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Vietnam (Day 2) Saigon Street Wandering

Our game plan for the 2nd day was to simply wander the streets and find our way to the backpacker district and the famous Ben Thanh Market. Guided by the map provided by our hotel, we walked in the general direction.  There was some construction nearby that pushed us down a long narrow street of markets that we had to share with motorbikes.  So many wares to peruse, we took our time.  We then came upon this large open square for pedestrians only where we took a moment to marvel at this out of place space.

No Motorbikes Zone!

By this time, the kids were grumbling with hunger, so we took them to Paris.  Hahaha, just kidding.  But, it did seem like we had found Paris in Vietnam when we came upon  Runam Bistro.  It was gorgeous and so inviting that we couldn't pass it up for breakfast.  Such a relaxing garden balcony restaurant that provided a delicious not typical (except for the amazing iced-coffee) breakfast! 

Paris in Saigon

Grilled pork with broken rice.

Mi hoành thanh (wonton with egg noodle soup)

Fully fueled, we were ready to tackle Ben Thanh Market.  We had heard lots of stories pre-travel about petty crime, scams, and overall discontent so we were a little nervous, but we had no trouble and really enjoyed the market vibe. Tried our hand at some bargaining. I don't think we are very good at it. In fact, Rob managed to bargain UP on a purchase. Caitlin was in her element though and made several purchases like a pro.  This indoor market is huge and when we were ready to exit, we had no idea which side was which and were completely turn around when we got outside.  

We continued with aimless wandering. I don't know how, but we found this awesome food market (beer o'clock oh yeah!).  Kids were delighted with the street art, including angel wings.  If you follow us on Instagram, then you know we LOVE street art! 

This lady was being so kind to let us take pictures even trying to set up our "shot" with more fruit, but ran off when a policeman came along. We saw other street vendors scurry off as well. Maybe they are not allowed to sell on the street here? We did notice the vendors alerting each other to where the officer headed so that they could stay ahead of him. 

Guess what? We got tickets for a show at the Opera House! Vietnam is AWESOME!

The AO Show at the Saigon Opera House. Molly's jet lag caught up with her, so she was a bit grumpy tired, but came alive during the show, then was promptly back to grumpy again after the show. The AO show was similar to a cirque du soleil show with live tribal music and impressive acrobatics using bamboo props. We also got an interesting info tour about the theater pre-show and learned about the history of the Opera House built in 1898. Caitlin was thrilled to wear one of her new purchases - an ao dai traditional Vietnamese dress. Rob had surprised us with these tickets to the show that night as we hadn't anything planned and we were so happy with his spontaneity.  

Live from the Saigon rooftop bar! Lychee martini happy. This is where the foreign press watched the smoke rising from the burning American embassy during the fall of Saigon.  We left the kids in their room and had some grown-up time with a magnificent view.

Early morning start, so early night. We stopped at the hotel casino to take a peek and got turned away because we did not have our passports.  Later, my cousin told me that it is because local people are not allowed to gamble so the passport is checked to confirm our foreigner status.

That's a wrap for Saigon (for now). We had a scheduled 7:30am meet time with Jason SSS checking out of our hotel and heading to the Mekong Delta on a 2-day tour. It felt like we had done a lot in our 2 "introductory" days. Now we were going to pick up the pace.  Will you come along for the ride?

Up Next: Vietnam (Day 3) Mekong Delta River Adventure

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