The Roar

Trip Start Feb 16, 2010
Trip End Mar 09, 2010

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Where I stayed
Phong Hotel

Flag of Vietnam  ,
Monday, March 8, 2010

Had a late start for the day. Walked towards Diamond Plaza and stopped for a local lunch of simple homecooked dishes with rice. With the city's soaring heat, I had to take refuge at Diamond Plaza for the air conditioning. Was just blindly walking further north when I stopped for a drink at Lottoria - a local fast food outlet, and spent the hour on my journal.
At this point, HCMC was still largely unfamiliar to me. Besides the museum locations, all the major artery roads I had crossed, I still found myself unsure of my orientation. And I was only in District 1. So I walked all the way across the city towards saigon river and slowly discovered buildings that I recognised from the night I rode with Tuan. Also found a nice little shop that sells Communist Propaganda posters which gave me a better insight of the north sentiments during the war.
Heading towards Pham Ngu Lau, I sneaked back for a quick shower and a rest before venturing out again at 6pm for dinner. Had a good bowl of noodle soup at Bui Vien Street and started walking towards Cholon. The streets were jampacked with people and motorists on a constant move. I never got to Cholon as I left my map at my room and was simply getting lost in the sea of traffic. I did however visited the local supermarkets, cinemas and a mini shopping mall on the outskirts of the city. This particular district was simply lined with restaurants and I was thrilled to be in the crowd.
Somehow I managed to walk my way to Ben Thanh Market and sat at the park overlooking the enormous roundabout. The park was simply filled with young couples and families, like they would at Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi. Food stalls on bicycles and motorbikes constantly dishing out food items and the roads kept on flowing with traffic. Taking a breather, I noted there was a constant roar like a train running non stop. Took me a while before I realised that it was the accummulation of all the motorcycle engines in motion, creating this rumbling roar that my mind almost subconsciously shut the noise out.
Had a late supper of fried vermicelli and Beer 333 near my hotel and met this interesting Kenyan bloke who shared my table. It was a tiny plastic table with plastic stools and it was right next to the traffic. This kenyan fellow Winston was on business in Vietnam, representing Kenya and a private client. He shared that he adores Hanoi more than HCMC and even almost married a vietnamese lady in Hanoi. He claimed that his north vietnamese girlfriend of 4 years was sitting on an property asset of US$1.5 million in Hanoi city. His girlfriend had only earlier this year rejected his marriage proposal. Oh, he couldnt stop telling about how much he loves vietnamese ladies. He was a strange bloke, I must admit, but very animated in his conversations. Splitting image of Chris Tucker.
That was my last night at Ho Chi Minh City and also Vietnam. I savoured as much as I could, the atmosphere, the noise, the air pollution, in this city that is so alive.
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