At 9 AM I met up with them at the zoo after getting stuck in traffic. Believe it or not, but the Saigon Zoo is actually a great place to check out some animals you wouldn't see normally. There were tiger cubs and new giraffes on display. Contrary to what most people think, the exhibits were alright and pretty decent. In fact, the zoo in Yangon is a lot more depressing.
Luu had some bot chien at the zoo as I watched. Then we both glanced across the street at Vuvuzuela to see Vietnam's version of Hooters. They weren't open yet, so we went to the UP Cafe where the theme is upside furniture. As lunch time approached we hit up the Lunch Lady. This was my first time there after Old Boy told me how great her noodles were. I was skeptical at first, but the food was very good. The broth was excellent. The quality of her ingredients were no joke. They were much higher and thus her prices are a little bit higher, but not by much. You really get what you pay for. I will definitely come back in the future. And yes, there were plenty of foreigners there, as well as locals. The Lunch Lady thought I was a tour guide. I'll take it as a compliment. Then the touristy Saigon Square came into play. We strolled around for a bit. This was where Candace got her Saigon kiss as some dude parked his hot bike in the way and her leg hit the muffler. We iced that thing down as Luu and I sipped on sugar cane. Back in Saigon Square I managed to barter down a pair of earrings by 50,000 Dong. I felt extremely proud of myself. Then we hit up Bui Thi Xuan to check out a software shop. I actually visited this place the first few days of coming to Vietnam. It's amazing what you can buy for a dollar. Then we swung by the backpackers area to exchange some money as well as to buy some trinkets and beads as souvenirs. Somewhere around this time and the midday heat demoralizing our souls, we headed over to the War Museum for a brief look at The War that resonates in all the souls of Viet kieu one way or another. There were so many foreigners there. It's an awesome place with cold AC, worthwhile to check out for sure. Then when we looked at everything, I took them to Binh Xuyen to eat some burnt rice and to do a little bit of fishing. At around 4:30 we embarked and hit crazy traffic and visited Tran Xuon Song St, which runs along a canal riverfront area in District 7. Some houses are built directly into the water with metal sheets. We strolled down this area a little bit watching the boats carrying fruit in. We mingled with the fruit vendors and pedestrians for a bit. Most of the sidewalk vendors didn't seem so friendly. Maybe it was because Luu took his shirt off for the world to see. We even met a dude who caught some catfish too. Then before dinner time, I decided to head back home to wash up and refresh. When we got into my building, the skies unleashed typhoon like rains and winds. We rested at my house a bit and Candace performed surgery on herself because her burn mark had blistered up from the humidity. Boy, was it humid and hot that day. I was going to take them on a walking tour of Phu My Hung, but the constant drizzle meant that we were forced to take a slow cab ride. I wanted them to appreciate the fact that Vietnam can be modern. Luu had scared his girlfriend into thinking that in Vietnam she would have to poop in a hole that she dug herself. I wanted for them to see the modernity and the Crescent Mall is a great place to show proof of that. We strolled around for a bit. We were getting hungry as I showed them the Star Light Bridge for a bit. Then on our way out we were approached by some gym employees who proceeded to give us a tour of the facilities. Nina and her boyfriend are coming soon. She is a gym freak. I wanted to scope things out for her ahead of time. But prices were incredibly high. I mean, Ho Ngoc Ha herself works out there. Maybe that's reason for me to join yoga? Afterwards we took a cab and picked Kikki up and ate at Oc Oanh. I tried some oc that I have never tried before. They were great. Thanks to Kikki for helping me eat the crab claws. I felt like a little boy who had to wait on his mother to feed him. By now I was pretty exhausted. All three of us were. We walked and seen more of Saigon in a day than most tourists will ever see it. We saw the richest and the poorest areas. We did everything. So it was time to bid farewell. A little somber. Hugs all around as locals looked at us and wondered why Asians were hugging each other. Since the night was still young and it was pretty rare to see Kikki, I wanted to make the most of it. So sinh to on Nguyen Trai followed, but unfortunately, that scene was either dead or dead from the rain. So we went across the street to Phuc Long Coffee across from the first Starbucks. They were about to close, and we sat there and sipped some milk tea for a bit before we were asked to leave nicely. Feeling like we had just gotten there, we opted to visit the backpackers area again and sat on the corner in a more quiet environment as opposed to the Crazy Buffalo intersection. The waiter thought that we were Singaporean because we spoke English so well. It was funny to blurt out Vietnamese and claim that I'm from Bien Hoa, Dong Nai. We spoke and sipped on our tea and whatever else we had ordered. The rains came down gently now. Then before I knew it the night was over. I dropped Kikki off at her house and rode home in a quiet taxi by myself barely able to keep my eyes open. When I got home I was fully alert even though I had to wake up and begin the workweek in a mere few hours. Then I sat down and wrote this and decided that I would write the whole day in one big unedited blob of a paragraph just so you get the idea of how loaded the day was. I'm going to miss my friends because a taste of home is always good. But I know that I have new friends here, and returning friends like Nina, Seb, and Marn will all be making appearances soon in the KyleLe.net universe. For the first time, thanks to some recent people who I met, KyleLe.net is starting to make more sense. the .net stands for Kyle Le's network for friends in Vietnam. It makes sense. It makes a lot of sense. I'll be in Bangkok very soon. Sorry for the brevity in blog postings. I promise to write more often. If all else goes well, I'll see Yangzom in a few days. Exciting times ahead. I want all my friends to get to know each other and hang out and have adventures. April is going to come over in October. I can't wait. Oh man. I can't wait. for new adventures to come. The best part is you're going to see it all.
a lot more to come.