Monday, June 02, 2008

The Heat is on in Saigon

Vietnam Time 9:05 PM Sunday
DC Time 8:05 AM Sunday

Welcome to Saigon and the second half of the journey. Sadly, this hotel doesn’t include free internet so I will only be posting every couple days unless I can scam some free WIFI somewhere. I do love you guys, but it costs $16 USD/day for internet access and only $41 USD for a 75-minute revitalizing facial. Guess what I’m opting for?

OK, so to back up, on Sunday we left Hanoi on a 9:00 am flight and flew 2 hours to Ho Chi Minh City. (I’m calling it Saigon from this point forward because #1 everyone calls it Saigon and #2 it’s easier to type. We got picked up by our guide and went to lunch at the
Chateau Restaurant.

Saigon feels more like a city. It is bigger, has more traffic and more street vendors who try to sell you things each time you exit a building. We are staying at the Caravelle Hotel which is right downtown. It is more like a city hotel and less like a resort. That is actually nicer since there are stores and coffee shops everywhere; a neat change from Hanoi.

The hotel also has the biggest the bed I’ve ever slept in. This is way bigger than a California king. Honestly, if I was in the middle and the phone rang, I couldn’t answer it before the person hung up. Look at my suitcase on one side it.

By the time we left lunch, it was raining. This is rainy season here. Unlike Hanoi which has four seasons, Saigon has the rainy and …well, non-rainy season. Rather than tour the city in the rain, we all opted for checking into the hotel.

Stacey, Stephanie and I decided to check out the spa since we couldn’t really go shopping. I have never had a facial before so I decided to splurge since it was only $41. PEOPLE, why have never told me about these? This is like heaven; face massages, moisturizing lotions, hot towels, neck rubs, cucumber masks and hot tea at the end. Freaking heaven. There is a 1-hour foot massage for $24 that is next on my list. I love this place.

Stacey went back for me, so Steph & I went shopping. We hit galleries and found some great paintings that were out of range. One down street was within range and I really like it, but I will check out more locations before going back. The textiles are fairly reasonable here. Nothing is 12 cents but if you look carefully, you can find some bargains. Chili woman, I found something for you I couldn’t pass up.

Last night was scheduled to be a group dinner and a reception to meet many of the companies we will connect with this week. It urns out that Sunday night is not really a business night for most people so none of the companies RSVP’d to join us. So instead we just had a leisurely dinner at the hotel and went our cliquish ways for the evening. Our group just hit the rooftop bar for a nightcap and view of the city.

A lot of my classmates seem to be tiring of the program; they are tired, miss families, etc. Personally, I feel a little checked out of the business side of this. Two weekend days of fun have made me lose a little focus on why we are here, but Monday it all kicks back in.


Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

Really, Honey? The bed doesn't look all THAT big... I do get what you mean about the phone, though; when Mr. Chili and I go on vacation and end up in a king-size (we sleep in a double at home), we feel like we're sleeping in different zip codes. I don't like it.

I'm off to get an atlas and brush up on my Vietnamese geography - I have NO idea where you are. I mean, I've HEARD of Saigon and I've HEARD of Hanoi, but I have no idea where they are in relation to one another.

Oh, and don't eat anymore bad fish, wouldja? I'm wishing you happy tummy travels from here on out.

And really? Presents?! I'm all giddy-excited now!

Love you! Stay safe!


8:23 AM  

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