As the navigator in charge of map duties today, I promptly got us lost on our first full day in Saigon. Lucky us, we managed to stumble into a cool art gallery open house complete with artists giving interviews and free wine. SCORE! The paintings were very diverse from the Vietnam water buffalo to striking portraits and colorful murals. I love these type of unexpected surprises when out travelling in new cities.
While we were the only expats in the place, everyone just smiled at us and let us admire the art at our leisure. Rounding a corner where one store had 12 feet of nothing but mooncakes for sale, we found a local market where Saturday shopping was in full swing. This wasn’t the tourist t-shirt market.
The stalls sold veggies, fruits-lots of coconuts ready to be capped and a straw inserted to drink the water-as well as very unrefrigerated meat just hanging out with the flies. YUM! Maybe there was so much hard liquor for sale as well to chase down and kill all the germs from eating the street meet. My Gma Hannah believed in the medicinal properties of Jack Daniels–one shot is a cure for what ails you. Quick and effective home remedy!
At the market, you could stock up on most of the basic needs–a fan, socks, undies and most grocery items with lots of USA branded snacks available as well. The scooters, of course, kept us on our toes as we took photos and browsed. Though there seem to be less scooters on the sidewalks than in Shanghai, in general the scooters dominate all streets. As we crossed a busy intersection, Thom yelled, “I’m going. Follow at your own risk” BAM–He boldly stepped in front of and between the barrage of traffic to get to the other side. He is fearless and perhaps a wee bit stupid as well, all good traits to have to navigate here.
A couple beside me laughed and I commented that Thom was from NYC and could navigate almost any busy street without dying. Turns out, the Australian couple I talked to were going to Shanghai next so we traded China best practices (don’t buy street or PC Mall electronics, buy pearls from Sarah’s Pearls at AP Market) and they encouraged us to see Melbourne soon. Australians are such friendly mates! I can’t wait to check out their country.
As we found our way back to the hotel for pool time, we realized that the shop we had gotten lost looking for was very close by but, had we not got lost, we would have had a very dull morning. Getting lost is our way of soaking in the local culture and discovering new and exciting places. May we always enjoy the journey and, with me navigating our adventures, we will surely always get lost along the way.