Ao Dai: Traditional Vietnamese Dress
Ao Dai: Traditional Vietnamese Dress

Saigon or as it is now known Ho Chi Min City was our last stop in Vietnam. Six days in Saigon was not nearly enough: the food, the people, and the coffee.  Did you know that Vietnam is the second largest exporter of coffee in the world? Not only are they growing the beans, but also they are drinking it- the Vietnamese consume 8% of their coffee output, and believe me when I say coffee is everywhere is in Vietnam. In Saigon it was my heaven.  Everyday I left my hotel and made my way over to a street vendor for noodles and ice coffee with sweet condensed milk to go.

Noodle Breakfast
Noodle Breakfast
Razor Clams
Razor Clams

Saigon is huge and the districts sprawl over the city, each area distinct.  Motor scooter security and valet exists everywhere and you can feel the city modernizing.  It still retains beautiful old French colonial buildings and remnants of all that has happened there. Unlike Hanoi things are happening in Saigon, industry is arriving and Saigon is changing.

Cell phones on the street
Cell phones on the street
Traditional French Tiles
Traditional French Tiles
Vietnamese Street Graffiti
Vietnamese Street Graffiti

We were fortunate enough to find the amazing site withlocal, which enabled us to visit a family who lives in the outskirts of Saigon on a farm.  Our amazing guide-Phoung- led us through the markets introducing my husband and I to Vietnamese life. If you ever find your self in Saigon- look up Phoung and head over to her country house for the most delectable meal you will every eat.  Her generous and wonderful family cooked for us, introducing us to homemade rice wine (very delicious) and I only wish I could visit them once a week!

Preparing Chicken in the Kitchen
Preparing Chicken in the Kitchen
The Feast!
The Feast!
The Hot Pot with Fish at Phoung's
The Hot Pot with Fish at Phoung’s
stuffedfish
Stuffed fish about to be added to hot pot
Phoung's Lovely Family
Phoung’s Lovely Family
Fresh Coconut Chopping
Fresh Coconut Chopping
Home Made Rice Wine
Home Made Rice Wine

What did I take from the Vietnamese? The Vietnamese are deeply practical people. My favorite example is how they abandoned their traditional Chinese character for the Roman alphabet when the French invaded because it was easier and quicker to learn. Chinese characters are still used for religious doctrine, but few people can read them.  Also the Vietnamese are truly welcoming people.  As a tourist you will always be an outsider. In different countries this sense is felt more then others, but as a whole even though I stood out more in Vietnam then anywhere else I have ever been I have never felt so welcome. I loved Vietnam and only wish I didn’t have to leave.

Incense in the temples
Incense in the temples
Street Traffic
Street Traffic

 

Comments

comments

One thought on “Saigon: Vietnam’s mega city”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *