Saturday, March 28, 2009

Vietnam Day 3

Vietnam Day 3

Brittany wakes me up around 9 am, announcing that Erin would be joining us for the day. At 9:45 we headed down to catch the shuttle to the Rex. From the Rex hotel we crossed the street (which is actually quite a feat, you basically walk directly through traffic as motorists swerve to miss you, you can’t slow down or stop because the motorists time your pace) to the air-conditioned mall next door. Brittany needed a duffel and I, well, I needed coffee. I ended up finding some perfect gifts while Erin bought a table cloth. After a little bit of shopping we headed to Highlands Coffee for a little break. I had Vietnamese Traditional Coffee, which seemed to be espresso and creamer, but I could be wrong.

Refreshed we headed back to the market (a 15 minute walk) to get more pendants for my mom and other various goods. We stopped back at our favorite Pho counter, this time each ordering our own (such big spenders at 1 USD a pop!). I got a little more adventurous with the spices so mine was very hot and yummy! I took a bunch of pictures of the market before we headed out.

We decided to take a taxi, as we didn’t exactly know where the Museum of Vietnamese History was and we didn’t want to get separated (cyclos can sometimes be dodgy). After 10 or so minutes in the car we arrived at the History Museum. Created in 1979, it displays artifacts from East Asia back into “The Primitive Period”. We saw kettles from the 3rd century, urns from the 14th and ceramic plates from the 15th Century amongst other items. I’m not sure I would call it a history museum as it seemed more like an ancient art museum with poorly translated signage, however, it was interesting and worth the trip. I really wanted to catch the Water Puppet show, but there weren’t enough patrons for them to put it on. However, I did get to see the set, which was cool enough. We took pictures in the atrium which was full of lotus flowers and colorful blossoms.

After exploring the various exhibitions we headed back towards the Rex. I picked up my Sari top which came out better than I expected. Erin loved her suit and ordered a matching skirt to be made while Brittany ended up very disappointed. Brittany ordered them to redo the entire top (which was totally necessary) as it was sized inaccurately. (The dress had braided straps, a grey top, flowered belt and black skirt) After the hoopla we returned to the ship (it was almost 4 o’clock by then) to shower before dinner.

I still hadn’t fulfilled my Vietnamese food fix despite my meal the night before, so we decided to get all dressed up for another night on the town. We walked the opposite way of the market and decided to just pick a restaurant that looked good. After a healthy walk we found a gorgeous corner restaurant. We all ordered spring rolls which came out themed in a very Vietnamese way. You see on all the streets in HCMC there are vendors who balance what look like judge’s scales (two bowls connected on top and crossed over one’s shoulders) and that is exactly how these spring rolls came. It was very cool and reminded me of Barton G’s in the states (only this meal was less than 12 USD rather than 50 USD). We chatted with a Canadian couple who sat adjacent from us.

After our relaxing dinner (we needed it, the sun in Vietnam is very draining), we headed back up the street to the tailor. The street was dotted with street vendors trying to sell us counterfeit lonely planets and bottled waters. On the way we ran into Erin’s roommate Gaby who joined us for the rest of the evening. We stopped in at Art Gallery (Tara and Kys) and I immediately fell in love with a painting. It was done in a calligraphical style with a women dancing. She was surrounded by beautifully stamped imprints and I knew I needed it! After the woman told me it was one of a kind (and reasonably priced!) I decided to make it mine. From there we headed to the tailor once more to see if my Asian top had been fixed. It still wasn’t fitting properly and despite the fact that it was inexpensive, I wasn’t going to purchase something that was ill fitting. Once more they promised me they would fix and we walked on to see a painting Gabby liked.

She had quite nice taste (the painting was almost 800$) and we all gave it a thumbs up (given the fact that she was ok with spending that amount of money). After glancing at our watches, we realized that it was almost 9 o’clock (times flies when you’re exploring Vietnam) and that Brittany’s tailor (the one with her dress) would be closing shortly.

I went with Gaby back to my tailor while Brittany and Erin ran to get their items. The top ended up fitting perfectly and I happily paid before Gaby and I walked back to Tutti Frutti to meet B and E. Brittany was still slightly unhappy with her dress but decided to suck it up while Erin still needed to wait a day for her skirt.

We decided to head to a Jazz Bar before heading back to the ship. Upon entering the bar our lungs filled with smoke and after seeing the rather pricy menu we decided to leave and catch the bus home, happy with our wonderful day in Vietnam!

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