HCMC - 41 Bui Vien Guest House
12.21.11 - 12.22.11
I mentioned before that I prefer to stay in the “backpackers” district when I travel. This is not only for the obvious low financial cost but I return, I find extreme high value of human interactions to be had. The multi-star hotels provide me with a capsule of isolation. I enter the beautiful lobby; receive an impersonal greeting from someone whose job it is to greet me. I enter an elevator where everyone stares at the wall, floor, ceiling or number panel. I exit the elevator and enter my very comfortable, tastefully decorated room where I spend the time with the TV and the room service meal I’ve ordered because I feel weird dining alone. When I travel like this, I’m likely to rush about in the morning to join a pre-arranged tour where I may exchange a few pleasantries with fellow tourists but will not have a chance to engage in true conversation because we must listen to the guide. I’ve done it but it’s not for me. I don’t want my time managed the way tours must manage time. I don’t want to go where every tourist goes, I want to spend time with the people. Locals and foreigners alike. That is the value I find in a hostel, guest house or home stay. That’s where I get to exchange stories, tips and warnings about the place and meet interesting people. Since the hotel is not my destination I have two very basic and simple requirements: Safe and clean. That’s all! I don’t care about the furnishings or the décor. I’m only there to sleep and shower.
Ideally I want to live like the locals: Eat where they eat, shop where they shop and go where they go for entertainment. I’m not against seeing the sights but prefer to do so with the locals if at all possible.
That is why HCMC was my favorite stop on this trip.
This is my first taste of the traffic experience in Saigon. "Catch me if you can" says my fellow traveler's helmet. I was close enough to reach out and catch him.
Traffic is certainly dense but the nice timed traffic lights do help people plan the various activities they engage in while traveling.
He took me to the Main Post office which is across from the Cathedral of Notre Dame. I went into the post office which doubles as a souvenir shop.
No wonder this place is at the top of places to see in every guide book and travel blog!
The Main Post office is across from the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Couples often use the area as a backdrop for their wedding pictures.
After the Post Office I visited the War Remnants Museum. It was a hard visit, but a real eye-opener to the horrors of war and the awful things we humans do to each other. I decided to only share the display of pictures that children have created in an effort to promote peace.