Tuesday, March 20, 2012

On a roll in Ho Chi Minh City

Because the Sergeant loves cars, we started our first full day in Saigon touring the city in a 1954 Citroen Traction-Avant. One of our first stops was the Reunification Palace. It used to be the presidential palace, until North Vietnamese tanks crashed through the gate in 1975. It has since been preserved as a museum, and its meeting and banquet rooms are still used for ceremonial occasions.

The Sergeant had a great time chatting with the driver, who also has a war-era Jeep (and photos of it on his iPad) ...
... while I watched the traffic from the back seat. Never seen so many scooters in my life!
We drove all over Saigon, taking in the sights, and even stopped at a shop that sells old car parts, so the Sergeant could take photos. Our tour guide, a lovely young woman in a traditional ao dai, was a bit put out that we didn't want to stop and do some souvenir shopping, but you don't need an expensive antique vehicle to do that.

She did recommend a good pho place for lunch, not far from our hotel. Pho Quynh was also a great spot for people- and traffic-watching.
I was glad to slurp down noodles and a couple glasses of Vietnamese iced coffee. Boy, is it good.


  1. Good thing you didn't get sucked into souvenir shopping! It's not worth it and you can get the same stuff at Ben Thanh, or anywhere else for that matter, for much less!

    That Citroen sure is grand!

  2. love it, so many scooters.
    sounds like a wonderful trip!
    your pics are great.
    and yes, that food does look good.

  3. Sounds like a great trip. Makes me want to read a history of Vietnam in the 20th century. I was in college during the height of the Vietnam War so when I think of Saigon I see that helicopter lifting off the American embassy when we finally said "we're outta here." Now I'll see that Citroen in my mind's eye! Thanks for making that change in my head.

  4. Manisha, she actually suggested we shop at Benh Than, which would've been fun with a guide, but it just didn't make sense to pay for a fancy car just to leave it sitting parked somewhere.

    Thanks, Raige. It was an awesome trip.

    Pam, that embassy building is gone, but we thought about that, too. It is really great to replace those newsreel images we all have with actual, fond memories. Especially taste memories. :-)