Impression of Vietnam – Day 2 in Saigon (Chapter 1), Imagine How the President used to live!

29 March 2013

I woke up feeling a little bit weird.

Where I am now?

Then I saw a girl sleep next to me. Tra still felt asleep and now the sun already rose above us. I can hear some noises made by motorcycles out there. Once I finally woke up, she’s wake up too. Then I went to take shower first. Then both of us heading to her office first, before went to eat breakfast in a cool place, she mention to me.

Tra works in a cool company. An international company which has some branches world wide. Lucky for her. I was waiting for her a while out side and take a look to daily life of Vietnamese people. It was Friday. In Indonesia, on Good Friday, we have a National Holiday, but not in Vietnam, they are still go to work. OMG, I saw the electricity cables is so crowded! So that’s true what people said about the cable electricity in Vietnam. I have no idea, how the Public Electricity Workers can understand which cable if something broken and need to be fixed.

Once Tra appeared, we both go to eat Pho. Yiiipppiiieee! It will be my first Pho in the Pho’s Country – Vietnam! Yeahh!! It was too big for us. The portion not fit for a breakfast, more as lunch. But the taste is so heavenly delicious! Tra also ordered a sweet desert for both of us, yoghurt with black beans. It tasted sour and sweet. I love it.

The place itself is so cool. It decorated with the atmosphere of outside. Make you feel like you are outdoor, not indoor. The walls they painted with houses painting. They made the floor also look like road street, with some lamps to complete it. Cool idea I think, I haven’t seen this kind of restaurant before.

After our very satisfied breakfast, we went to buy a simcard. Many thanks for Tra who found me the simcard and make me connected to Internet and Blackberry Messenger. It’s good for me to keep in touch with my family and friends in Indonesia. I paid for 80.000 VND (Vietnam Dong) for getting 7 days internet package and some credit to make phone and calls. I feel relieved, we live in modern society, can not live without internet on our hands.. that’s a truth.

Then she dropped me in Reunification Palace, which is located in the heart of Saigon city, at Ben Thanh.  After promise to meet up again for lunch together, she went back to her office and I was continue enter the palace. I paid for 20.000 VND ($1) and the place is open all the week from 7.30 AM to 11.30AM and 1.00PM to 5.00 PM. I saw before some people want to enter the Palace but it’s already closed. They are quite strict with the opening and closing time. Guided tours in English are also available. But I didn’t take that 😛 Getting there is extremely easy by taxi, motorbike or walking, as the palace is so well-known and right in the center.

It’s a huge building which make you understand how the way President use to lived before. When I was there, some children also come inside with their teacher, I think they were in a school tour. A bit noisy, but remind me of my childhood also. They were running from one place to another place. If you’re not get use to noisy, please be prepare with it. For me my self, I wait a bit to visit the places after the kids see it, so I don’t need to throng around with them. It was a extremely hot day, sweating a lot, and won’t be so nice if you jostle with other people in small room.

Reunification palace known as Independence Palace before the fall of Saigon to communists. First built in 1962 as a former Presidential Palace. It consist of 4th floor, and I went to all of them. The palace bombed on April 1975 by the F5E fighter plane. And crush by tank 843 which let to the final assault through the palace gate. You still can see the tank and the fighter plane on the right side after you come enter the gate.

This palace was as home and command center of General Nguyen Van Thieu, Head of a Military Junta who came to power after the first President of South Vietnam was assassinated in 1963. In underground area, you can see many rooms use for commanding, making strategy, telephone or spread communications and information, controlling the war and the army. I guess General is so busy, cause I saw a bed in one of the room underground.

The opposite of dark, mysterious and busy underground area, you can see the first until third floor as place for President to meeting, handling guest or even for pleasure. I saw there’s a playing room and cinema also, very cool! The glamor dining room also bed room and some conference and living room.

On the top of it, there’s a huge hall and an uni-helicopter model  made in US. A copy plane to let you know what General Nguyen Van Thieu use when he went on tours of inspection before 1975.

It’s a worth visit if you are in the city of Saigon!




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