Trip Start Oct 23, 2011
22Trip End Nov 12, 2011
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The next morning we flew back to Saigon for one more night and for Mary, Jean and I one more day of exploring as our flight home did not leave until midnight the next night. A few goodbyes at dinner and again at breakfast to those who leave early in the day and then we are off again our last day of heat and humidity, wild and crazy traffic and the noisy chaos that is Saigon.
Ellen volunteered to be our tour guide for the day; armed with a Lonely Planet guide she outlined a circle route through a very nice section of Saigon that included the fancy hotels, the Rex and Caravelle. We had eaten at the Rex on our visit to Saigon but I did not bring my camera, will I ever learn? The rooftop bar/restaurant has a commanding view of Saigon and it is stunning at night. I had to go back up and at least take photos of it during the day; it is a beautiful space far from the street-level noise and chaos. Here, in the neighborhood of the Sheraton and Intercontinental Hotels is also where you find the high-end shopping with familiar names like Gucci, Prada, Rolex etc. etc.
From the Rex we head toward the Hotel de Ville, a beautiful French colonial building that is now the People's Committee Hall and no longer open to the public, on toward the post office another gorgeous building and Notre Dame Cathedral, the Saigon version.
Hot and tired we needed energizing so stopped at a small café for a quick cold drink. Streetside the tables were full but as is often the case we were led inside and up three narrow flights of stairs to the rooftop for dining or drinking in our case. Their specialty was fresh fruit drinks, quite refreshing and nice to be out of the sun for a bit.
Doubling back along another street we passed the Reunification Palace, closed until 1 p.m. so rather than wait we continued on our way ending up at the Zoom Café for lunch.
We had kept our room for another day to have a place to clean up for dinner and the long flights ahead so, after our day of touring, we went back to the hotel and did just that. Greg was spending another day in town and we arranged for him to take our room when we left for the airport. He joined Ellen, Patti, Mary, Jean, Jane and I for our last dinner in Vietnam. We tried to find a little restaurant that took in street kids and trained them in restaurant work but we could not find it, even with the help of an Ipad and Google maps. Oh well, there were lots of restaurants and we selected a beautiful place with indoor pools, lots of plants a very calming atmosphere and delicious food, a great last meal in Vietnam. A walk through town to the hotel and then airport shuttle time, more goodbyes and we were off.