last day in Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog› entry 18 of 22 › view all entries
September 14th, 2009 – by: sarahelaine
Then, Iain and I wanted to visit the Reunification Palace. Katie and Ollie had been earlier in teh week and hadn't been that impressed, but I suspect they dodn't have our tour guide. :)
We hadn't expected a tour guide, as it happened; we were very lucky to arrive at the palace just as they were assembling an English speaking group. We would never have beenorganised enough to do it on purpose.
The palace was fascinating in historical terms, because we only ever hear the American side of the story in the West and it was interesting to hear about, for example, why people hated the puppet president so much.
The palace was a fascinating mix of that sort of decor, and more traditional laquer work and carpets. The tour also skirts the former presidential family's personal living quarters, which were strangely unimpressive for rulers, and decorated with elephant feet and model boats.
One of my favourite bits was the roof, where you can see a captured helicopter and the views out over the city and down the avenue. It would have been a great balcony for addressing the nation, and I amused myself by thinking what to say to the nation until I realised quite how deeply inappropriate it was to be humming Evita as a) it was the wrong country and b) the wrong continent and c) totally the wrong end of the political spectrum and d, e and f) completely inappropriate.
I had a brief chat with the tour guide on the way between rooms, which really brought home to me how little I know about life in my own country.. She was being apologetic about the rain, and I explained that where I come from, it rains pretty much all the time.
"all the time?"
"yes, all year around"
"so you don't hve seasons?"
"well, yes, but it's more like, well, in winter it is wet and cold and in summer it is wet and a bit less cold.
I am fairly sure she thought I was taking the mickey out if her, but she said, politely,
"really? How do you farm?"
I really didn't have an anwer, and felt totally ignorant.
It took me three days to figure out that the only reasons that the Brits don't still starve every winter are imports and potatoes, by which time it was too late to answer.
After tha palace we mooched about a bit, and then we went to Pho 2000 and had Pho. It was very nice indeed. Pho 2000 is a chain, but they are really nice, affordable, and it's great Pho. I bought a t shitr to replace the one that had got lost in the laundry, and then we found Katie and Ollie in a little bar not far further than Go2 along the same street.
It was a shame really, because someone left without paying for some shots and Ollie got stictched up to pay for them, which caused a bit of a row. I was a bit sad because up to that point I would only have said nce things about the place. But it all got resolved and Ollie, Iain, Oz and some other people ended up in one last bar and went home.
WHihc is when I realised how ill advised the beer had been. It wasn't very alcoholic - we all commented how little affect it was having, but it tasted nice so we didn't care. I don't think it was quite alcoholic enough to kill the germs, though, and I have Never. Ever. Ever. had a tunny bug quite like that one in my entire life. I shall spare you the details, but I was not ata ll convinced that I was going to make it to the plane the next day.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!