Saturday, February 8, 2014


Economy plus upgrade.  Thanks, Cathay!
Boring noodles with Chardonnay.
Heading to our hotel
Said hotel with duty free Scotch.  Winning.
I attempted to go for a morning run but the motorbikes, lack of sidewalks, and street vendors made that pretty impossible. 
We saw quite a few dragon parades.
Interesting buildings and lanterns.
30 degrees warm and sunny.
The park near our hotel was filled with flowers for the Tet holiday.  This dragon fruit arrangement was particularly unique.
One of the best things about Vietnam; super black coffee and condensed milk.
Our first meal was street noodles.  Paul's (above) was really rich and full of chicken, grease, peanuts, rice cakes and fresh herbs.  It was probably the best bowl of noodles either of us has ever had.
Mine was also really tasty.  Less greasy (hence a bit less flavor) but with tofu, coagulated blood (not as gross as it sounds), meat cakes and fresh herbs.  ~$3
Garlic statues in the market.
Paul and the giant fruit tree.
The War Remembrance Museum was opened. It wasn't exactly how I remembered it from 4 years before.
Paul was into the planes.
And helicopters
There was a lot of propaganda and not so much reporting on the actual war.  One would expect a timeline of critical events.  Not so much, but there was an entire room dedicated to which countries around the world protested the war.
This was one of probably 5 bahn mi sandwhiches over the 5 days.  So simple, yet so crazy delicious.
After the museum we took a walk.
To a cool park.
With funny Dr. Seuss trees.
Then we walked by what I can only guess was snake medicine/liquor  Stacy, expect this for Christmas.
Then after miles and miles of walking we found a cute little German hoff.  So we stopped for a beer.
And then wandered back into the main area of town.

Where we stopped at the Rex hotel for cocktails.  This is where reporters hung out during the war.  We weren't so impressed.
Wine!  Not good expensive wine, but wine nonetheless.
Later that night we went out for Mexican (it looked good!) and some Tiger beers.
Paul's a tiger.  Rrr.
I'm a girl tiger.
The "Mexican" fajitas were awesome.  We shared a plate.
Then wandered down the street for some Vietnamese claypot tofu.
And then went for pedicures.
Where the women proceeded to make Paul bleed.  She wasn't great with the razor...
Feeling (mildly) pampered and stated, we were happy.
The backpacker area was still crazy despite the holiday.  Paul and I realized we're no longer backpackers.  We like showers.  And wine.  And wearing shirts.
Beef pho for breakfast at a local joint.
A very nice old man sitting next to us told us it had been there for 30+ years, and I believe him.  It was delicious.
More walking.... a giant hamburger

To the pool at the Rex, which was much better than their cocktails and wine.
<3 ice coffee.  <3

Before the sunburn came out.
We stopped for a snack.  Turned into a 4pm dinner.  Above is a "Vietnamese pancake."  It was superb and filled with all sorts of veg and tofu.
We also go the pumpkin nuggets which came out like this. It was a kamboucha squash filled with tomato rice.  Much bigger and tastier than the nuggets we anticipated.
Uno and beers at the Bookworm Cafe.
Ok, so we like being backpackers sometimes.

Our last morning in backpacker alley.
Then we upgraded to the river.
Hippies be gone.

Nice big room with a gorgeous river view.

Alright, maybe not gorgeous.  But a view.
I thought the flowers were a very nice touch.
We also had a really sweet rooftop pool, spa, and gym.  We used all three.
 We went in search of Le Jardin where Paul had called a week earlier to make a reservation.  We finally found it and learned it was closed for the next 2 weeks.  Hmm.  Nearby we found this awesome open air grill place.
 So we did what anyone would do and order crocodile and beers. 
Oh and Russian cheese floss which was surprisingly smoky and tasty.  
 As we walked back to the hotel for some more pool and massages we saw this place and decided it looked pretty awesome.
 And it was.  Modern Vietnamese.
These we ordered because the name was in Vietnamese.  A surprise if you will.

They were incredible!  Vietnamese Scotch eggs-egg covered in sausage covered in a cereal like topping and fried and served with the most ridiculously lip smacking chili sauce.  Winning.

 We also got fish/chicken and rice.  The fish/chicken was a sausagey thing- not what we expected, but good nonetheless, and again with a ridiculous sauce.  We also got chili tofu that was pretty good too. 
 Paul loved it.

And we love each other.  Aw. 
 We loved our breakfast buffet too.

 We spent a lot of time at the pool.And loved it too.
 And eventually wandered into town for a walk around...
 ...and some awesome Vietnamese coffee....
...and street waffles!
And finally wine.
We went to the top of the Sheraton on Csilla and Ian's suggestion and it was amazing.  I don't remember how high it was, but you could see how shockingly big HCMC is.  It just kept going.  Thankfully the drinks were better than the Rex. 
 Paul liked the tongue chair
Next was happy hour at a tapas place.  
 Tuna salad and pan con ham.  Yum.
Loving my Spanish wine.
 We also found this great Vietnamese place with a decent wine list which I didn't think possible after being served brown wine in the backpacker area.  I told the waitress the wine was waaaay off, to which she said no, I just opened it.  She brought the box out- problem #1- and it was from the 2009 vintage.  Approximately 4 years off...
 If you go to HCMC, check it out.
Lemongrass, cucumber, gin cocktail.

We wrapped our bar crawl up with some sushi and skewers.

 A final big breakfast.
 And a final bahn mi.
 Goodbye gorgeous, we'll miss you
Luckily there was a lounge at the airport with horrible wine....

And food.  Yum, chicken thing.

And now we're back soaking in all the Hong Kong glory until April, and then it's Bali, baby.

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