Day 14: Saigon

**WARNING** This post was draft written 3 years ago and I’ve only just my lazy arse around to finishing it. Everything from here on was written from a combination of notes and a fading memory…

I slept right through the night on my very comfy camp bed (although seemingly I sleep through typhoons, so a few crickets and mischievous rats were never going to stop me!). We had a breakfast of banana pancakes, which seems to be the standard offering to Westerners. It’s very yummy, but my tour group all agreed that we would’ve liked a proper Vietnamese breakfast instead – i.e. a noodle soup beefy broth called ‘pho’. We caught a boat to the mainland and transferred to a coach headed to Saigon. It was weird to be back in a huge modern city after so long in small towns and villages. I must admit I didn’t enjoy it as much, and wished we’d had a couple more days in the jungle or Halong bay instead of Saigon. We took a cyclo tour through the city early in the morning to visit the war remnants museum before the crowds hit. It’s a museum dedicated to the Vietnam war (which the Vietnamese understandably call the American war). It contains lots of the usual war museum stuff – tanks, planes, uniforms, guns etc. But one of the rooms was full of jars of malformed embryos in liquid. So very very creepy. The embryos were essentially miscarried as a result of Agent Orange being dumped on the land by the Americans (and associated troops). The museum walls said the negative effects of Agent Orange still persist in the country today. After a sombre morning, we then cycloed off to reunification palace. By this timing it was raining, which fuelled the already dampened post-museum spirits of the group. We eventually cheered up on a full cyclo tour, during which we were taken down the posh streets (Prada, Gucci etc!) and eventually ended at our final hotel for the trip. Our guide arranged for us to go to a lovely lovely restaurant for our final meal which had an AMAZING view across the twinkling lights of the city. I had an incredible beef curry, which reminded me of more typical coconut-based Thai-style curry – apparently this is typical of richer southern Vietnamese food. I also had a lemongrass/lychee cocktail which was soooo nice! It still felt weird to be back to richer Western-style living, but that cocktail and that food made everything ok! After dinner we were allowed up onto the rooftop for a proper look at the amazing view, and took a few final photos of the group as a farewell. It was bittersweet having to leave, but by now I was looking forward to going home. By the time we got back to the hotel I was shattered, and very ready for bed. So at that particular point I was rather glad of my Saigon Western-style mattress and Western-style duvet!!

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