other sides of saigon
as mentioned in the previous blog, we decided to experience another side of saigon - lots of rather posh boutique hotels have sprung up close to city center, close to the big Ben Thanh market.
as we walked around we thought , let's have a look, let's see how much. so we did, and realized that we could splurge - on our second day! for only $30 usd, and move 'way up in comforts, in a different neighborhood.. found the Tan Hoa Ngoc, 29 Thu Khoa Huan St D1, a newish 8 story hotel with elevator. we both giggled when we saw the bathroom- italian minimal, big shiny tiles, glass panel shower with giant shower head, slick sink, and a very snazzy toilet. this is way calssier than we ever stay in the US! oh yes, computer terminal in the room, on which i am currently typing, and a flat screen tv next to it... yikes! staff is friendly, helpful.
went to yet another part of the city : cholon [quote] the original china town of saigon has a huge market, jampacked with stuff you neither need nor want, but fascinating in its dedication to commerce and abundance of STUFF, mostly dried fruit, straw hats, cheap plastic hair ornaments, and household items... stacked steel bowls ranging from scramble an egg size up to wash the 2 year old size... the area is neither gentrified nor charmingly old fashioned, rather it felt, as we rode there on the #1 city bus, the way i imagine much of saigon used to be - left over french style 2 and 3 story solid houses with louvred shutters, tiled or corrugated roofs, mixed with newer but corroding stucco 3-6 story buildings, all covered with a blackish layer of tropical moldiness, most bearing signs in vietnamese and in chinese characters, with some English names (donut shop!, wow store, saigon ink-yes definitely a tattoo place) thrown in. streets so narrow the bus barely gets through, 20 minute ride into another era.. hot, crowded, didn't stay very long, but really really interesting..
so today, if all goes well, we are off tho the mekong delta, first to a close town about an hour and a half by bus.. My Tho. from there, several other towns, lots of floating markets, fruit, humidity... i think internet may be harder to come by, so check in but don't think we've fallen off the world if we don't write for a while!!