|Enjoying a dip with Tim and Erica|
As it is still the Tet holiday Tim was not working today soothe four of us had a totally lazy day. Tim popped up to the shop and bought tasty croissants for breakfast which we had with a huge plate of fresh fruit sitting out on the patio. We spent most of the morning just chatting sharing stories of our travels and the experiences that Tim and Erica have had in the various parts of the world they have been to.
We met Tho, who looks after the house for them and does whatever household bits and pieces they ask her to. She has had a good Tet although it was a little soggy. Tho’s house is near the river and although they have already raised the level of the floor once it still gets flooded every time there is a high tide, so basically once a month. Over Tet they were under water for three days. It must be soul destroying.
Later in the morning we ambled round to the An Tho sports complex within the compound where they are tennis courts, a gym and a couple of swimming pools. It was very quiet and we had the pool pretty much to ourselves. The sun was really hot and already by midday the floor around the pool was too hot to walk on without shoes. For us it was a good way of acclimatising to the heat.
We walked down and along the river to get back to Tim and Erica’s. The compound is very quiet and each house is tucked away behind a high fence. In a lot of ways it reminded us of the estate we stayed on in Florida when we popped down there to meet up with Caroline and Andy in October, the only difference was that the houses on the estate in Florida were not fenced in. Colourful trees and flowers lined the roads and everything was spotlessly clean.
Back at the house we were spoiled again with a huge lunchtime spread which set all of us up for a hard afternoon and a little siesta. I sat in the garden which is a riot of colour. When they moved here the garden was in a pretty dire state with not much in it. To the horror of Tho who felt Erica should not be doing the gardening, Erica set about planting a whole load of different flowers and shrubs. The result now is fabulous. Later in the afternoon we headed into HCMC. Their driver is on holiday for Tet but plenty of cabs were on hand on the main road and within about fifteen minutes we were clambering out in the centre of the city. And it was very very hot.
We hopped out at the Square in front of the Opera House and the Caravelle Hotel. The Continental Hotel, a prime location in Graham Greene’s The Quiet American was on the other side of the square. We ambled along Dl Le Loi stopping off at a few shops along the way to see if we could get a replacement lens for our camera but with no joy.
A little Vietnamese restaurant near to Tim’s office provided dinner. From the warm welcome we received it’s obviously a popular watering hole of theirs and having eaten there we can see why. The food was unfussy but extremely tasty – tamarind prawns was the highlight for me. Afterwards we wandered a short way up the road back to the Caravelle Hotel and went up to their Saigon Saigon bar on the top floor. Cocktails and beers were supped as we looked out over the night time skyline of HCMC (Saigon sounds much more romantic!) before heading back to bed.