It started as soon as I got to my hotel in Saigon. Sam met me in the lobby. I got on the back of his scooter and we went to go grab some lunch (Mango Salad) at one of his favorite places for about $3. Then, he gave me a SIM card for my iPhone (about $4). Voila—I had good phone and internet service. He set up my scooter-centric food tour (read about it in the Anchorage Daily News). Then, I took the night train to Hue, where I met Mr. Thanh. Back on the scooter for a tour of this ancient capital of Vietnam including the Citadel and a visit to Bunker Hill …site of a big battle during the Vietnam War (Tet Offensive in 1968). Planes are faster than trains or scooters…that’s how I got up to Hanoi. There, Mr. Huy met me with a scooter. Lots of pictures…lots of stories. Below….some pictures..
My first scooter ride in Saigon. Note: I was riding, not driving!
"Saigon Sam" was my Vietnam expert. He knows everything and everybody. Here, we stop at his favorite lunch spot for some mango salad. DEE-LISSHH.
Ya, mango salad with Sam and my first-ever iced coffee.
Nice views of the Saigon River from the rooftop bar at Hotel Majestic.
Huong and Pumba from Saigon On Bikes start setting up for DIY Spring Rolls.
Scooters, scooters everywhere.
The night train to Hue.
My bunk on the train.
Rice patties? We saw 'em in Hue with Mr. Thanh. And yes, I'm on a new scooter.
Rural fish market near Hue.
The Citadel in Hue. Hue used to be the capital and still is a spiritual center for the country (more than 300 pagodas). Also, there are more than a dozen universities in Hue.
Think globally. Drink locally.
At the top of Bunker Hill, site of a strategic battle in the Vietnam War during the Tet Offensive in 1968.
Very nice ride on Vietnam Airlines.
"My" street in Hanoi: Hang Trong Street
Scooters and more scooters as we visit one of the pagodas by one of the big lakes in Hanoi.
Coffee on a repurposed tractor hood in Hanoi.
Duck egg for lunch. No, really. #Balut
T'House in Hue. My favorite coffee shop.
Brother, can you spare 800,000 dong? It's worth about $34USD
SWAG ALERT: have a MASSIVE amount of swag from the hotels and from Cathay Pacific. If you join us at our monthly “Office Hours” next Thursday (click here for details), I’ll be giving some out there. Soaps, shampoo, stationary, barf bags (unused), combs, toothbrushes, razors. Heck, I even have some goodies from the Cathay Pacific lounge!