Published: June 19th 2012June 19th 2012
Today we were up well and truly before the birds but not before the locals. We'd decided to get up at sunrise (5:20am) to wander down to the park and see what was going on. Well, half of Ho Chi Minh City was out and about. Not working, but doing their exercises in the park before it got too hot. People running laps, some doing a group dance/aerobics class others watching on from a distance and doing it. Whether this avoided them paying or maybe they didn't like the pressure of doing it in a group, I'm not sure. Either way, good on them for getting out there and doing it, it made me want to join them, almost.
After a quick walk around we went back to the hotel to resume sleeping. We woke again at 8:45am and decided to go and get our free breakfast. We sat up on the rooftop for a while pondering how to spend our day.
We were originally going to catch a public bus out to a water park that was 18.5kms away but decided to give it a miss. Instead we packed our swimmers and made our way to The Rex Hotel.
The Rex Hotel, besides obviously being a hotel, houses shops such as Cartier, Coach and various other high end brands in its lobby, but more importantly, it has a roof top pool and bar that you can use as a non-guest at a charge. It cost us 176,000VND or about $8.50 but for that we go a towel, a locker, and access to the pool and the steam room. Expensive for here but a steal if we were at home.
We layed by the pool ( with the occasional dip) for a good couple of hours before we decided it was time for a steam. We sat in the 46degree steam room for about 10minutes when it got too hot and we had to leave. We showered, changed and left the hotel in search of food.
We came across Pho24 again so this time had Pho Ga. It's the same as yesterday but it had chicken instead of beef. Loved it. I also ordered coconut juice. It's not like at home where you'd most likely get it in a can, here it comes, well, in a coconut. Go figure. They cut the top off and give you a straw and a spoon.
After lunch we made our way back to the CaliSpa where we'd had our foot massage the day before. This time we were headed in for a massage.
We decided on an Essential Oil Massage at on 140,000 ($7) for 45mins. They did back, legs both front and back, arms, head and face. It was bliss. Someone would have to pay me a hell of a lot more that $7 to do all that.
After that we headed back in the direction of the hotel, stopped in at the stop-n-go for a strawberry cornetto and then back to the hotel for a shower and chill. We got cleaned up and headed down to Cafe Eleven to have a drink to fill in some time before our tour meeting at 6:00pm.
We had our meeting with our tour leader Bruce that went for about an hour. It was basically just a run down of the going-ons of the coming days, who everyone was etc.
In the group there are (other than Jess and I) one older Canadian lady - Jean, one older NZ man - John, one older NZ woman - Gaye, one girl from Brisbane - Carly, one girl from Adelaide - Sarah Jane, one couple from UK - Anand and Bhavina and the remaining three girls are from NZ - Amy, Hannah and Rachel oh and Bruce the tour guide who's originally from Melbourne. So that's that.
After the meeting we made our way to a little restaurant for Banh Xeo - traditional Vietnamese pancakes. Jess and I got 3 dishes to share. We got Canh Ga Chien Nuvoc Mam or fried chicken wings with fish sauce, Bi Cuon or Pork skin rolls and the Bahn Xeo - traditional Vietnamese savory pancake. And I also got another coconut juice. The pork skin rolls weren't great but the rest was fine.
After dinner we walked back to the hotel and called into the convienience shop on the way for nibbles for our overnight train trip tomorrow night. Up early tomorrow so we packed up our stuff and hit the hay early.