Saigon, Sunday, September 30th, 2007
Posted by Lisa Hill on October 20, 2007
Its official name is Ho Chi Minh City, but everyone still calls it Saigon. We flew in from Hoi An, trouble free, and checked in at The Grand Hotel, which despite its imposing front desk, isn’t grand at all. Our view was downright ugly – a construction site, complete with a crane and concrete blocks, which for some bizarre reason needed to be moved about, noisily, late at night. Not the hotel’s fault, admittedly, but the indifferent service certainly was, and we would not recommend this hotel.
The BBQ dinner at the 3T Restaurant was not for the faint-hearted. We followed Long across a maze of streets, and upstairs onto a roof terrace which was packed with diners, mostly Vietnamese. They made a space for us and we sat down to barbecue our dinners on a burner at the table. The waiters brought out successive plates of this and that, which Tim expertly turned over with his chopsticks, aided and abetted by Ken with the basting spoon. All was well until they brought out the prawns, which were skewered, but still alive! It seemed best to put them out of their misery by cooking them as quickly as possible, but the more squeamish among us could not make ourselves eat them…
Long, an excellent guide who made the whole tour a pleasure, then took us downstairs to Fanny’s, which sells the most astonishing ice-creams! We had expected him to want to spend his first night back at home in Saigon with his girlfriend, but no, he set this night up on his own initiative so that we would have some fun on our first night in his home town. I had a sorbet called The Colonel (lemon sherbet and vodka) and Tim had a Havana (rum and raisin with bacardi and coconut). Very refreshing!