Guest: Henrik Strandman
Address: Alagon Central Hotel, 288 Le Thanh Ton, Ben Thanh, District 1
This was a last minute tour. I was at school and received his booking only 1 hours before the tour. That explain why I couldn’t change into in my uniform, but luckily, I still brought the hat.
When I arrive, he had already been waiting in front of the hotel. We skipped Ben Thanh Market although his hotel was very close to it. This is because he has been there and didn’t really enjoy it. We quickly moved to the People Committee in Nguyen Hue Walking Street, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Post Office. But the places seemed to impress him the most was the Book Street next to the Post Office and the Independence Palace. He bought a cup of coffee in the street and he loved it. He thought the Italians have the best coffee in the world, but he changed his mind as soon as he tasted the Vietnamese one.
We didn’t really talk a lot about the places we went by. We talked about all kinds of things. Starting with where he had been in Vietnam, and then the culture, politics, prices, real estate…. Traffic in Vietnam could be not very great, but it could be a fun topic. Every time we crossed a street, we laughed. He said it was scary and exciting at the same time.
He was very interested in planes and tanks, but not the war itself. So I just told him some side stories that happened in the Palace, then we had a nice walk around the park and went for a coffee. We stayed in the cafe and talk for a very long time. I got to know more about his family, and he got to know how the bus system in Saigon works .Well, he would take a bus to the airport later that day, so it helped.
What I learned is not to go to Independence Palace after 3h30 or you won’t have enough time to go through as many rooms as you wish due to the fact that the security guards starting to lock the doors around 4h15. And it’s rainy season, bring an umbrella!!!