Emboldened by the lack of illness from the Ca Phe Den with ice that I had for breakfast yesterday, and despite the constant drizzle of rain today, I head back to Bistro 9 to try the Ca Pha Sua Da – Vietnamese coffee with milk (and ice) and am rewarded with yet another delicious cup of wake-me-up.
Watching the construction work take place at the Rex Hotel across the road, I sit in stunned contemplation. Safety is certainly not a priority here as the helmetless foreman, cigarette in hand, leans over a window opening (no safety harness) to direct a truck that is back up below. Another helmetless worker dumps wheelbarrows full of concrete rubble over a similar window opening (again no harness) into the truck, three stories below, rubble and dust freefalling down the front of the construction.
Back home, that job would have been stopped – or rather, it wouldn’t have even started when the workers rocked up sans safety boots. A harness carrying sacks of cemet is pulled up to another window, swaying madly and on an angle.
The rain seems to have settled in, and with nothing much more I want to do out in the heat, I people watch from my hotel window, watching people go about their Monday morning.
I bid farewell to Moon and Uncle G at the dock, having had a really nice time, and board the ancient Russian ferry back to Saigon.
My next hotel is a cute little place called Townhouse 50, not far from the Ben Thahn Markets, which I have no intention of visiting. My last trip here consisted of a t-shirt and knickers hunt after my luggaged failed to arrive in Vietnam at the same time as I did, so I consider my trip to the markets done.
What I didn’t get to see was the War Remnants Museum and that is particularly what I wanted to visit this time around. There’s plenty of time to do that this afternoon, so I take a deep breath and head out onto the crazy streets of Saigon. Its quite the journey trying to find my way amongst the maze of streets, dodging scooters that have decided to ride on the footpath and trying not to stack it on broken, upended bits of concrete, but I finally make it.
Four floors of exhibitions relating to what the Vietnamese refer to as the “American War”, and all of them packed with tourists. Tourists going the wrong way around the exhibition, tourists standing in front of exhibits for way too long while bigger and bigger groups of tourists cluster around them…I should have known better. Normally, I would grin and bear it but for some reason today, it is really grating on me. I just can’t make the most of my time here and I’m annoyed (in hindsight, I should have returned early one morning before everyone else like I normally do instead of braving the afternoon session).
So I return to the hotel area instead and make it in time for happy hour at the MZ Wine Restaurant. I’ll start exploring tomorrow.