Archive for 31st December 2014

Archive

The Cu Chi Stronghold

Scratch lightly beneath the slick veneer of modernity here and the old way of life that clings to the dusty side streets in the form of weathered women still wearing the Non La (the leaf hat) and hawking her wares emerges. Yet as much as Saigon powers towards the future, being in the heart of District 1 can be a harrowing time and a last-minute booking on Viator to the Cu Chi tunnels made sure that we had a day away from the madness here. As far as it typically goes with many of my travel plans, the day was off to an inauspicious start when a sweating and harried-looking Les Rives Experience representative arrived at the hotel a...

Food, glorious food

It’s hard to get over what Ho Chi Minh is really today; I use its old name as much as as I do its ‘modern’ one and maybe that encapsulates what this place is really about. Crossing the road is the experience that I’d go as far as to say metaphorises Ho Chi Minh – hesitate and get caught in an interminable flow of traffic that will not stop; go slowly but surely forward and you’ll get to your destination much sooner than you think. The obsession with Vietnamese food continued well into the third day and searching out Cục Gạch Quán was an inspired decision, which, to my horror, proved that we...

The Saigon Miracle

The heat is on in Saigon. After a confusing and unintelligible one-sided conversation with a taxi driver who stopped abruptly at the side of the road to exchange vehicles with another taxi driver, we made it (relatively safely) to the hotel. But I think the true miracle lies in not merely observing the chaotic traffic but walking in it. In a city of 10 million people and 7 motorbikes, crossing the road and coming out alive seemed to be a miracle each time. A short day and a half later, I’m truly thankful – as 2014 comes to a close and as far as ‘self-reflection’ is supposed to go – for limbs...