Tales from Saigon Pt. 3

Today I woke up later than before because today is a free and easy day. Ruben wasn’t feeling too well so he remained in the room while the parents and I went on a walking tour. We visited the War Remnant Museum at around 10AM (the morning session closes at 12 noon). The museum was really eye-opening and spine-chilling at the same time. I got to see and learn about the lives of the locals during the war period (1955-1975). The Vietnam War is one of the most infamous and historical wars of the region and the world. So many people killed, so many wounded, so many missing. I could only imagine the anguish and devastation of the people during then. I was interested in the use of Agent Orange (a chemical toxin: Dioxin compounds) by the US Forces. Dioxin is one of the deadliest poisons in the world. Fact: 85 grammes (or mg, not too sure) is enough to wipe out an entire population of 8 million. The after effects of the toxin were carried forwards from generation to generation, until today. When I read the stories on the walls, the air grew cold. Tales of decapitation, disembowlment, opening fire, were all too terrifying.

We walked along the busy streets of Ho Chi Minh City. The sea of motorcycles was really endless, that I could not help but be amazed at every traffic light, every traffic junction. To get across you have to tread with faith. If you want to wait for traffic to slow down or stop, you’ll probably never get anywhere. We came across an upmarket commercial area with an event square and several luxury brands and hotels. Reminiscent of Bukit Bintang, I suppose. There is this mall called Vincom Centre that has many many familiar shops that it almost felt like home. The lowest floor of the building is a foodie’s paradise. Half of all the restaurants there are BBQ/hotpot buffets, the thought of the food left me salivating like crazy. Unfortunately for me, I knew that I would not get the chance to try out. Had Carl’s Jr instead, something familiar. NOTE: FOOD IN VIETNAM IS SO MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE AND SO MUCH MORE LAME THAN MALAYSIAN FOOD. MALAYSIA BOLEH! We made our way back to the hotel after that. It rained all of a sudden so we were forced to take shelter and buy cheap (one-use) raincoats to prevent our purchases from getting drenched.

We went out again, this time with Ruben. Time for some shopping! Back to the dreaded Saigon Square. At least this trip was more fruitful than the last. I noticed there were a few iPhone cases that were drop dead gorgeous (at least by my tastes) but they didn’t have any nice ones for the S7 Edge. I guess that’s what I should have expected switching to Galaxy. I selected and purchased a couple of imitation UnderArmour items as well as a pair of ‘Yeezys’ from a shop nearby. Dad is definitely the best and most persistent haggler in the family and I’m probably the most complacent.

Time for food. Walked a whole lot until we ended up back at Vincom Centre and had a rather unfulfilling dinner at this “Hong Kong” restaurant. Still rather bummed that I couldn’t get to eat at one of the buffet outlets, although it was for the best as they were rather pricey and the family wouldn’t really make it worth it.

Walked around the area, explored the high-end square and the “atas” buildings. The Opera house, Bitexco Tower, and other fancy hotels in the area. And the area was packed, there were people everywhere. I still find the locals very rude and uncouth. If you think Malaysians are the worst, you’re wrong. If you think the traffic system in KL is the worst, you’re dead wrong. Motorcycles go in all directions at all times, even riding up on the pedestrian sidewalk. By the end of the night, we were all dead tired from all the walking.

Had a second dinner at De Salita again. This time we ordered the more substantial combo as it was the four of us. The food is actually rather good. The best I have tasted on this trip so far and it’s not even local food. Vietnamese cuisine is pretty bland and meh. No match for our own food.

Right now as of typing, I just took a long warm bath in the bathtub. Soaking myself in a tub of [bath]salted water is so relaxing. Also thank you Samsung for creating the S7 Edge, which is my trusty bath time companion, IP68 rating ftw! I just had another tiny jar of Silky Pudding, which tasted and feels amazing on the tongue (the matcha one was better, I still have another jar in the minibar) and am sipping on a mug of warm honey water. Nights!

– Still rather impressed with the capabilities of the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f1.8 lens, although it being not as versatile as a walkaround lens due to its long focal length at 90mm FF equivalent. But then again, I have a more than capable smartphone camera on the S7 Edge, photos are coming out pretty nice and I have posted over 20 on Instagram already.
– I think I could do better with my photography, because at the end of the day I realise I didn’t actually take that many photos. Also I’m still new at the whole manual thing, so I leave the camera in Auto most of the time in daylight as it’s too mindboggling for me to expose on the fly.


Author: Bryan Yap

Food enthusiast, amateur photographer & aspiring revolutionary

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