We had a very short visit to this city due to the long distance from the port at Phu My. The road was in terrible condition for a main road from a large port to the industrial centre and we seemed to be travelling at about 25 km/hr. Strangely enough our driver was pulled over by the police at one point for speeding. The officer may have simply seen an opportunity to make a little money, as apparently the instant fines usually see their way into the policemen’s pockets. Vietnam has a long way to go in terms of economic development. Saigon has not changed much since I saw it ten years ago. However, the old hotels have been completely renovated. Our bus let us off at the Rex Hotel (photo) which you may remember as the site of foreign press briefings during the Vietnam war, which the Vietnamese call the American war. I wandered around the old colonial city and got pictures of the Opera House, the Cathedral, the Post Office and the City Hall all in order below. I also went to a large downtown market but soon left as it was crowded with Saturday shoppers and the vendors were very aggressive and grabbed at you for your attention. I found some nice boutiques selling inexpensive silk clothing in the old town where the sales staff were much nicer. I took time for lunch and had a very good bowl of my favourite beef noodle soup called Pho which can be had in any Vietnamese restaurant in Canada. Then it was time to get back to the Rex Hotel for the bus back to the port. We are now in the steamy heat of the tropics and this weather will last for much of the rest of the trip. It does help to grow the beautiful gardens which you see in the last photo which shows the gardens in front of the Opera House. We are now off to Bangkok.
I promised a photo of our Tai Chi group in Kowloon Park. Here it is and I am in it though somewhat hidden.