Vietnam – Day 1 – Ho Chi Minh City

After some much-needed sleep I woke up at around 5:00am. The hotel I was staying at provided a complimentary set breakfast, which started at 7:00am. I hung out in the hotel room until it was time for breakfast. For breakfast I had some Pho. After breakfast I started my adventure around the city.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0232019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 026

The first stop was Ben Thanh Market, a massive market that’s been around since the early 17th century. The market was destroyed by fire in 1870 and was rebuilt to become Saigon’s largest market. The market was moved in 1912 and renamed to it’s current name, and the building was renovated in 1985.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 012019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 022019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 052019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 09

The second stop was the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, also known as Gia Long Palace. This building has a very rich history dating back to 1885.Construction of Gia Long Palace was constructed between 1885 and 1890. Gia Long Palace was designed by the French architect Alfred Foulhoux. The palace spans two floors and was building using classical Baroque architecture with a blend of European and Oriental influences. The building was essentially symmetrical with a winding staircase in the middle of the building. Interestingly the building was built with three deep underground tunnels which lead from the palace to other parts of the city so that government officials could escape in the event of a coup. The building was intended to house the Museum of Commercial Trade, which showcased products and goods of Southern Vietnam, but it was not used as intended and was instead used as the residence of the Governor of Cochinchina. In 1945, control of the palace changed hands many times. It started on March 9th when French governor Ernest Hoeffel was arrested, and the Japanese took over the palace and used it for the residence of Japanese Governor Yoshio Minoda. On August 14th the Japanese handed over the palace to its puppet Empire of Vietnam government to be used as a residence. A mere 11 days later on August 25th the Viet Minh seized the property. The building then became the headquarters of the Provisional Administrative Committee of Southern Vietnam, which was later renamed the “People’s Committee of Southern Vietnam”. On September 10th the British occupied the palace and made it the Allied Mission headquarters, thus evicting the “People’s Committee”. About a month later on October 5th the building was then again occupied by the French; first as a temporary headquarters of the High Commission for the French Republic in Indochina, then as the official headquarters of the Commissioner of the French Republic in Southern Vietnam.

On June 2nd 1948 the French handed control of the building to the Provisional Government of the State of Vietnam, which established its headquarters there. It was later on used as the Palace of the Premier. On January 9th 1950 a massive protest with over 6000 students and teachers demanding the release of students arrested for advocating Vietnamese independence occurred in front of the building. Over 150 people were arrested, 30 injured, and 1 killed. From 1954 to 1966 the palace was used as a residence for numerous government officials, and was renamed to Gia Long Palace by Bao Dai. The Supreme Court of the Republic of Vietnam utilized the palace from October 31st 1966 to April 30th 1975, when the Fall of Saigon occurred, ending the Vietnam War. On August 12th 1978 the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee ordered that the building be used as the Ho Chi Minh City Revolutionary Museum, a propaganda museum, later being renamed on December 13th 1999 to its current name of Ho Chi Minh City Museum.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 122019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 132019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 142019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 152019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 162019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 182019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 202019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 212019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 232019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 262019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 272019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 332019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 34

The third stop was the People’s Committee Building, also known as Ho Chi Minh City Hall. The building was built between 1902 and 1908 in a French colonial style. It was renamed in 1975 to Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. While I was there a group a graduating school children were getting their group photo taken.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 38.jpg2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 335

The fourth stop was the City Opera House. I just took a photo of the outside, as the inside was being used for graduating children. The building was opened in 1900 and shaped very similar to the Opera Garnier in Paris, with 800 seats to entertain the French. The Opera House was damaged during World War 2, and because of the criticism of the fascade and high costs of organizing performances the government tried to turn the theatre into a concert hall. Decorations, engravings, and statues were removed, and the building wasn’t restored until 1955. After the Fall of Saigon in 1975, the building was restored again to its original function as a theatre, and the façade wasn’t restored until 1998, on the 300th anniversary of the founding of Saigon.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 392019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 40

I then stopped by the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre to purchase a ticket for the 5:00pm showing; more on that later. The cost of the ticket was 200000 dong ($11.40 CDN).

After purchasing my ticket, I went to the War Remnants Museum. On my way to the museum I met a couple that was also from Canada and we chatted on the way to the museum. The girl had just had her phone stolen out of her hands while she was sitting for dinner the previous evening, so she warned me to be a bit vigilant. The War Remnants museum was built in 1975 and contains exhibits related to the Vietnam War and the first Indochina War involving the French. Just a word of warning that some of the following images may be disturbing to some viewers.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 452019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 462019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 472019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 482019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 492019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 502019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 3282019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0282019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0292019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0302019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0312019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0322019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0332019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0342019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0352019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0362019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0372019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0382019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0392019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0402019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0412019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0422019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0432019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0442019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0452019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 0462019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 047

I was starting to get hungry so I searched out some food on Google Maps. I settled for Saigon Sakura Japanese Restaurant. On my way to the restaurant I snapped a few quick photographs of Independence Palace. Independence Palace, also known as Reunification Place, was built between 1962 and 1966. It was built on the site of the former Norodom Palace. It was the site of the end of the Vietnam War during the Fall of Saigon on April 30th 1975, when a North Vietnamese army tank crashed through the gates.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 51

For lunch I had some sushi rolls, but not too many as they were phenomenally expensive; even more expensive than at home. After enjoying the delicious lunch, I walked to the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon and the Saigon Central Post Office. Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon was built between 1863 and 1880 by the French in a Romanesque style. The Saigon Central Post Office was built between 1886 and 1891 in Gothic, Renaissance and French style. Inside the Saigon Central Post office there are two painted maps that were created just after the post office was built. One is a map of Southern Vietnam and Cambodia titled “Lignes telegraphiques du Sud Vietnam et Cambodge 1892”, which roughly translates to “Telegraphic lines of Southern Vietnam and Cambodia 1892”. The second map of greater Saigon is titled “Saigon et ses environs 1892”, which roughly translates to “Saigon and its surroundings 1892”.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 522019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 532019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 562019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 572019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 582019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 60

It was getting quite hot out at this point in time and I was still a bit jet lagged, so I walked back to the hotel to rest for a few hours. On the way back to the hotel I stopped at a Circle K convenience store to get a few beers to enjoy in the hotel room later on. By the time I got back to the hotel it was about 2:30pm. I relaxed until roughly 4:30pm and then walked to the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre. The show was extremely well done and in Vietnamese, but I didn’t need to understand Vietnamese to understand what was going on.

2019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 652019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 682019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 692019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 712019-05-17 Ho Chi Minh City 72

After the show I walked to Nha Hang Dong Pho, and had a Hue style clear both with pork knuckle. It was honestly not very good, despite the good reviews online. I was getting tired so I walked back to the hotel. On the way back it started raining, but not too hard.

2019-05-17 Vietnam iPhone Photos 053.JPG

Check back tomorrow when I explore more of Ho Chi Minh City, and explore the Cu Chi Tunnels, before jet setting off to Hoi An / Da Nang.

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards the upkeep of my site, my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here

Portland – Day 3 – Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum / Wings & Waves Waterpark

The next morning we woke up around 7:30am and I went downstairs to get us some Starbucks while Catherine lay in bed continuing to sleep. After getting ready for the day we walked over to the Budget rental car location on Washington Street. Picking up the car was pretty quick and trouble free. We had a 2019 Nissan Versa. The car was a huge improvement in comfort and technology over the 2017 Nissan Versa that I rented in Hawaii two years ago.

First stop was the Evergreen Aviation & Space Musuem. The museum was first opened in 1991 by Captain Michael King Smith, son of Evergreen International Aviation founder Delford Smith. The museum center piece is the Spruce Goose (Hughes H-4 Hercules), which was originally housed in Long Beach, California at the Walt Disney’s Spruce Goose exhibit before it was disassembled and transported to this museum in 1993 and underwent 8 years of restoration. The museum is also home to a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, de Havilland DH.100 Vampire, Douglas A-1 Skyraider, Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, Douglas C-47 (military variant of DC-3), Douglas DC-3A, Fonton C-6 Space Capsule, Grumman TF-9J Cougar, T-39 Sabreliner, Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird, Martin Titan II Space Launch Vehicle (SLV), Titan IV, McDonnell Douglas F-15A Eagle, McDonnell Douglas F-4 Fantom II, Mercury Space Capsule, Messerschmitt 262 (reproduction model), MiG-17A, MiG-21MF, MiG-29, X-38, and Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XVI. In 2016 Michael King Smith filed for bankruptcy but the facility was acquired by the Falls Event Center for $11 million which helped saved the beautiful museum.

2019-04-29 Portland 1192019-04-29 Portland 1202019-04-29 Portland 1212019-04-29 Portland 1222019-04-29 Portland 1232019-04-29 Portland 1242019-04-29 Portland 1252019-04-29 Portland 1262019-04-29 Portland 1272019-04-29 Portland 1282019-04-29 Portland 1292019-04-29 Portland 1302019-04-29 Portland 1312019-04-29 Portland 1322019-04-29 Portland 1332019-04-29 Portland 1342019-04-29 Portland 1352019-04-29 Portland 1372019-04-29 Portland 1422019-04-29 Portland 1432019-04-29 Portland 1442019-04-29 Portland 1452019-04-29 Portland 1462019-04-29 Portland 1472019-04-29 Portland 148

We then had a lunch break at The Diner, which was only a few minute’s drive away. We shared a Cobb salad and turkey burger before we went to the Wings & Waves Waterpark.

The second stop was the Wings and Waves Waterpark. The waterpark was opened in Jun 2011 and houses a retired Evergreen Boeing 747-100 that sits atop the roof and has four water slides connecting to the 92000 gallon wave pool. The Waterpark also featured a small wave pool (which was very underwhelming), a hot tub, a water play park, and a whirlpool. We stayed at the Waterpark for a few hours before starting our way back to Portland.

IMG_1057IMG_1059IMG_1061IMG_1062IMG_1066IMG_1075IMG_1077IMG_1079

On the drive back to Portland we stopped at Sushi Hunter Izakaya. I ordered some spicy miso ramen, which was extremely spicy and wasn’t particularly good. Catherine ordered some sushi, which was quite good. We also shared some Takoyaki, which are deep fried squid balls. On the drive back we also stopped at some Walgreens so that Catherine could pick up some M&M candies for her friends.

IMG_1080IMG_1082

We had to return the car at Portland PDX airport as the downtown location that we picked the car up from was now closed. It took a while to wait for the budget shuttle bus and it was starting to get chilly so we were shivering. The shuttle bus driver was a bit of an interesting character. He had some interesting stories including a story about how his dad met Bruce Lee and how he would fight with him. I’m not sure how believable I find that story but it was amusing non the less.

After arriving back at PDX Airport we attempted to take the MAX Red Line back into the city, and had much more success this time. After the 45-minute journey we walked back to the hotel and played some games in the loft game area. We played Connect Four, Jenga, and Foosball. Catherine and I each won a game of Foosball, each won a bunch of games or Connect Four, and I lost at Jenga. It was getting late and time for us to head to bed. Luckily, we didn’t have to wake up early tomorrow so we didn’t feel so bad.

IMG_1089

The next morning we woke up at around 8:30am and slowly got ready before walking to this amazing restaurant called St. Honore Bakery. It’s a chain breakfast restaurant in Portland that has multiple locations that serves amazing French breakfast foods. We both had Croque Madame which is a great inferior sandwich with Brioché slices with Emmental cheese, béchamel sauce, Dijon mustard, Black Forest ham, topped with a soft poached egg. We also shared some fresh fruit and both had a coffee.

IMG_1101IMG_1103IMG_1104IMG_1147

After having breakfast, we both walked back to the hotel and relaxed for a few minutes before venturing out for the day to do some shopping. Catherine was on the scope for some new shoes for herself and her friend Julie. First stop was the Nike store downtown, which was extremely disappointing and had a limited selection The next stop was across the street at Ross For Less. There was a decent selection, but nothing that Catherine was looking for. We decided to make the 50-minute walk across the city to the Nike Factory Outlet store. On the way we quickly stopped at McDonalds for a coffee for myself and an ice cream cone to share.

The outlet had much more selection and Catherine ended up finding a pair of fuschia coloured shoes for herself and a couple pairs of shoes for Julie. After purchasing the shoes, we stopped at an amazing Japanese restaurant called Izakaya Kichinto. I had a wonderful rich and flavourful curry ramen, and Catherine had a Poke bowl. We also had some delicious Gyoza to share.

IMG_1112IMG_1115IMG_1117

After our amazing lunch we walked to NE 7th Ave Station and caught the MAX Red Line back into downtown and walked back to the hotel to grab our bags before walking back to the train station and talking the MAX Red Line to the airport. After arriving at the airport, we shared a Key Lime doughnut from Blue Star Doughnuts. We both agreed how amazing it was and that it was much better than Voodoo Doughnuts.

IMG_1121

At the security checkpoint Catherine’s bag got thoroughly searched because of the 6 pounds of M&M’s in her bag. I can understand why they would make such a big deal about that, because who in the right mind would have 6 pounds or M&M’s in their bag!
After clearing security, we shared some artichoke dip over a cider and a few IPA’s at the Deschutes Brewery inside the airport. I also got to try a sample of The Dissident and Chasin’ Freshies Fresh Hop IPA; both of which were delicious!

Our flight was delayed about 1.25 hours because of the snow that had occurred the previous day in Calgary. The delays were accumulating since 5pm the day before. I’m glad we were not flying home yesterday as the delays were 4 hours on average towards the evening. The flight was relatively smooth. After arriving at the gate paramedics boarded the plane and tended to a young boy who had kept blacking out on the flight. I hope he’s okay; perhaps he was just exhausted?

Check back in a few weeks when I embark on a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia!

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards the upkeep of my site, my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here

2017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show

Yesterday I travelled up to Edmonton with my friend Hadrian to visit the 3rd annual Edmonton Air Show. There were some amazing airplanes and pilots there, including a 75 year old stunt pilot (Gary Ward), De Havilland DH-115 Vampire, and the snowbirds presented the finale. Enjoy the photos below.

2017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 0082017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 0092017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 0112017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 0252017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 0402017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 0462017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 0492017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 0532017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 0562017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 0602017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 0672017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 0682017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 0772017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 0852017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 0872017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 0892017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 0952017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 1052017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 1072017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 1122017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 1182017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 1192017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 1212017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 1242017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 1272017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 1482017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 1592017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 1672017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 1682017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 1702017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 1712017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 1722017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 1762017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 1902017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 1922017-08-19 Edmonton Air Show 197

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here