The tour itself was nice, and they made lovely accommodations for us vegetarians. I wasn't to fond of the abrupt change of pace in the tour between the boisterous Vietnamese pancake shop and the mellow coffee shop with a violinist. The music was lovely, but it nearly put me to sleep. Then, we changed gears again to go to a rock cover band bar called "Woodstock." This had more potential and fit the mood of the night better, but it seemed completely out of order. After a final drink or two at "Woodstock," our drivers took us back to our apartment so we could go to bed.
I was pleased with the tour overall, but I actually think I prefer the other one we did. On the Vespa tour, the drivers don't eat with you or really communicate with you at all. I found that a bit strange. I enjoyed getting to know our guides on that first tour and found that missing from the Vespa tours. That being said, a Vespa is far more comfortable to ride on than a Honda Wave...
The Cu Chi Tunnels
After the tour, we had a very pleasant lunch along side the river before boarding the boat to go back into the heart of Saigon. Seeing the Cu Chi Tunnels was extraordinary, and I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Saigon. This stop should be a priority.
Saigon by Vespa
After so many images of violence, it was clearly time to move on to something more pleasant. Like a local neighborhood market overflowing with fresh cut flowers. It was refreshing to see so many happy people going about their daily lives .
After some time perusing the market, we hopped back on the Vespas to head into Saigon's Chinatown. We saw some pretty fantastic shops on our way to an old Chinese temple. The temple was a standard Chinese temple, but my favorite part was the spiraled incense hanging from strings in the courtyard sending messages to the heavens.
Next up on the tour was a traditional Chinese medicine shop. We learned about how different herbs, animals, and insects are used to treat all sorts of ailments. The shop had a large selection of star fish, shark fins, scorpions, and all sorts of teas. It kind of smelled like the Mountain Mamas shop on Uintah.
After the medicine shop, we went to another temple called the "Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas" because it contained a room with 10,000 tiny Buddhas. Quite spectacular!
After a looking at about 1,000 of the 10,000 Buddhas, we go back on the motorbikes and took the tunnel under the river to a new(ish) park to take a few photos.
Normally the tour would have taken us back into District 1 for a quick tour of the cathedral and post office, but we were ready to head home and get ready for dinner. The guides were kind enough to alter the tour a bit and drop us off right outside The Vista.
It was a great way to spend a day, and I highly recommend these tour companies for tours in the Saigon area. A wonderful, informational experience!
Cu Chi Tunnels Boat Tour: Les Rives
Saigon Vespa Tour: Vespa Adventures
I booked them together using this site: Vietnam Vespa Adventures
I am very proud to announce that I was nominated as a candidate for the Secondary Teacher Award for Excellence for Cognita Schools. Cognita owns 66 schools worldwide with 8 large schools in Asia. The initial round of results were announced, and I am thrilled to say that I was the first runner-up in a field of 12 nominees. As part of the award, I get to go to Singapore in May for an awards ceremony. I am honored to have been nominated, as I have never thought of myself as an exceptional teacher. I love my job and my students, but I still wouldn't compare myself to some of the amazing mentors I had as a high school student (Martens, O'Connor, and Sloan). I am rather proud of this nomination and thankful for all of the opportunities I have had to become the teacher I am today.
By this point, it was time for lunch. Derek had found a "Canadian" pizza place that he wanted to try out, so we took a rather long taxi ride from Wheel House Cafe to District 3. Canadian Pizza is supposedly the "best pizza in Ho Chi Minh City." It's not. At all. But we did enjoy the hockey jerseys on the walls (and sombreros?), but it was also a place that I doubt we will ever visit again.
We had a lovely day out and about as a family and enjoyed discovering new parts of this amazing city. The best part of it all? Both boys took a nap in the cab on the way back to The Vista.