Saigon Day 2

Continued from Saigon Day 1.

Woke up at around 7:30am. Without a window to the room, there was no sun to give us a hint of time.

Breakfast included with our room.

Pho for breakfast!

I know better than to touch those with my hands. I threw 3 into the soup, and within a minute I had to take them out as they were making everything super hot. These peppers are crazy hot!

We’ve been saving up laundry, and we took them across our hotel to the laundry shop that does them by kilo. 3.5 kilos so 88,000 dong. About $4, not bad.

We decided to spend all day today just walking around the city and checking it whatever sights we walk by.

I think we are liking it here, better than our time in Cambodia. I just never felt I was able to relax in Cambodia. Maybe because in the back of my mind, I knew if I got really sick, I would probably get shitty medical care there.

Everyone drinking what I believe to be tea.

We loved this building.

Walked by Reunification Palace again. We decided not to go in to check out the inside, just because we didn’t think it’ll be too interesting.

Someone is having a crappy day.

They’ve got these nice urban parks in Saigon.

It’s Sunday, and apparently, it’s THE day for wedding photography in this area.

Saigon Notre Dame.

More wedding photography.

Inside. No offense, but not all that impressive.

As you can see, it’s really sunny out here and really hot. How can people wear pants and jackets?? I believe that’s the post office.

Let’s see where we shall go next…

How about let’s get out of this crazy humid heat(actually, Saigon is cooler than Cambodia and Thailand) and get into a coffee shop right across Notre Dame.

Vietnamese coffee. Love condensed milk. The AC feels amazing in here.

Back out into the heat.

Must be hot inside that suit and dress.

We found a grocery store inside a department store. In there, we finally found hair dye that RL’s been looking for. We decided to go with one Made in Taiwan. Let’s hope things work out…

Mobile kitchen.

Saigon Opera House.

KL points.

I look amazing.

This Vietnamese coffee shop chain is everywhere. It’s like the Starbucks of Vietnam. Must try it sometime.

I’ve never seen people walk up on those glass sidewalk covers before. Apparently they are very strong.

We found these hand painted Tin Tin art pieces at a shop. Ended up getting a few of them, which means now we’ll need to find a place to ship a package back to the US.

Pho 24, chain of Pho restaurants here. Must try as well.

Walked all the way to the river front. It’s not a very pretty river front.

Bitexco building, going to head here for observation deck.

Hi, we are here for the observation deck. Oh, we are in the wrong entrance.

It’s here instead.

Absolutely zero line. We were the only two in the elevator.

We are up somewhere on the 47th or 49th floor. Something like that. This is looking towards the direction of our hotel, it’s located to the left of that green park. Ugh, that’s a long walk back in the heat.

Wonder why there’s no development across the river.

Hmm, wonder what’s the back story on that.

OK, I think we are done. The AC feels nice, and the view is decent.

Back down, and there’s a motorcycle meet right outside the door.

Walked by Ben Thanh market again on the way back.

Stripped down an entire moped and cleaning every single part.

NOT Perfect. Sorry, NDT Perfect.

I think I’ll give Saigon the crown over Taiwan as having more mopeds.

Back close to our hotel, the backpackers area.

Our clothes getting air dried at the laundromat. We hope they don’t lose or destroy any of our clothes.

Tired from walking and heat, so we just found a corner restaurant by hotel to eat.

Even street vendors buy stuff from other street vendors. She just bought a coconut.

Apparently, RL still craves Mexican food.

All Vietnamese food for me!!

BP, don’t you live on La Casa?

We came back to our hotel room after our late lunch to stay away from the afternoon heat. There isn’t really too much to do over here in Saigon. Then we started digging deeper, and found that there’s a small swing dance scene here. Ohhh, gotta give that a try.

The swing dance location is kind of far. We finally got into a taxi to take us to the restaurant that hosts the swing dancers. Taxis in Saigon have a really bad reputation of ripping people off, but not this cabbie. We paid $2 to go by the meter, which is exactly what our front desk said we should expect to pay.

La Habana restaurant.

This is actually a pretty cool restaurant. It’s a Spanish restaurant and serves tapas.

Also has ping pong tournament on TV. This was fun to watch.

The food was all super good. I would say this is our best meal since Bangkok.

Oh no, I forgot to take photos of the pork skewers after this dish! Oh well.

After dinner, it was about time for swing dancing to start. We headed towards the back room.

The dance scene was pretty small. Only about maybe 10 people showed up. But, it was great to be able to dance, and to dance half way around the world! We also talked to one of the dance organizers(my dance partner in the photo above), and she gave us a link to many of the restaurants to try here in Saigon. Sweet!

RL didn’t get as many dances as me though as it was very follow heavy.

After dancing, we got into a taxi to take us back to our hotel. Right when we got into the taxi, I took a photo, to which the taxi driver said, “No photos.” That was strange. Then when we tracked his route on our GPS(we do this for all taxi rides), he was taking the long way. Then the final straw was we noticed the meter running up about 3 times faster than our other taxi. Fuck, we’ve been had. We got into one of those taxis with a doctored meter. Asshole!!!

By this time, RL had blown a fuse and we demanded the asshole driver to drop us off immediate at the curb. We told him that he was over charging us and that his meter is wrong. We only paid $2 for the ride here, and he’s already run up $2, and we’ve only traveled a third of the distance. Then we realized that he is not the same person as the photo in the taxi license on the dash! He’s about 50 pounds lighter than the person in the photo!!

I wanted to just pay him the 39,000 dong that it says on the scam meter, and cut our losses. Well, I hand the taxi driver a 200,000 dong bill to get change. Then he tries to pretend the meter states 390,000 and not 39,000. Motherfucker, now we are all yelling inside the taxi. RL is seeing red mist. She’s yelling at him and calling him a thief. This whole time, our taxi driver acts exasperated, and that he doesn’t understand what we are saying, etc. Asshole. Eventually he gives in and gives me back 160,000 in change, to which I demand the last 1000(it’s like a nickle). He says he doesn’t have change, then I get into it with him on principle(In retrospect, probably should have just listened to RL and walked out without paying). This whole time, RL was livid and yelled at him nonstop!!(Yeah, you go wife!) Finally, we settled on 35,000 dong, so, about $1.66 for the taxi ride, that really didn’t get us any closer to home.

I expected to be cheated like this in Asia from time to time, so I was only moderately irate. RL on the other hand was all up in arms. She was so angry that the only way to calm down was to walk all the way home. So, we walked 20 minutes home, in anger. We had to carry back a just bought 5 L jug of water as well. Sigh.

Saigon, we almost had a completely great day today. Too bad we ended on such a sour note due to one of your cheating asshole taxi drivers.

To be continued at Saigon Day 3.

3 thoughts on “Saigon Day 2

  1. Love the pix! Especially all the mangosteen. Is eat that by the kilo back in the day. Really reminds me of my trip in 2010.
    Yeah those taxi are shady. Even to Vietnamese tourists…maybe more so.
    Brave enough to ride on the back of a moped??
    Make sure to go inside Cho Benh Thanh. Lots of good eateries there.

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