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Mark's World Tour 2007-08

Day 147: Hello Uncle Ho!

CAMBODIA | Monday, 31 March 2008 | Views [715]

A bust of Ho Chi Minh, Reunification Palace, Saigon

A bust of Ho Chi Minh, Reunification Palace, Saigon

Monday 31st March

It was almost noon by the time we got out of the guesthouse. I had become accustomed to air-con in the room and having to make do with the fan meant that the night had been warmer than usual and hence less sleep for me. We moved our bags into our new A/C room and had a long breakfast, the price of which was included in the price of the room. The hours seemed to pass quickly, and by the time we got to the market we were hungry and again, so we stopped for some lunch. We ate at a place that served pho (noodle soup), the national dish of Vietnam and one that is eaten by most Vietnamese at least once a day. I didn't like mine much at all as it was very fragrant, and just didn't taste as good as the noodle soup I had had elsewhere in Asia.

After another long and lazy meal, we visited the Reunification Palace, built in 1966 by the South Vietnamese government, and which was overtaken by North Vietnamese 'liberation' troops on 30th April 1975. It has been left in the same state as it was found on that day (well, it was probably given a bit of a clean-up after the tanks went in), and serves as a reminder of Vietnams past before the commies took over. It was very interesting, not least to get a clearer picture of the recent history of the country and the war that it is probably most famous for in the wider world.

We spent about two hours there before we left to be met by the Monday evening rush hour, and the sight of thousands of motorbikes making their way through the streets of Saigon. As we walked along the pavement, bikes came up behind us and pulled around corners, their drivers not wanting to take the road like everyone else. The sight and sound and movement made them seem like a swarm of bees (albeit large ones with Vietnamese faces), coming out of nowhere, and from which nobody was safe!

After walking around a few too many blocks looking for somewhere to eat, we finally decided on pizza at a place called Sarporino's (a chain which apparently started in Vancouver), and it turned out to be just what we were looking for. The couple of hours at the Palace had tired us out, so we walked back to the gueshouse, watched 'The Sopranos' and got some sleep.


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