Motorcycles of Saigon

Todd and I arrived in Saigon safely yesterday afternoon. After being mildly scammed by the taxi drivers at the airport (they all refused to use their meters) we found a hotel in the "backpacker" part of town. I was expecting this area (called Pham Ngo Lao) to be similar to Bangkok's Khao San Road with more white faces than locals, but luckily there is just a sprinkling of foreigners here.

What there is a lot of, is motorcycles. I've never seen anything like it. The steets are clogged with them. Boys, girls, the old, and the young are all driving helmetless through the streets of Saigon. Waiting on the side of the road for safe passage across the street is futile. You just have to start walking and hope that the moto drivers are wise enough to swerve around you.

After checking into our guest house, we hit the streets. Our first stop was a restaurant/bar that was full of white faces (Oh, so THIS is where they have been hiding!). We ate dinner and drank Saigon Beer, then headed to a dance club, where we sweated profusely in an unbelieveably hot and crowded un-airconditioned disco.

The next stop was an upscale restaurant/bar called Vassco's. I think this place is what the owners of the Ana Madera restaurant in San Francisco were TRYING to do. It was in a beautiful French Colonial style building surrounded by huge palm trees and other tropical plants.

We were supposed to meet Todd's roomate's sister and friend at Vassco's. Apparently, they are very well known in the Vietnamese entertainment industry -- she is a supermodel and the friend is a pop singer. In any case, they weren't there (or, as we later found out, we just didn't recognize them) so we headed to the famous Apocolypse Now bar. At this bar, a local we had been chatting with casually mentioned the famous people where were in attendance that night, and it turned out to be our friends!

We quickly decided to head someplace more quiet, so they took us to a small Vietnamese restaurant full of locals. We sat outside on the sidewalk on tiny plastic stools and gorged on noodle soup, BBQ chicken wings and legs, fried chicken feet, and vegetables. Delicious!

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This page contains a single entry by Stuart published on November 23, 2002 6:35 PM.

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