Day One: Arrived in Vietnam!
After arriving late last night we went to bed ready for action today. We went for the sightseeing balls out – I’m exhausted now!
We had an informative, fun, and busy day experiencing Ho Chi Minh City first hand. We booked a tour with our hostel and our tour guide, SD, was terrific. He has just the right mix of energy, positive spirit, appreciation for his country and understanding of our need to learn all that we can within the time we have with him. There is a great deal of history in Vietnam. From Chinese and French governance to the North and South war, and America’s involvement in the new Vietnam.
Today started with visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office. The Central Post Office, built in 1891, was designed by the architect of the Eiffel Tower. We entered the cathedral and said a prayer. Not something I’d normally do in England but it just felt good and apt at the start of this journey.
Our next stops were the History Museum and The Reunification Hall, In both places we were infused with history lessons that helped us more fully understand the country and the people. We learned why Ho Chi Minh is so loved by the people of Vietnam so much so that many of them change their names, reflecting their honor of him.
For lunch we had Pho, a delicious soup with sliced beef, rice noodles seasoned with basil, cilantro, scallions and spice – it was yummy! It felt good to be inside away from the oppressive sticky heat.
After lunch we visited a traditional medicine museum – apparently very few tourists are privileged to visit, not sure why… it was a beautiful, small home converted into a museum. It took them over three years to complete the individual rooms. It was filled with artefacts and original traditional medical “Policies and Procedures” none that have ever been QA’d I’m sure, except for the fact that for thousands of years it seems to be working very well by those that use it. I enjoyed visiting with the doctor who uses both, traditional and Western medicine.
Once we were done there we went to the local market to see what kind of deals we could negotiate. The local market to our hotel is large, smelly, very crowded, colorful and full of people who want to sell their wares. After I saw a rat scurrying under one of the vendor booths, I kinda became distracted looking for the doors that would lead me back to my hotel. If I go again, I’ll wear my trainers for sure. Dirty!
For dinner we enjoyed a variety of spring rolls, beef, salad and vegetable’s followed by refreshing fruit for dessert. Everything was tasty. Then back to the hotel to write this before going to bed. It was a good first full day but I feel exhausted now!