Friday Jan 15. Sightseeing in Saigon

Written by Jack van Ommen on January 15th, 2010

I arrived here exactly two weeks ago but with all that I have seen and experienced it feels like more than a month ago that I left San Francisco. And the real exploration takes off tomorrow for a one month trip through Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. I switched hotels once again. I liked where I stayed in the $20 room but this one for $18 is better and has better WiFi reception. My camera battery charger gave the spirit and I replaced it with a better version for $ 15.00; I looked at a larger zoom lens. Eight times stronger than the 28 to 200 mm I have now. This would be especially useful on the water, to pull in birds, whales etc. The costs is less here than in the Sates. It will only raise your subscriptions by $ 5.00 a month. I am tempted.

The next stop was at the Historical Museum in the Zoological and Botanical garden. This museum was built in 1927. It tells a very complete story about the history of Vietnam from prehistoric times onward. The Mongol invasion, wars with the Chinese, Thais and civil wars with different region’s war lords. The Cham (Hindhu) periodfrom 600 to 1100 B.C., of which descendants still remain in Vietnam. I stopped for my $ 1.00 Bun Cha Gio at the Cercle Sportif. I had my 1962 membership card printed out and I just could not help my self and show it to everyone around the pool. Andre was there again. What a character. He has a joke repertoire in French that had me cracked up for an hour.

Never before have I ever wished for a dentist appointment to last longer. I have been crowned and have no reason anylonger to look forward to have these gentle Asian ladies poke around in my mouth. 

Second sightseeing destination was the Thien Hau Temple a fair distance, to the West, from the center of Saigon. With the bicycle it was no challenge. As a matter of fact a bicycle is faster than a taxi because they just keep getting bogged down in traffic. This temple was built by Taoist Buddhist Chinese immigrants from Fujien/Canton in 1760.  There are many Thien Hau temples built by immigrants from S.E. China in coastal towns in Vietnam and elsewhere, there is one on Nobb Hill in San Francisco and one in Los Angeles China Town. Lady Lam Tuc Mac. According to the “Polity Chronicle of the Great Qing”, Lam Tuc Mac was the Goddess of Sea. She was born on March 23 (lunar year) and was the sixth daughter of Lam Nguyen, a native of Fujian province. This particular temple has some exceptional fine wall friezes depicting, for example, a dragon dance. The birthday of Lady Lam Tuc Mac  is March 23rd. The day that I return from Saigon to San Francisco.

It’s getting time to head towards the air port to meet Iris, my travel companion for the coming month.

 

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