive. One cannot simply make any eye contact with them. The minute they see you looking at them, they latch onto you,  that’s it!

One should not also touch any products on display if you have no intention of buying. They think you want to buy and they latch onto you, that’s it!

But buying is also a skill. You must not show interest otherwise you won’t get a good deal. We did not buy anything this morning from the market. And honestly I find haggling too much, it’s not in me.

After a while, we left and headed to Saigon Center for some cool air.

 

Fancy some fresh seafood?

  

Maybe veges instead?

  

How about frogs?

  

I think seafood would be good

  

Crabs looking crabby, all lined up

  

Peeled crabmeat

    
 

Taking It Even Easier

28 Dec

Today we slept in as there’s nothing planned for the morning. I thought it’s nice to give the girls and ourselves a break from eating and waking up early.

Did I sleep well? No because after the Temple Club disappointment, we went to a cafe and drank coffee. So that kept us up! And just when I was falling into deep sleep, the air con in our room started making loud squeaking noises. Haish…

The plan later is to have brunch and then explore Ben Thanh market and the surrounding area nearby our hotel. It will be only 4.30pm that our itinerary for today kicks in.

Affogato

Temple Club

28 Dec

Upon the suggestion of a friend, we opted to go to Temple Club for dinner over Pho 2000, famed for its Bill Clinton visit.

When we told the girls, M2 was like “Huh?! Is it a temple or a club?” Hahaha… sometimes I forget the baby of the family is still a baby.

It was a nice walk to the restaurant because the weather was cool. On our way, we passed the night street market and made an impromptu purchase. Braving to cross the busy streets and junctions, we soon found the place. 

The ambience was pretty cozy. We did not make any reservations so we had wait but only for a short while before we were seated.

However for such a fancy place, our table was pretty warm and there were no cloth napkins. When we asked about the heat, the waiter said the air con was not working! Huh?! How is this even possible? As for the napkins, he brought out one piece for the four of us and told us they ran out of clean ones! Unbelievable. 

Hubby had checked TripAdvisor and Travel&Leisure prior to making the decision to come here and both rated this place well. Contrary to this and the raves from our friend, our experience was a big let down. Certainly not what we expected.

The waiter did turn on the fan and brought out some paper napkins but mood was marred by then. The food somewhat made up for the situation but the ambience and service certainly was a disappointment.

One certainly would call if reservations are required but to ask whether the air-conditioning works, nobody does that. They need to work on their service and attitude to be better. We wouldn’t go back again nor would we recommend despite the good food if they don’t improve.

   
  

The drink choices

  

Mango salad

  

Temple Club platter

  

Sauteed squid with white pepper

  

Duck in orange sauce

  

Grilled fish