Went for breakfast after good night sleep, this time it was pho. With time I get used to eat, having for breakfast what we would have for lunch. Wanted to go to the tunnels today, my host didn’t book it (or she send me an email around 10:30pm if I still want to go, at that time I was sleeping already). No problem, decided to do the city tour on my own instead, especially as the weather forecast told a high probability for rain and therefore it should not get that hot. I learned again, do not trust the weather forecast, you will see later.
My host gave me a walking route, was close to the route lonely planet provides, so I did this. She ordered a grab taxi for me to bring me to the starting point, the war renmants museum (according to Google hardly 3 km or 38 min walk, but here it is so hot, she told me to save energy for the way home). Taxi was 30.000 dong and I walked out in front of the museum around 9:45am. You can see the history of the Vietnam war there, variuos tanks, helicopters, planes and other military stuff, together with the cruelties that happened (from agent orange to the treatment of prisoners of war). Quite interesting, but nothing for an empty stomach, some pictures were really hard to digest…
Went out, heard the obvious scams on the street (where are you going? Reunification palace. A, it’s closed currently, I bring you to a better place.. this I already know from Bangkok). Went to reunification palace, only looked at it from the outside (only a big building).. Had a short stop there in a shadow to consult lonely planet.and to get the new direction.
Walked for 10 minutes and arrived at Notre Dame cathedral. Most of the church is under renovation currently, so no going in, only taking pictures there. Directly beside the church is the old (french) post office of Saigon. Took pictures, was already around noon.
Walked South for nguyen hue street, the boulevard of Saigon. On the way there I passed the Vincon center, I noticed that it also a big (western mall). As it was quite hot (around 33 degree and no rain) I walked in. The nice thing with the malls is, that they are completely air-conditioned (yes, here I start to like that). I also had my credit card with me as I found on my first walk (after lunch with noel) at Saigon center a levis store and wanted to buy me some (a 501 is here around 60 euro). The signs at Vincon center were saying that they also have a store inside, so in to the coolness. Interesting thing is, that they have here outside the western malls always Christmas decorations, including snow white landscapes. And the Asian people stand sometimes in lines to take pictures in snow outfit (have seen exactly the same 8 years ago in Bangkok, learned that it is snowing currently in Vienna for real :-))
Inside the mall I went from floor to floor, first to the top up 3 escalators, then down again. They have here no floor plans in the malls ( was the same in Saigon mall), so you have to discover. They not only had 3 floors up, they also had min. 5 below ground level. On ground level minus 3 I found the levis store, only to find out that they have my size (34), but not my lenght (longest was 32, I would need 34). So they obviously have fat people like me, but they are small 🙂
Went some level further down as I expected food stalls and maybe a real supermarket (I still have to buy some coffee, I was told I will get it in every supermarket here). Saw a carly’s and stopped for lunch. Last time a saw this burger shop was on the us West coast, so I had to give it a try. Was really nice to have burgers, fries and onion rings, but still a big mistake. In the cool mall the burgers were really good, but coming out afterwards I noticed that the food was much to heavy for the high temperatures here. Walked from the mall to the city ball, took some pictures there.
Then just south the Nguyen hue to the harbour. Getting the last meters there was even for me after 2 weeks a challenge. A road with 4 lanes in each direction and no traffic lights. Managed it nonetheless, looked out at the river and saw a coffee shop. Ordered me a coffee and a cake (second cake in Vietnam) and sat down under a roof. Started to eat the cake and it started to rain. But not like in hoi an for days, here it is hard and heavy but lasts for 10 minutes and then it’s over.
Went after the rainbreak back over the challenging road and.headed for the bitexco tower. It’s the highest building in town with an observation deck on level 49. Quite expensive to go up (200.000 dong, around 8 euro) but you get a panoramic view over the city. Took some pictures, stayed always min. 2 meters away from the glass windows that went from floor to ceiling (i am afraid of the height, nonetheless I had till now here always rooms high up, currently I’m on 4th floor, the last hotels I had I stayed on 7th floor)
Went back to the boulevard, bought me a Vietnamese fan shirt for the evening and as it was already afternoon and incredible hot, I decided to go home and reached home after an about 25 minutes walk. Was completely sweated, my weather app told me that we had (around 3pm) 33 degree, feels like 38 (yes, it felt incredible hot). Took a shower and a short nap.
Dressed for the evening with my new Vietnam shirt and went out.
Was interesting how many locals start talking to you when you wear their shirt 🙂 Had 2 beer and walked home as the game started. On the 10 minute walk home Vietnam scored the 1:0. For the first time here I have seen streets with nearly no cars or bikes, also people that were sitting on the streets just looked into their mobiles, watching the live stream of the game. Arrived at my hostel, grabed a beer but my host told me I will not be able to see the game on (internet) tv as so many people are currently downloading the game. Told me I should take the beer and go to the coffee shop beside her hostel to watch it. Did that, again lots of people started talking to me (or at least they tried, most know only some words in English). Game was nice, no more goals so Vietnam beat Malaysia at home 1;0 (aggregate 3:2) and therefore won the south East Asian cup.
(This is a view on one of the main roads here, 3 Lanes in each direction and a separate bike lane on each side)
And then hell broke loose here (probably everywhere in Vietnam). Went immediately home, but even in my normally not so loud neighborhood it was a little bit tricky to find sleep….