Saigon wakes you up early, usually to sounds of scooter horns and roasting coffee beans. It is 6am and you walk enjoying the last wafts of cool breeze before the sun breaks you down into beads of sweat, only to be wiped away by an ice cold perfumed towel. In reminds me of home in Bombay - a chaotic mess of traffic-clogged streets and urban bustle, with a nary a green space in sight. It's a migrants city just like Bombay it pulls them in sweat filled embrace as they slowly fall prey to the hiddens charms of one of South East Asia's liveliest cities.
I start in Pham Ngu Lao, Saigon's backpacker district. A teeming area of colourful shops and backpacker cafes, the main road leading into a labrynthe of alleys that remind you Varanasi. I trade my greasy eggs and bacon for steaming bowl of pho (see last post) at Pho 2000. Who advertise with the slogan "Pho for the president" - probably referring to fact that Bill Clinton ate here on his visit to Saigon. Across the road is Ben Thanh Market, one of Saigon's main markets which is at its bustling best this morning.
Here are some pictures as always.
A short taxi ride away is Cholom.
Cholom is a jewellery box of Chinese style and bustle, an olfactory overload of traditional herb shops and burning incense. Here the streets are filled with amazing sights, sounds and most of all the rich herbal smells.