I spent 3 days in Saigon. I liked the city a lot and it was cool to stay in Charles’ apartment instead of some hotel or hostel.
I did some touristy stuff. I went to the Reunification Palace which I remembered from war movies – you know that footage where a helicopter is on top of the building and it’s overrun with people trying to get out. When this place got taken over by the North, it marked the end of the war – the Fall of Saigon. Visiting it was pretty boring though.
I went on an organized tour to visit the Cu Chi tunnels (yeah, “coochie”). The idea of this large network of tunnels underground that the Vietcong used for living in and for attacking the Americans is pretty awesome, but I didn’t get a whole lot out of visiting them. Plus there was a really annoying American guy in my tour group who thought he was really interesting and had a question about everything, like he spoke for the group. And his wrist was stacked with bracelets – very free-flowing, wannabe, Southeast Asia tourist. The booby traps were cool though.
I think the best tourist thing I did in Saigon was to visit the War Remnants Museum. I already wrote about it in the Aftermath of Agent Orange post, but it was really eye-opening to see photos of the war – some really gruesome ones I’d never seen before. Did you know that three Americans burned themselves in protest of the war?
I needed a shave so Charles brought me to this massage place because he and his friend wanted to get facials there. I wish I had had the courage to take a photo of this place. It was packed with beautiful Vietnamese girls wearing bright-red skimpy dresses and looking bored. Their boobs were busting out, and I felt nervous walking in. I felt my heart beating faster. While Charles and his friend got worked on by these girls, I was assigned a guy to shave my face.
On Valentine’s Day (it’s celebrated in Vietnam too), I went out with Charles and his friends to a club named Lush. We got a plush table with bottle service. Totally not my style but I guess you have to be a little showy in Saigon. I noticed a lot of older white guys there with young Vietnamese girls. That’s pretty cool.
Yeah, I know this photo sucks.
In between my meals at KFC and Pizza Hut, I went to some authentic places to eat.
We had some chicken wings and this crepe with shrimp, egg, and sprouts. French influence with a lot of Vietnamese modification?
Charles’ apartment where I spent some time recovering and eating.
Zip-locked napkins from the delivery place. Now I wouldn’t dream of using a napkin that didn’t have an airtight seal.
The view of Saigon from Charles’ apartment.