We went to Hanoi earlier in the year over Chinese New Year and did the city scene and a cruise on Halong Bay. Now, we are checking out Saigon on a long Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival weekend. Not only is it extremely inexpensive by most standards for hotel, food, etc. but very easy for English speakers. We love it!
We enjoy getting lost and exploring the culture in Saigon. Around every corner, you never know what to expect so we try to just wander a new street every time we go out.
This morning we saw people squatting on their little plastic stools that are everywhere here on the sidewalks around teeny tiny tables, enjoying their Pho for breakfast. Everything is done on the sidewalks here-eating, shopping, sleeping, gambling–you name it. The apartments are probably very small and without full kitchens so most meals are eaten with friends and family at these sidewalk kitchens. Fruit is sold everywhere with the favored form of transportation big baskets balanced with a pole over the shoulders of sturdy women working hard to sell peaches, oranges, coconuts, etc. I saw one woman today cooking waffles on a small burner on one side of her basket with the finished product in the basket on the other side of the pole. Crazy!
While Thom takes much better pictures than me with his super cool camera, I have enjoyed capturing the uniquely Vietnam street scenes with my Nokia phone camera which shoots great pics and videos. As the rain once again pours down in the afternoon, a daily occurrence, Thom and I are listening to top 40 hits at the Coffee Bean and enjoying our coffees while we wait out the rain.
Coffee shops are EVERYWHERE. While Starbucks doesn’t dominate on every street corner, there are Costa, Coffee Bean, etc. as well as the local Vietnam chains. For a tropical climate, the coffee culture is strong here. I’m guessing the balance of sales is heavy on iced coffee products but it also looks like espresso is huge. Sitting here enjoying our Americano, we could be in NYC or Seattle but the minutes we step outside and are assaulted with the scooter traffic and people living their lives on the sidewalks, we know we are in Asia.