Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Saigon: December 14, 2016

The hotel ($400 a month) is in the middle of a 4 block street which dead-ends at a prison and opens on a larger street.  There is no reason I can think of why you would ever have to go outside these boundaries as everything you need is available.  Each small alley leads to many thousand homes.

 An alley. Constant motor cycle traffic in and out between noon and two, the nap time.


Hot Vit Lon . The trick in this dish is to find a vendor whose eggs have just matured sufficiently. If necessary, drink 180 rice whiskey to get you going :)

 The banana lady.

Bánh bao. In smaller neighborhoods, a man will pedal by on his bicycle with a container on the back which contains the hot, steamed goodies. 70 cents.

 The picture is deceptive as it was enough for two meals.  60 cents.

 Hadn't thought of this before.

An independent man who collects trash from businesses and then sorts  recyclables to sell.

The neighborhood doctor.  The sign says 5 until 10, but  my friend who has the coffee shop, says it opens at 3PM, which I observed, and closes at 5AM.  He has a full service pharmacy and performs emergency room services. People start lining up outside in the morning.

Businesses are always sweeping their front entrances. 

Hard boiled quail eggs.  Delicious.  They come with little bags which contain a mixture of salt, pepper and red pepper.
A picture from the coffee shop owner.  I have seen men rush outside in a deluge while in their shorts and carrying a bar of soap.  Looks to be fun. :) By the way, the coffee shop opens at 6AM and closes at midnight 365 days a year.  Run by a husband and wife who have some help from their two children after school.  Just compare this work ethic with others. They also baby sit children after school as well as advertising the same for the elderly, but I have yet to see one.  Their daughter teaches English at home in the evenings, just about everything possible to make a buck.  The wife is sweet as can be, but appears tired always which is certainly understandable.


Only 8.3% of Vietnamese are Christian.

Hoàng Nghĩa Võ, a first year university student and very pleasant.  He stated he enjoyed talking to foreigners, but had a difficult time understanding me, but we did OK.  Once we started on Vietnamese food though, it was smooth sailing. :)

 Two meals only for me per day and this was it. $1.10.  Excellent as usual.

The hotel's wash girl.  I have been here for a week and my 7 shirts and 7 shorts hand-washed, air-dryed and ironed = $3.50.


  1. You could go visit my little brother and say, Hi.

    He's in Saigon, now.

    1. Now I remember. Why don't you contact him and ask if he would like to get together sometime? I believe I will leave next Thursday for Christmas in Long Xuyen to search for someone at the Catholic church there that holds 1,000.

    2. I talked to him last night and told him about you. He said he could get together before this Saturday, because he is flying back to the States for Christmas. I can e-mail you his contact info.

    3. Thanks and it's Thursday night here and I imagine he will be busy tomorrow getting ready, so it might be more convenient to get together when he comes back.

    4. Just noticed his address: 138-142 Hai Ba Trung Street

      I worked at 176 Hai Ba Trung for Navy OICC in 1969 and 1970. Small world. :)

      For old nostalgic U.S. Navy C.E.C. officers only

  2. Looks like paradise to visit.

    I hope it preserves some of that character as it develops. I don't mean to sound overly cold, but you'd expect Vietnam to develop well since it seems to have innate ability and a conservative culture. From your post, it appears to have a happy working culture, as opposed to angry class warriors who refuse to work. If investors are rewarded, they'll invest there.

    And I'm not suggesting I'm a capitalist, but that's not worth ranting on again.

    1. I sat beside a girl from Bangkok on the way over and she said Vietnam is outpacing Thailand in growth. A lot of this is because the Communist government stopped trying to force the South to accept their way and the huge influx of $ from Vietnamese who fled Saigon,their children and their family members who have come here LEGALLY! Novel thought,I know...There have been changes among the young people, but they remain conservative, (As long as they don't go to our schools.)

    2. Growth can be dangerous if foreigners are able to put profit ahead of preserving the native interests. But that sounds potentially good :)

      The Marxists aren't wrong that "capitalists" can abuse locals. The Marxists just twist the narrative and misguide the aggrieved.

      Globalism is best spread with capitalism, so I'm always thinking of that in my mind. And, of course, globalism is generally bad :) No one wants to live in poverty, but maybe the Devil is a capitalist, so to speak.

    3. if foreigners are able to put profit ahead of preserving the native interests.

      Thanks and guaranteed they will.

  3. I don't know, I could retire there and live like a poor prince with the cheaper prices, and what struck me was how clean and ordered it was on the street scenes. In your pics you don't see urban decay... wonder why?

    1. *Downtown everything is maintained well, but like where I am the sidewalks and streets aren't. The owners of businesses usually take care of the area in front of them. It's of no consequence to me. In Can Tho I lived on a dirt street and it was fine. I've also used the gem below though not my favorite. As soon as anything hits the water, the fish attack! :)

      If you want to visit let me know.

      *There are cheaper hotels downtown but you can also pay $100 to $300 a night which is just insane. I guess they have enough first time tourists scared about going to the county for the first time who support them.

  4. I'm telling you right now, I would love to try some of that food.

    1. Apply on line and in hours you will receive a visa approval letter which will get you a visa at the airport. $135. Americans, only, get a one year multiple entry visa, but you have to leave the country every three months which means a short trip to the Cambodian border on a cheap bus and back or staying in Phnom Penh and getting in trouble. :)The bus there is $20 to $12, 150 miles. The old buses are gone and they look good to me. Even have a toilet! :) The air fare is under $200 (A monopoly, and takes 25 minutes.

  5. Brock, all that food looks amazing!

    I am jealous.