Ho Chi Minh City
July 18, 2003
Dear Family and Friends,
I am sitting in the lobby of the Riverside Hotel, a charming colonial style building with tile floors, Corinthian columns, and French provincial furniture. Recently renovated, the hotel overlooks the broad, container ship-filled Saigon River.
Greeting me each morning is an attractive staff of smiling young men and young women who wear the traditional outfit of colorful long flowing dresses over loose fitting pants. (They giggled when I translated "Besame Mucho" that was playing over the lobby music system.) The rate includes full breakfast of Asian soups, omelets to order, fresh fruit and salads, strong coffee.
Today is a "non-tourist" day. I take a leisurely breakfast and try to make some plans with my books and maps. I think I have a route, but then my impatience just drives me out the door.