Up at 6 for a session in the hotel gym. English breakfast followed by American breakfast followed by Vietnamese breakfast. Onto the bikes and to the Cu Chi tunnels. Into the specially widened for tourists tunnel, which still gives you a good taste of what it must have been like. To the War Remnants museum, which is very one sided but where the photographs are so explicit and shocking that you leave in no doubt about the horrors of war. To the market, and a very enjoyable session of haggling with the delightfully friendly and very young seller of knock-off watches, culminating in splashing out over four million dong between us on Tag, Breitling, Patek Phillipe, and Omega watches with a market value of over £20,000, if they were real. A few more road crossing escapades (gambling with your life in the face of a million oncoming mopeds and taxis), and a few beers by the river, in the company of four or five geckos. Dinner at the Wrap&Roll – two beers and a
plateful of noodles and beef wrapped in banana leaves for under a fiver. Caipirinhias at the tenth floor bar in the famous Carravelle hotel, with live Cuban salsa music. Guided by a kiwi barman to a bar hidden away down a back alley and patronized exclusively by ex-pats, for more cocktails, until about 1 am, when things are just starting to get going but but is way past our bed time as we have to leave the hotel at 7.30.
Saigon has entered my top ten list of favourite cities. If I was staying longer, I think it would go higher. If I could get used to crossing the road….