Tour Ho Chi Minh City on a Vesper then bus to My Tho to join the Scenic Spirit.
31.01.2017 32 °C
Slightly later start this morning, as our Vesper ride around the city starts at 9.00 am. Elfi not too well this morning, so she is not coming with us. Her cold has come back and she has a headache. Phil is also coughing and spluttering and I am still coughing but am on the mend and haven't had an uncontrollable coughing fit since yesterday. Fingers crossed that that stage has passed. Ingrid is the only one who is well!
Wow, wow, wow! Just had the best morning - whizzing through the streets of Saigon on a Vesper with Phil and Ingrid. We were supposed to start the tour at 8 am but put it off until 9. We hopped on our Vespers, helmets and all, and off we went. We stopped shortly after at a coffee shop to discuss the itinerary. Because we had cut the tour short, we opted not to visit a few places on the list, as we had been there yesterday, eg the Reunification Palace.
it is just exhilirating riding through the streets on the back of a Vesper. There is a little handle to hand on to but I felt safer hanging on to the driver and asked him if this was okay and he said yes.
First stop was the bird park. Now this was wierd. The Vietnamese buy espensive birds and keep them in a cage at home. Then they bring them to the local bird park so they can interact with other birds and learn to whistle!
We visited the memorial of the monk who emoliated himself in 1960 in protest of the Government cracking down on all religions, especially Buddhism. His car is in Hue and we saw it 10 years ago. His heart woulde not burn and even after his emoliation, they tried to burn his heart and it still wouldn't burn, and it is now stored in a vault in a Saigon bank.
We drove through a tunnel under the Saigon River to view Ho Chi Minh City from the other side. These fishermen were casting their net in the very muddy river.
We also visited the cathedral.
Phil and Ingrid went back to the hotel at 11 am but my driver and I continued on until 11.30 am. I just didn't want to get off. It was so much fun. We stopped at this park and took some photos.
I was dropped off at the hotel at 11.30 am and at 12 noon we checked out of the hotel and all walked across the street for lunch. It was lovely.
The waiter gave this dry ice snack to try and we all had steam / smoke coming out our mouths and noses. Very funny.
Bye bye the Park Hyatt Saigon.
Then on the bus for the two hour drive to the Scenic Spirit. The traffic is quite good leaving Ho Chi Minh City but it is very busy the other way with everyone returning to the city from the New Year holiday weekend.
We stopped for a Happy Place visit at this road side place and it was so picturesque. The lily pads were impressive.
This is one of the best photos I have ever taken. It just happened. As I was taking the photo, the girl walked into the centre of it. One of those magical photographic moments.
Fifteen minutes later we arrived at the Scenic Spirit and were met at the gang plank by the Captain, Eric from France and Paula from Australia. Our cabin is lovely. It is similar to the Scenic Aura but wider and a different configeration. Didn't think it could get much better, but it is.
They had "heard" that Phil liked to have a banana and tomato juice before breakfast and they were in our suite. They had a bottle of Hennessy Brandy (that is not available at the bar) in the suite for Phil and a bottle of Verve Clicquot for me. There are jars of sweet biscuits, chocolates (where is Mike), peanuts and chips, orchids in pots everywhere and a masseuse for give us a neck massage after our bus ride. Just wonderful. Also, we have $330 USD on board credit and I will definitely be having a massage while on board.
We unpacked, and changed and went to the lounge for the welcome briefing. Then into dinner with Ingrid and Elfie and David and Margaret from Melbourne. Elife is not well and went to bed straight after dinner. Phil is coughing and spluttering everywhere and I am finally on the mend. I haven't had a coughing fit all day!
Just a note re my pjs. When I was packing my bag at the hotel in Ho Chi Minh City this morning, I couldn't find my pyjamas and thought I may have already packed them or maybe Phil had picked them up by mistake and we would find them when we unpacked on the ship. But no, no pjs. I have no idea where they are or why anyone would take them because they are my old ones and fraying around the edges. Maybe when they changed the bed they got caught up in the linen? But on reflection, the bed was still unmade and the pyjames totally gone. Where are they?
We have died and gone to heaven. The Scenic Spirit is divine! This week will just fly!
Postscript to the pyjamas story - Phil was asleep on the bed when housekeeping came so they cleaned the bathroom but didn't disturb him. Later, when we went out, they came in and changed the bed linen. My pyjamas were under the pillow and they must have got caught up in the linen and no one noticed, because no one would pinch such a grotty pair of pjs.