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  • Day56

    Saigon, Here We Come

    April 12, 2018 in Vietnam ⋅ ☀️ 35 °C

    After leaving Ben Tre, our boat headed straight for Saigon — aka Ho Chi Minh City — Vietnam’s largest city. Our tour guide, Phiem, had told us that we should gather on the front deck to watch the scene as we passed from the Mekong into the Saigon River. I wasn’t exactly sure what we were supposed to see, but I proceeded to the deck.

    For the past week, as we had cruised along the Mekong, we had seen lots of houses built on the river banks, small to mid-sized vessels, and fish farms. As we headed into the Saigon River, it was as if we had entered a watery highway — there was traffic on the river, and many of the vessels were substantial container ships! The number of vessels that we saw astonishing. As we watched the passing parade, we noticed that even on the large vessels, there was still laundry on the back deck, hammocks in the wheelhouse, and men squatting on the floor as they steered the wheel. Someone spotted a young child playing in a big bucket on the deck of one of the ships. And, as we smiled as the passing parade, we were met with waves and smiles.

    As the afternoon wore on, we started to see the skyline of Saigon, a big metropolitan city. Knowing that our cruise was coming to an end, we exchanged emails addresses with the pals that we had made on the trip — Gail and Dennis, a retired couple from Ottawa who now live in Mexico and travel all over the world (listening to their stories was tremendous fun, and gave me a huge appreciation for how delightful retirement can be); Paola and Steve, a couple from Australia with whom we laughed and laughed (Paola, who has lived all over the world, charmed us with her stories and Steve made us howl with laughter as he talked about biking, motorcycling and moving to meet Paola whom he only knew casually); and John and Debbi (recently retired, living in Toronto, and simply charming). What a lovely week.

    As the sun set over the bridge at the end of town, Arie and I packed our bags, and started to get ready for the very last leg of our sabbatical adventure — two days in Saigon.
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    Hope Ratner

    Such a different take since you first boarded with trepidation concerning the cruise itself and the company, :)

    4/16/18Reply
    DORIT PERRY

    Beautiful entrance

    4/17/18Reply