Friday, October 24, 2008

Rainy Friday

Friday, October 24th

The rain has returned. It rained all morning. Duong Ba (Hung's mom's cousin's husband) met us at our hotel this morning and took us on a tour of the Reunification Palace. He enjoyed trying out our camera and took pictures of us in every room. Here's one of us in the party room on the roof of the palace. Even though we had rain jackets, we were drenched by the time Duong Ba left us back at the hotel. Di Ba Phuong is out of town today. When she returns tonight they may take us out to dinner by the river.

We had lunch at the hotel because we didn't feel like going out into the rain again. After lunch the rain paused so we took a walk around the block. We noticed so much that we had just walked by without seeing yesterday. Saigon is truly sensory overload. Yesterday we were so busy taking in the traffic and street life that we didn't see any of the shops alongside it. Today we discovered a beautiful Chinese restaurant tucked down a garden passageway. It looks like a great place to go back for dim sum. We also found a travel agent just down the street and picked up some brochures on excursions to the Mekong Delta and Nga Trang. We didn't have our camera along for the walk so I'll put in a traffic photo from yesterday.

We were ready to fall asleep at 7pm again, but we stayed awake so Duong Ba and Di Ba Phuong could take us out to dinner at 8. Di Phuong commented that she would have never recognized Hung since this was the first time she had seen him since he was four years old (33 yrs ago).

The ground was wet and puddled, but the rain slowed to a sprinkle for our walk down to the river where we ate on a dinner cruise boat. We walked through the heart of downtown Saigon, where even on a rainy night the streets were filled with life. We had visited so long in our hotel that we missed the two bigger dinner boats and settled for the third, smaller one that hadn't departed yet. We had fun chatting with the relatives and taking in the entertainment on board. Singers sang American pop tunes with thick Vietnamese accents and a fire dancer in a sparkly bikini twirled and swallowed fire. Hung laughed and said, "typical Vietnamese".

After dinner we took our time walking back, stopping to take pictures of Uncle Ho's statue and the city hall. The streets around the Ben Thanh market were transformed into a series of open air seafood restaurants. All of them wanted us to stop in and eat, but of course we had already eaten. Groups of people were sitting on the sidewalks playing cards all along the streets.

Hey, look at us! We managed to stay awake until 10:30 tonight.


  1. Hey, tell Di Ba & Duong Ba that they look great--younger than ever! They must be impressed with your good VN pronunciation, Siiri!

  2. Hi Siiri--

    Great to see pictures of you and Hung and put a face with the name! Amazing how excited I am about the trip of people I've never actually met. I am hoping that your g&r will be scheduled soon and that you will be off to Ben Tre with Karin. In the meantime, it sounds like you are seeing lots of sights in Saigon--how great to have family to show you around!