Saigon or Ho Chi Minh, the latter the current name for largest city located in southern Vietnam. After spending a few days floating on the Mekong Delta it was a rush to be back in a big city, especially one rich with all sorts of delicious foods, temples and history.
First order of business, pho. No, not foe or foo or fa, you westerner – it’s pronounced fuh. I couldn’t wait to sit down at an ity bity tiny table on the street and have a steaming bowl of Pho. Even though it’s hot hot outside, nothing beats having a meal for under $2 that is delicious. Pho is the pb&j of the US, the steak frites of France, the taco combo platter of Mexico; Pho sho – it’s acceptable to consume for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Rice noodles, broth, strips of beef, bean sprouts, adorned with mint, cilantro and or basil and spritzed with a lime wedge – I like mine naked… no extra hoisin sauce, just twirl and let the taste do the rest, my mouth a happy camper.
Next, pray. Pray you don’t get side swiped by the millions of motorbikes buzzing through the city, at least that’s what I was praying for. I’m not sure what the many men and woman are praying for in the hundreds of temples all over the city, but they are more observant then most. Lured in by ornate reliefs, hundreds of turtles swimming at our feet – entranced by the interiors, the aura of prayer, the incense wafting. Celine and I meandered in and out of the temples noting differences and saying our own little prayers. Each temple unique and beautiful in it’s own respect, we however over-dosed after five or six.
Finally, a little hands on history at the Cu Chi tunnels. I randomly met up with the Israeli boys from Otres Beach, Cambodia. We were all headed about an hour outside of the city to the Cu Chi tunnel museum. The Cu Chi tunnels were hundreds of miles of tunnels used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. The museum is pretty cheesy, but it was a good way to learn a little more about the war and how the war was fought in the jungle. We joked around while climbing through the tunnels, recreated for supersized westerners to fit, but in all seriousness there was nothing funny about the reality the tunnels and booby traps that were used in the war. I squeezed my not so big ass into a trap door and realized quickly that I wouldn’t have made a good soldier.
A few quick days in the capital of Vietnam was all I needed before Celine and I hit the road once again. People have asked me if this trip is Eat, Pray, Love? Well, in Ho Chi Minh I did love praying and eating….