Hello Saigon [HCM Part 1]
April 2, 2012 Ho Chi Minh

Leaving for Ho Chi Minh from LCCT on a Saturday evening is a quiet affair. LCCT is quieter than usual. My flight has been delayed by 20 minutes. I am greeted with warm hospitality by a businessman to whom I am acquainted to onboard the flight. His name is Leo and he offered me a lot of tips on travel and Vietnam. He leaves his number for me to call in case I am laden with troubles throughout my stay in Ho Chi Minh. A man with character, he is.

He asks me, “Are you married?”
I answer, “No, I’m not. I am still single”.
To my surprise, he says, “I’m sorry!”
I retort, “You don’t have to feel sorry that I’m not married. I’m happy with my life now”.
To that, we both burst into laughter. I trust he gets my message through that answer.

As we arrive at the airport, we quickly pay for Vinasun taxi to our hotel, Hong Thien Loc Hotel, located at District 1. At 9p.m. local time, Ho Chi Minh City is still bustling. The traffic is smooth flowing with a lot of honking around. One notable feature of Ho Chi Minh is thousands of motorcycle plying Saigon’s narrow streets.
[Vinasun Taxi from the airport to Pham Ngu Lao is VD170,000.00 for 15 minutes ride]

Ogle eyes through the taxi window and we see…

Fashionable helmets that expose the ears of the wearer; we believe such exposure is essential for the riders to listen to the never ending honks, Young ladies sit crossing legs as they act pillion rider as the boyfriends or husbands caress their legs while riding the motorcycle. Our taxi driver is a weird gentleman that he does not speak even a word after being bombarded by questions. We take it that he does not understand English.

Tough luck as the hotel I booked and paid for via Agoda is deceiving in many ways. First, we are asked to pay extra USD10 for we have only booked for a room for 2. When I ask for another bed to be added in at a cost, the staff denies our request and insists on us paying extra USD10 per night. It is stated inside the website we can request for an extra bed.
Second, the hotel is nowhere near the central market of Ben Thanh Market. I will narrate how rude was the staff to us, not even a single smile was flashed to us.

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