We meet our guide Mr. A and set out of our hotel lobby on to one of the main avenues of Saigon.
You feel you are in any great modern city.
We pass by the State Bank
Now we head for the the Saigon River.
We arrive at a foot bridge across the river.
Mr. A tells us that this used to be a very bad neighborhood but that the government has cleaned things up so now it is a good place for families to come.
Mr. A has explained to us that the people of Saigon love to be out in the evening. It is a time for them to get cool air and to socialize. He has been to the U.S. and he finds that Americans are a very inward looking people compared to the Vietnamese.
There is a street vendor selling an interesting dish - a variety of ingredients on top of rice paper that is then grilled over an open fire then folded over like a quesadilla.
We go up the bridge and look around at the cityscape around us.
Now we walk to more of the real life areas.
Going through construction is to be expected.
We are doing much, much crossing of streets.
This is an act of faith or zen with the motorbikes and cars passing all around you with Mr. A the zen master.
We see one of the big major markets across a huge roundabout which we then cross.
We go through an area called the 'backpackers' area.
It is where the tourists looking for cheap lodging and entertainment come.
It reeks of tourism.
Mr. A tells me to keep my cell phone safe because their are motor bike thieves who will come by and snatch it from you, so I take no pictures.
But between all the super tourist restaurants, there is a place the serves food for the local workers
Out of this little kitchen
Comes the Pho from the area of Hue.
This is much different. The meat is chunkier. The broth slightly different. The noodles are thinner.
It is yummy.
We move up another broad avenue.
There are all kinds of things going on in the broad area between the streets.
There are a variety of dancing and exercise things going on.
Mr. A takes us for one more bit of street food - a special dish 'bot chien' that is a cake made from rice flour that is then fried and cooked with egg and scallions. It is served with a pickled vegetable in a chile sauce. I called it a savory French Toast. The first texture was weird but then it sort of grew and grew on you.
We get home very tired, enjoy a drink in our room.