Ho Chi Mihn, Masterpiece Trip 2017, Saigon, Vietnam

Good Grief We’re Back In It (Da Lat -> Saigon Transfer Day)

We woke up and one of the first things Sal said was, “I think I’m going to have to go to the dentist in Saigon.” YIKES. Do you remember when I pointed out two Da Lat dental offices to him, but it wasn’t bothering him that much? Well, it had apparently gotten worse, poor guy. So I emailed the Saigon hotel and asked for help finding a dentist and Sal researched our travel insurance coverage. We then to our last communal breakfast at Dreams Hotel. I really liked the setup of a communal breakfast for the most part; it’s only slightly awkward if it’s two of you at a table with everyone else who knows each other. Mrs. Dung from the hotel had set up the taxi transfer for us and the driver was early, which I liked. Sal was running a tiny bit slowly, so of course I was getting slightly nervous. I really like to get to the airport early rather than stress about getting there on time. As usual, though, my stress was for naught because we got there in plenty of time and even had time for a coffee/diet coke. We again had to be bussed to the plane and we were jam packed in there. It was worse than the subway, I swear. And these normally kind and generous Vietnamese people really shove themselves in front of you in these situations. They don’t seem to follow the normal queue rules, which must drive the British crazy when they visit.

The flight was less than an hour long, which was nice. It was with VietJet and super cheap ($25 each). One problem we had was there was a group of models on the plane and when we landed they didn’t let anyone leave the plane until the models did. They literally stopped people from exiting. At first we had no idea what was going on.  Normally not a big deal, but the models weren’t all sitting together at the front of the plane and people were obviously crowded in the aisles (see paragraph above re: pushing and lines). It made zero sense. The other negative with the flight was it felt like it took forever to get our luggage. Eventually our bags came out and we found the driver, who grabbed our luggage and started marching through the crowd. I followed right after him, never letting my bag have any space between it and my body. Miss Paranoid was dialed up to 100 as I had read so much about robberies on TA. He dropped us off by the loading zone and motioned for us to stay there. We were probably there about 10ish minutes – just enough to confirm that…holy crap it’s humid there. And hot. And did I mention humid? Da Lat had spoiled us with its mild 70’s temperatures and now we were back in it. In the heat. Crikey.

The ride to the hotel was less than 30 minutes, so not bad at all. There were, of course, a gazillion motorbikes again. And honking. Da Lat didn’t have much honking, which was nice. While Saigon had much more than Da Lat, I still don’t think it had as much as Hanoi. Hanoi was next level honking — to almost an amazing degree.

We were staying at the Silverland Yen Hotel, which I forgot to take any pictures of somehow. Honestly, at this point I felt like I was starting to get a cold and was just tired. And did I mention hot? Anyway, it’s a nice hotel with clean, comfortable rooms and excellent staff. When we arrived we were greeted by no less than four people, and one of the staff took us directly to our room to check us in there where we’d be more comfortable, which was very nice and a first. She also had information about a dentist all ready for us, so that was our priority of the day.

The dentist’s office was only a block away, which was great. We got outside and soon discovered we were back in the crazy traffic again. Sal is really good at crossing those roads, so we hold hands and I stick to him and we cross. We got to the dental office and the receptionist said they had appointment availability in a few hours. We decided to go get lunch in the meanwhile. Now I had marked down a place that was supposed to have excellent Bahn Mi’s, but it was only a stand and have I mentioned how hot it was? There wouldn’t have been anywhere to sit and eat it, either. Sal was kind enough to say we should find a place with AC, so we found a little sandwich shop that we barely even felt the AC at first, but boy were those sandwiches yummy!

After we were done with lunch we still had some time to waste before Sal’s appointment, so we did what we do every other time we are out and about and have time to kill: we went to a cafe. This time we got a little dessert, too. The AC worked well there and it was a relief to get out of the heat and away from the traffic.

I forgot to mention that I was excited when I saw how nice and wide a lot of sidewalks were there because in Hanoi (and a bit in Da Lat) they are very tiny and full of parked motorbikes so you usually had to walk in the street. In Saigon the sidewalks might be wider, but guess what? People actually drive on them! I saw both motorbikes (more common) and cars do this. So as a pedestrian, not only do you have to play your own version of frogger crossing the crazy busy streets, you also have to dodge occasional traffic on the sidewalk. The first time we discovered this our solution was to follow a many that was pushing a cart down the sidewalk. We used him as a human shield, basically. Talk about stress walking around. Good grief.

After dessert Sal walked me back to the hotel, then went to his dental appointment a little early. I hung out in the room and waited to hear from him. It literally was less than 25 minutes before he was back at the hotel. They gave him an exam, saw there wasn’t a cavity but a problem with his bite, and filed down the offending tooth. The charge? Free. Pretty amazing. Thank you, Vietnam!

They had free afternoon tea, with live music, every day at the hotel.

img_20171124_1535379056362541673126124.jpgWe headed to the rooftop bar for a drink. 

aviary-image-15115143816247426711486904463318.jpegWe ordered room service for dinner because we couldn’t be bothered to face the traffic again. OK, I couldn’t be bothered. I was pooped and my cold/cough was getting worse. Room service was quite good and reasonably priced. We went to bed early.

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