|Sliding doors between the bath and main room|
so I could watch TV while enjoying a soak!
Then there was a fabulous breakfast buffet in the courtyard below! Now I am loving this vacation and we haven't even made it to the river cruise yet. With the hotel located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City District 1, it was easy to come and go to get out of the 90 degree plus heat for a few hours several times a day.
We spent the first day exploring on our own and checking out the holiday lights at night. And it was nice to see some real television news on CNN and the BBC to see what is happening around the world. But the real fun is the world outside of the hotel. We would meet our guide early on the second day.
We took advantage of watching the traffic at night in the holiday lights. What chaos! I don't know how they all miss each other as they just turn in front of one another and dodge pedestrians. We were not brave enough to cross the street at night; daytime was scary enough.
As it turned out, we were the only ones who signed up for the pre-cruise package. Soooo... We had a guide and a driver all to ourselves for a day of sight seeing. And as it turned out, the same guide, Thinh (or as he called himself: Skinny Thin), was our guide on the ship as well! Lucky us!
|One of the hundreds of Buddha figures we saw.|
After a lunch with our guide, Thinh, we were off to see the French Colonial architecture of the city, a museum, the Notre Dame Cathedral and Central Post Office, which was designed by Gustave Eiffel.
Unfortunately there was a Mass at the Cathedral and we couldn’t walk around inside. Our visit with the guide was too short to join the Mass. We usually like to sit in a pew for a while and have a quiet moment, light candles, etc., but we were on a schedule this time so it didn’t work out that way.
|Notre Dame Cathedral Saigon|
|Central Post Office|
Our next stop was the Central Post Office designed by Gustave Eiffel in traditional French Colonia styling. It seems that everyone has their own little market set up outside the post office - and everywhere on the streets! You could buy all kinds of things from individuals sitting on the curb or from their bicycles or motorcycles. They sell goods and foods that they make.
|Traditional apricot tree in the Post Office|
as a Tete holiday decoration. The yellow
flower is symbolic of the King.
|Interior of the post office|
Since it was the New Year holiday, the city was decorated with the traditional apricot blossoms. The streets were lit up at night like Christmas in the USA. And we saw the most beautiful orchids everywhere. The flowering apricot tree is the traditional holiday tree of Vietnam and it is seen everywhere. The larger ones are very expensive yet even the poorest people have one. We saw a number of them being transported on the back of motorcycles just like we throw Christmas trees on top of the car and drive home.
|Red Dragon Fruit|
It is now time for me to pack the bags and head to The Mekong Princess tomorrow. I have enjoyed the lovely bathtub in the InterContinental. I think I will have one on the river cruise as well. A long soak is a real treat for a world cruiser!