Saturday, January 17, 2009

Impressions of Saigon

Before arriving I had read Anthony Bourdain's "A Cook's Tour," which has several chapters on his travels in Vietnam, all of which are centered around food. I also did a fair bit of online research on traveling Saigon. I wasn't really expecting to be awe inspired, or to find Saigon that interesting. It didn't have that many photogenic landmarks, ancient monuments, the kind of things that jump out of a travel porn book.

Looks are deceiving. Photos can't capture atmosphere either.

What makes Saigon interesting isn't the landmarks, its the crazy kinetic atmosphere of the place. The morning after we arrived I got up early to get some coffee and to get a feel for the neighborhood. Between the sweat, humidity, auto exhaust, honking horns, vehicle and pedestrian traffic going every which way, and street vendors badgering me to spend my money, the first thought that went into my head was;

"Yeah baby...I'm home!"

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