Monday, January 15, 2018

It’s Amazing what People Carry on Bikes- Saigon to Phnom Penh, Cambodia

I just got back a few more pictures of Saigon’s unique traffic. I am amazed at the things people manage to transport on their small bikes.

They even have their own type of Uber here...and other similar ride programs.

I’ve also included more pictures from last night’s foodie tour with XO Tours. I highly recommend this tour. It was so much fun.

Today was Cora’s birthday. The hotel restaurant made her a special “Happy Birthday” omelet.

After breakfast, we grabbed a cab to the main entrance of Ben Thành Market where we met with the chef/teacher from The Vietnamese Cookery Centre. She took us through the market explaining to us about the different ingredients used in Vietnamese cooking.

I felt a little badly when I saw all the live frogs in mesh bags waiting to be killed, gutted and eaten. 

After the market we went to the cooking school which is located in the building where the final helicopter evacuation took place after the Vietnam War. I later took a picture of the building but it was from the opposite side from the famous evacuation photo. A high rise now blocks the original picture’s vantage point.

The cooking class was great especially since there were only five of us so we received lots of personal attention. We made rice paper spring rolls, ginger rice, a lovely marinated fish, a fish and vegetable soup and a coconut cream banana dessert. I think that I will be able to closely replicate the recipes when I am home. At the end of the class we received a picture book of the ingredients, a recipe book and certificates. Cora received a notebook as a birthday gift...very thoughtful.

We then walked back to our hotel, passing the Canadian embassy and stopping at a coffee shop for Vietnamese iced coffee. Vietnamese coffee is extra strong.

From the hotel, we took a cab to the airport. Cabs here are quite inexpensive.

I don’t normally have caffeine so I shouldn’t have been surprised to be wired to vibration pitch a few hours after having the Vietnamese iced coffee. Note to self...

We flew Viet Jet (45 minute flight) to Phnom Penh. My tummy was a little off but nothing too serious. Probably the coffee.

Traffic was congested in Phnom Penh especially with a slowdown for construction just outside the airport. Traffic volume consists  of motorbikes mixed with tuktuks, trucks, vans, SUVs, cars and the odd bus. Sirens were continually going off.  The drive to the hotel was over an hour, longer than our flight from Vietnam.  I just wanted to get out of the traffic and into our hotel. 

We were dropped off shortly after 8pm at the end of an alley off the street. The walk up the alley to our hotel, The Blue Lime Hotel was unimpressive, but once we entered the front lobby we were very pleased. Our rooms with king size beds were clean and well equipped. 

After the long drive, none of us were up to walking the town so we went to the lovely poolside bar area which was an oasis of peace and quiet after the honking congestion.

Cora and I ordered mint tea and the pumpkin carrot soup which was incredibly delicious. John had fresh spring rolls with a cocktail and we celebrated Cora’s birthday before heading to bed.

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