Hitting the streets in HCM City
Trip Start Sep 27, 2009
5Trip End Oct 10, 2009
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Where I stayed
Rex Hotel, Old Quarter
Instantly traffic, street side vendors and cyclo riders descended and through us head long into the Saigon experience.
Wandering the streets doing some standard tourist stops like Notre Dame and the central post office, stopping for kurb side drinks on tiny plastic seats, we decided to check out the Reunification Hall.
Truly amazing. The history was there of course, the map rooms the command centre, the Helicopter pad where generals fled just before the gates were stormed.
What we didn't count on was the palace itself. Incredible modernist design, each floor had a series of rooms, from the presidential lounge, to the vice presidential lounge, the first lady’s lounge… to the to die for 60’s decor gaming room, complete with bar straight out of Mad Men.
And the design, an architecture freak's must see! The vertically louvered widows behind the sculptured formed concrete columns, providing shade whilst allowing cross ventilation through the whole palace, (and we like to claim it’s a new 'green’ design concept).
After all this and dead on our feet, back the hotel for the second, or is it third shower of the day, before the sky itself opens up for the after noon deluge. We head out for a meal between showers, dodging scooters and the large wet drops at the same time, before returning for long tall ‘Tom Collins’ cocktails (Gin, Fresh Lemon Juice and sugar syrup) on the roof top bar (infamous for being the strong hold of Australian journos during the war).
Day two and market shopping, haggling skills getting slightly better, (new bag, hat, sandals and shorts later). Lunch at Pho 24 before returning to hotel for foot massage indulgence. Mmmm.
Tonight I think we will try some bars here in the old quarter, and maybe some more Tom Collins’.
PS: having trouble loading images...small bandwidth, will try again next stop.