Although it started out as a work trip to Ho Chi Minh City. I had 3 free days after and decided to visit some of the more famous landmarks and dabble a little in the cafe scene and the local morning scene. =)
Ho Chi Minh City. Also known as Saigon. Is named after the leader of Vietminh. Ho Chi Minh. What was once a small fishing village grew and became a metropolitan hub. A lot of historical sites are still around with a good mix of cityscapes. (read more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ho_Chi_Minh_City)
In the 3 free days I had. Besides the daily drinks I had. The cafe hopping I did. 2 things stood out among the rest: catching the AO show in the Saigon Opera House and having breakfast in the park with the locals amidst the chirping and songs of the birds. Photo blog to ensue. =)
First up. Saigon Opera House. 'One of Ho Chi Minh City's most prominent landmarks, the Saigon Opera House was custom built in 1897 by French architect Eugene Ferret. In 1955 it was transformed into South Vietnam's Assembly House and has undergone several refurbishments since. It is only open to the public during events.' (read: http://www.citypassguide.com/en/destination/ho-chi-minh-city/attractions/architecture/the-opera-house)
The only way to see the interior of the House was to go for a show. Which was what I did with 3 other friends! =D
An old school chandelier.
The art student captured this shot of me 'coz I want the chandelier by the pillar..'
And here we are in a row: second row seats for USD$50!
The interior of the hall. I was telling the art friend that it would be simply awesome if it was a Shakespeare play instead. Old Victorian style of building with an old English play.. Le sigh.
Night view of the Opera House.
Before I went on this trip. I was planning to catch the birds in song at the local park: Tao Dan Park. It was something interesting that I picked up as I was reading my Lonely Planet guide. (read: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/vietnam/ho-chi-minh-city/sights/parks-gardens/tao-dan-park). So instead of sleeping in after late night out. I crawled out of bed and met a friend and off we went in search of the birds (and of course breakfast)!
The pushcart for drinks. Limited drinks.
And food. I only saw eggs. Bread. Vege.
This was the scene in the park. Retirees and people on the way to work grabbing a drink.
Actually I wanted hot tea. But it came as tea + ice + sugar + calamasi = iced lemon tea. But my friend got her iced coffee right. =)
A simple breakfast.
And the activities in the park.
A scene where bird owners were 'sunning' their birds in the morning sunshine. Only from 7am to 9am daily. After 9am. Most of the birds are brought away.
Finally my hot tea and friend's iced coffee (again). =)
Sometimes all I want during my travels is to indulge myself in what the locals do. That's how I learn and get to know their culture better. =)