As some of you will know by now, I sometimes like to indulge in a second breakfast and Tuesday 26th January was one of those days, it was also our last full day in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). After the hotel breakfast of pho ga we headed over to District 2 by Grab car to Saigon Motorcycles in Thao Dien. The shop is owned by a friend of Ben’s at the Phong Nha Farmstay where we last met Trevor and his brother, Mark. Captain Caveman wanted to buy a full face motorbike helmet as the ones that come with the hire bike are basic at best. Gabrielle gave Captain Caveman some great advice and the first helmet she recommended fit perfectly so he got that, I fancied one of the bright orange helmets instead of wearing a cycling helmet when I’m on the back of Captain Caveman’s bike so I went to check them out. Trevor advised me that, while they looked good, they only offered a certain amount of protection and I would be better protected with a fancy black one that he got me to try on, it had a flip down sunglasses visor and a rain shield as well as protecting the face, it looks the business so we added that to the order – it would be my early Valentine’s gift! With arrangements made to post our helmets back to Phong Nha we had a little walk to Marcel’s Cafe where Captain Caveman had heard they do amazing croissants. They did indeed and Captain Caveman polished off 2 with butter while I had just a plain one and hoped I wouldn’t regret eating gluten.
We had a bit of a stroll to our next spot which was a rather fancy french restaurant, called P’ti Saigon. Andrea had managed to squeeze us in after her meetings and before her working from home afternoon so we met her there. I chose a salad expecting it to be small, Captain Caveman and Andrea both had prawn starter and duck mains. We shared a carafe of red wine and I observed a dressing up section, near to the upstairs toilets, ideal for party nights.
After lunch we walked in the hot sun to a bar called Bia Craft to sample a couple of their various beers, including an Oreo stout, I had a couple of ciders. It was a really nice afternoon and I could have stayed out longer but we needed to get ready for meeting Trang and Tan later, plus I was going to meet Lil Spud for the first time.
We arranged to meet at Tan’s new rooftop bar (which he warned me of the steps) at 6.30pm. It’s called Hippie Beer, in a great location, opposite Liberty Central hotel in District 1. The stairs were challenging because the first 2 sets were through the Thai restaurant on the ground floor and didn’t have a handrail, the next ones were ok but the handrail had loose bits and then the next to last set had neon tube lights down the sides of the stairs which meant it was hard to see the actual steps in the dark, the last set wasn’t too bad. The air on the roof was not fresh and I started having a cough thinking there was something burning in the kitchen but it was just the bad pollution. Lil Spud is Tatas’ younger sister and, although Captain Caveman has met her a few times, I had never met her. It was freaky how similar they were and it was like I was talking to Tatas! Trang finally arrived and ordered some food, we all tasted some gin made from Dragon fruit which was pretty strong but tasted nice. I needed to be sober when I went back down those stairs and so we said our goodbyes to Tan and his mates, hoping to see him next month in Phong Nha, I managed the stairs back down and we went to Tandoor Indian restaurant for a curry.
Captain Caveman wasn’t doing any sharing and ordered a tandoori plate to himself, I went safe by ordering a chicken tikka masala, mild, with steamed rice and a glass of wine. Lil Spud ordered a fish curry which was spicy and Trang ordered something that never arrived. When mine came it tasted rather spicy and I thought it smelled like it had fresh green chillies in it. I had one piece of the chicken and was sweating and when the girls tried mine they said it was too hot, even a load of yoghurt didn’t help and I left half of it which Trang took home. Captain Caveman was not impressed and for some reason seemed to think it was my fault and that I was stupid to order that dish, knowing it would be too hot for me, even though it’s my usual choice. Back at the hotel I was still a bit hungry but there was nothing I could do about it and Captain Caveman still had the face on with me about the curry.
Some photos by Captain Caveman