Reunification Day in Saigon…

May 1, 2012
Ok, let’s try again. I had finished writing this entire post, when the application shut down, and I lost everything! I need to remember to save periodically!

Anyway, yesterday was the 37th anniversary of the reunification of North and South Vietnam, the day which marked the end of the Vietnam war (known to Vietnamese as the American war to distinguish it from wars involving other countries such as France and China). While this day may hold mixed feelings for many Americans, the Vietnamese celebrate this day as we would our 4th of July.

I was extremely bummed, as there was a parade to celebrate this holiday, but I misunderstood the time of the event, and I arrived too late. There were still some people hanging out…

…and the clean-up crew was busy removing the banners…

…and cleaning up the streets…

…but no parade to document in this blog…what a bummer!

After people-watching for a while in the park, I proceeded to do some more exploring of District 1. I came across the Caravelle Hotel which has quite a history in this city. Last year when I was here, it was vacant and boarded up, but they must have been renovating, as it was good to see it is now reopened for business.

I also came across the opera house, with this beautiful entrance.

After stopping for another bowl of Pho and spring rolls, it was time to head back to get ready for another Rotary Club (RC) event.

The RC folks first came to a reception to see the wonderful art, jewelry and furniture at Red Door Deco, located at 31A Le Thanh Ton Street in District 1. If you plan to do any shopping in Vietnam, this is a must-see shop! Tell them that Sue’s friend, Dotti, sent you! Then we proceeded to dinner at Xu Restaurant (pronounced zoo). This restaurant is up for a big award, and it is not surprising based on our dinner there. The food was excellent, and the presentation added to the experience. We first had a sampler of appetizers (pumpkin flower, banana flower and unique summer rolls). After a scrumptious pork belly entree (some had chicken), we were then served a dessert sampler of four items served on small spoons. The RC folks said this was the best restaurant so far on their trip. We then headed to a bar around the corner, Wild Horse. What a hoot…it had swinging saloon doors and wild west decor. We sat in a barrel-like alcove for our final nightcap at the end of another great day in Saigon.

Today, I am en route to Myanmar, where I will tour the country for ten days. I am the only American on this flight (there are 2 Brits). But American tourists would more likely arrive through Bangkok or Singapore. It will be interesting if I see many Americans on this trip, since the media has been reporting an oversubscription of American tourists now that the political situation in the country is changing. When I visited last year, I saw no other Americans.

By the way, I’m not sure about wifi access in Myanmar, so don’t know when or if I will be able to make any posts while I am there, but will keep writing, and upload as soon as I can.

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Location:Saigon Airport

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