Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
I’d sent a message to Mark last night to ask whether I could move back to Saigon Zoom Hotel the next day. At 9:30am my bedside phone rang and it was Mark saying he’d send someone to fetch me in 5 minutes. Relief! I don’t know why but I really disliked this place. I was still in my pajamas so I threw on some clothes, brushed my hair and my teeth and went downstairs. The friendly security guy from Saigon Zoom Hotel was waiting and took me back to SZH. I breathed a big sigh of relief when I stepped back in there. It did really feel like I’d got back home. Mark was upset the place he’d sent me to was horrible, but it’d been OK for a night. I was glad to be back. They put me in room 401, a door down from my initial room, and I spent a few hours lounging, eating a bowl of cornflakes, sorting out more laundry and getting cleaned up.
I was in the mood for some shopping so I headed to some of the local shops. I had my eye on the beautiful handbags they sell here, all embroidered. I also found a vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant and had lunch there. It was so great as really, I’d not been enjoying the food in all it’s meaty glory. I met an Aussie girl and she gave me some tips on where to stay on Phu Quoc Island.
That evening I went to the night market outside Ben Thanh and I’d been warned to bargain. The first stall I went to made me mad! I’d bought a sling bag earlier in the day for 80,000VND from a shop and at the market a woman quoted me 320,000!!! Insane. I realized how badly you can be ripped off here. I’ve probably been ripped off already but nothing too major and ignorance is bliss so I’d rather not know. I decided to try some crazy-coloured sticky rice from the market for dinner. There were about 5 different colors: white, green, orange black and yellow. The man put some gooey stuff on top and some sugar. I was hoping it’d be as awesome as Thailand’s mango and sticky rice but it wasn’t. It was still good though!
On my way home I got taken for a ride (literally) by an old fool with a scooter. I now realize he probably wasn’t actually a legit “xe om” driver because he didn’t give me a helmet and for the first time since I’d been in Vietnam, I was scared driving with him. He was more than likely drunk, and a very bad driver. Finally I got home and in relief retired to my room and made myself a mug of (real) tea. Exciting times in HCMC!