Scotsabroad's Weblog

January 24, 2013

HCM (Saigon) Part 2

Filed under: Holidays — scotsabroad @ 8:39 am

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On our return to Saigon we stayed at the Continental Hotel.

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The Fine Arts Museum is a beautiful old mansion-house built for a wealthy Chinese family during Colonial times. Close to Ben Thanh Market it houses a small, but beautiful collection of art. The ceramics were stunning. The building also boasts the first elevator in Saigon. The building itself is magnificent.

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The Ben Thanh Market is a bit tacky but fun. I picked up some coffee beans that have been ingested (supposedly) and then crapped out of a weasel. I think this is the poor man’s equivalent of Kopi Luwak, coffee berries that pass through a civet cat. You could have bought squirrel flavour too. I think most of it is actually produced in Indonesia. I remember Jack Nicholson drinking it in the film, The Bucket List.  Strange aroma – don’t think I will ever be brave enough to drink it before I die.

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The Independence Palace was interesting. Cairo and I wondered if, when the VietCom tanks burst through the gates, they drove across the lawn – or respectfully swept round following the road? We found out later while looking at some photographs in the Museum of the Ho Chi Minh Campaign next to the zoo. You could picture helicopters landing on the roof of the palace transporting away officials, officers, soldiers and diplomats before Saigon fell. Underground bunkers still have massive radio equipment and a great line in pastel coloured telephones.

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We visited Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens one morning. Lovely big grounds dating from 1864. Lots of local people and school children enjoying the shade and traffic-free space. Beside the zoo is the Museum of History. Me and the boys came back in the afternoon to visit. Some beautiful statues and ceramics – and a tastefully lit linga.

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A trip to the Jade Emperor’s Pagoda (you’ve seen one…) after a birthday high-tea at the Caravelle Hotel. Amazing what you can pack into nine days. Love Vietnam.

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1 Comment »

  1. Just catching up with your adventures in the far east. I am just back from a week in the French Alps skiing. Lots of snow in Scotland and I must admit that the beach photos look great. It is always good to see what you and the family are up to, visiting interesting places, what an education for the boys. Forbes M

    Comment by Forbes M — January 24, 2013 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

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