Posted by: Gary Guertin | October 17, 2008

Saigon, Phu My Port, Vietnam

Hi All,

As I write this Saigon entry we are sailing for Bangkok and I have a new tool, Microsoft Word, to help me write these Blog entries and perhaps compensate for some of my bad spelling and English. I was fortunate to get a loaner laptop from the ship’s Internet café, speeding up my ability to keep you up-to-date.  As of today, Oct. 17th I’ve posted two ports, Da Nang and this one, Saigon, so I’m caught up.

We sailed into Phu My Port, the major port for Saigon yesterday, Oct. 16th. Saigon is 70 miles and over a two hour bus ride from the port so we decided to take a full day tour called “Sensational Saigon”. Yes, the bus travels a speed of 35 miles an hour, both because of the traffic (all scooters) and it is the national speed limit for buses. They say the traffic fatalities are very high due to the number of scooters, so the low speed limit for large vehicles helps reduce accidents.

Turning to the photo album above called “Saigon, Phu My Port, Vietnam” the first photo is the port sign.

Our first stop when we finally reached Saigon (the bus ride was not only slow but the roads were horrible, very bumpy) was the Thao Camvien Saigon Zoo & Botanical Gardens. In the layout you can see it is very large and although I got many pictures I’ll show you only one of Susy walking on the grounds with her newly purchased Vietnamese hat. Now for a couple of local photos, the first of a couple on a scooter pick-up loaded with straw. Next, one each of a boy and a girl we ran into as we were leaving the gardens.

I mentioned several times the number of scooters we saw, but the next photo shows you what happens at a stop light when it is red. They are much like a swarm of bees.

Next stop was the Unification Palace, (next photo) which was the presidential palace during the Vietnam War and in the basement we saw the center of communications for the Americans commanders during that time. Now the center of government is in Hanoi.  Leaving the palace I got a photo of a lady carrying fruit, etc. over her shoulder with a stick. I asked Susy if she thought of carrying her stuff like that when she had too much to carry and she answered, “What do you think I have you for?” (Oh, well).

Last stop was the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, the tenth photo showing the front of the museum. Inside were 19th and 20th century art, Buddha statues, etc., all new stuff so we didn’t spend much time there. What we did get was a photo of a newly married couple on their wedding photo shot because the steps that go up to the first floor are famous for wedding photo poses. Of interest, our guide told us that the bride never buys their wedding dress in Vietnam, but for about $200.00 US they rent 3 dresses, including the bridal gown.

OK I know I went over my 10 photos again, so what the heck, here’s a twelfth, a sign on a store on our way back to the ship which advertises “ Great American Hamburgers & Ice Cream”. Reminded us of home.

As we sailed off for Bangkok, both Susy and I agreed we had no desire to return to Vietnam even though our Guide had told us it was the richest of the former Indo-China countries (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos). If this was the richest, I would hate to see the other two.

Love to All,

Gary (alias Gagu)


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