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 would do quite a lot in search of unusual but good food. We cabbed to a charming house off the beaten track in rush hour and what was meant to be a 20-minute journey was doubled when the driver frustratingly decided that slow and indecisive driving gave more joy than grief to the world at large.
Thankfully, the food more than made up for it, though that would meant eating street food in rather unsanitary conditions and getting exactly what the locals eat. We tried it anyway, and paid a little later with stomachaches.