Ho Chi Minh City: "Young and Noisy"

Ho Chi Minh City


July 18, 2003 

Heavy Rain



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.

Tay Ninh: "Towers and Temples"

Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

July 21, 2003

On my flight from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City, I met Mi, a lovely young woman who was returning home from a business trip. Mi owns the Cara Nguyen Fashion Design Company. I called her and she invited me for lunch.

I met Mi and her sisters at a beautiful restaurant. We consumed a remarkable amount of food and had a great time. Since Mi was busy with her business, she suggested that her sister be my unofficial tour guide for the day. Sounded good to me.


Dalat: "Cool Climb"

Central Highlands

July 22, 2003

OK “Blinky.” Here's one for you....


Flew from HCMC to Dalat... Hilltop city on a lake. Cool ... need sweater ... didn't bring one. Rain sometimes ... need a jacket ... didn't bring one. Chilly at night.

Pine mountains, green valleys, vegetable farms, coffee trees.

Signed up for hike-tour. My group for the day: man and wife from Montreal with their twenty-two year old adopted Vietnamese daughter. She speaks French, Spanish, English with a French accent and only a little Vietnamese.