After a big week of eating and drinking at the end of March, beginning of April, I was astounded to find I had lost weight when I stepped on the hotel room scales on Friday 2nd April. I had lost 3kg since I had last got weighed (2 weeks ago) and I was so excited about that. Captain Caveman had gone to meet a friend for coffee so I had a chance to relax but I made a mental note to get him to check the scales were working by seeing if he weighed any differently to normal (he checked later and the scales were probably correct). The Amanaki Saigon Boutique Hotel, in District 1, was very nice with lovely staff, a great shower and environmentally friendly products so it was a pity that we were only staying there 1 night really, we checked out at noon and got a Grab taxi to our lunch stop.
I’d suggested we could have a curry for lunch (we had eaten so much yesterday that we didn’t have breakfast) and Captain Caveman had on his list of recommended places an ideal spot, walking distance from our next hotel in District 2 (Thao Dien). We arrived at Baba’s kitchen, sat in a corner with our luggage, perused the extensive menu and ordered a couple of Saigon Red beers. Captain Caveman ordered onion bhajis to start and we shared those, then we had masala dosa for him and a chicken tikka masala with a chapati and plain rice for me. The food was amazing and the beers refreshingly cold on a hot day so we ordered another. The staff were great, I even got just the right level of spice for my meal and we were so full afterwards that I was needing a rest before our next lot of activities.
Captain Caveman had booked us in at the Common Inn hotel, in the Thao Dien area of Saigon, for a couple of nights so we walked there from Baba’s Kitchen. The receptionist was friendly and had good English so we chatted for a bit and I signed some paperwork. The room was small but with enough storage and a comfy bed so I was pleased, it’s location was also great for me to walk around by myself when Captain Caveman was busy. After unpacking, including the bottle of Israeli wine Captain Caveman received from Hung last night, we had a bit of a rest (I maybe had a little nannan nap) and then we had a short walk to Bia Craft on the way to meet our friend, Andrea. Captain Caveman and I met Andrea at Pasteur Street Brewery in Thao Dien, another short walk away, where I managed to sit on a high stool for the second day in a row – I even had a couple of actual beers which were great and the manager came across friendly and welcoming. Andrea and I had arranged to go for an Italian meal while Captain Caveman went to watch Saigon United play football, with Scott. I’d chosen to dine at Pendalasco (the Italian place recommended by Mauro, the Italian) and it was just a short walk away from the pub. Andrea chose a nice bottle of red wine for us to share and we ordered a mixture of foods which Andrea insisted I choose. Our shared starter of prosciutto and melon was so tasty but light and we shared a couple of delicious main courses; beef rib with tomato salad and a walnut and gorgonzola gnocchi which was fantastic.
As Andrea was joining the cycling event the next day too we didn’t want a late night so we got a taxi to drop me off on the way to her’s and then got lost. I got to the hotel, had a shower and got in to bed, waiting for Captain Caveman to come home so he too could get an early night. Instead, he called me to say he was at a Vietnamese BBQ place nearby, to get dressed again and come to join him.
I found Quan Ut Ut easily and a rather tipsy Captain Caveman had got a beer, some extra loaded (with cheese, jalapenos, sweetcorn, salsa, sour cream, bacon and crispy chicken skin) fries and a half rack of BBQ ribs. I ordered a diet coke and tried to resist trying the ribs and fries which smelled great. He couldn’t eat all of it so I did help out a little and the ribs were pretty good. As we were talking about meeting up with people while we were in Saigon and only having a short time left, Chris (the Belgian) and his girlfriend, Huong, walked past. What great timing, as I’d wanted to go out with them to the P’ti Sunday brunch which we would now be missing. We arranged to meet them tomorrow as they invited us to see a live band with them – I couldn’t remember when I was last at a gig and I didn’t even care what kind of music it was, we were in!
We walked the short distance back to our hotel, got in to bed and set the alarm for 5am!