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Old 10th November 2019, 03:32 PM   #16
yflyer
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In the evening, we visited Ho Chi Minh Square...





...a large public space flanked by Ho Chi Minh City Hall at one end...



...and the famous Rex Hotel on one side.



This was a busy area, with lots of shops and eateries still open late into the evening.



And not far off, the Opera House, a smaller scale version of the Paris Opera...


Last edited by yflyer; 10th November 2019 at 10:53 PM..
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Old 10th November 2019, 03:44 PM   #17
yflyer
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Tourist attractions aside, we also took the time to walk around the city on our own, just to get a sense of the place...



The streets of Saigon were very lively...



Crossing the street was something of an art that had to be mastered, even at designated crossings...



And how about crossing the street at places other than traffic lights? Forget about it! No chance for anyone who is not a local to do this safely!

Along the streets, it was common to see people on small plastic tools having a snack or a drink with friends, chatting and passing time...



This was also a green city...



...with many lush public parks...



We walked from the Fusion Suites to the nearest local supermarket, which was about a 15 minute walk away...



When travelling to a foreign country, it was always interesting to visit a local supermarket, to see what people bought and ate...



Some brands were familiar, others not so much...



Some of the fresh meat and seafood available were quite eye-opening, including some items, such as silkworms ("Nhong") which didn't quite fit either category...


Last edited by yflyer; 10th November 2019 at 04:23 PM..
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Old 10th November 2019, 04:00 PM   #18
yflyer
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It was also safe enough in the city to head out for walks in the evening.



Everywhere we went, there was this juxtaposition of old and new...



There was a lively street scene...





...and something of an outdoor cafe culture as well...



...although these days it may be less about people watching than staring at your smartphone screen...

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Old 10th November 2019, 04:11 PM   #19
yflyer
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Saigon has its modern side...



From skyscrapers...



...to multi-lane highways...



...and gleaming office towers and malls...



We spent some time exploring one of these malls, Saigon Centre...



...which had a large Takashimaya Department Store.



While items on sale at Ben Thanh market were a steal by Singapore standards, international goods and brands on sale at Takashimaya and at outlets inside Saigon Centre were more expensive than the same products sold in Singapore, typically 15-25% more costly. I wondered who could afford to buy these branded goods there. I certainly wouldn't have paid those prices for that merchandise!

There was also a gourmet supermarket in the basement of Saigon Centre, where a very nice selection of fine foods and fresh produce from all over the world could be found.


Last edited by yflyer; 10th November 2019 at 04:24 PM..
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Old 10th November 2019, 04:15 PM   #20
yflyer
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There was a large McDonalds outlet next to the Central Post Office in Saigon.



Apart from McD's worldwide standard menu items, the menu here was highly localised...



...to include items such as pork burgers and rice dishes...



...and McD's version of Vietnamese Coffee!



There was also at least one Starbucks in Saigon...



...although I wondered why anyone would go there when there was such wonderful local Vietnamese Drip Coffee...

Last edited by yflyer; 10th November 2019 at 10:58 PM..
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Old 10th November 2019, 04:36 PM   #21
yflyer
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One objective that Mrs yflyer and I had for this trip was to head out for an authentic bowl of Pho.

The wonderful staff at the Fusion Suites recommended Pho Hoa Pasteur, an old favourite place for Pho, which was a short car ride away.



This was a simple streetside eatery...



...which specialised in one thing and one thing only: Multiple variations of delicious beef and meat with Pho noodles...



It didn't take long for us to decide on 2 bowls of "12. Combination All Kinds of Beef", and a few minutes later, two large, steaming bowls of pho were placed in front of us, both of which were chock full of different cuts of beef...



What a heavenly sight!

Before tucking in, we piled on loads of vegetable toppings, from mint leaves to bean sprouts fresh squeezed lime...



I dug in with my chopsticks...



...mmmmm....incredible...I thought the breakfast pho at the Fusion Suites was good, but this was just at another level...the stock had a richness and flavour that made the Fusion Suites version seem bland by comparison. This was seriously good pho!

To be continued!

Last edited by yflyer; 10th November 2019 at 05:17 PM..
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