We were awakened at 5.45am by our pre-set alarm call. On opening the curtains all we could see was white, we soon realised it was thick fog. Then we felt a bump and heard voices below us, and quite disturbingly they seemed to be coming from the sea. We were worried at first thinking someone had gone overboard, but that was not the case, thank goodness.
On leaving our stateroom we saw a lot of smartly dressed men all in green, we found out that the green men were Vietnamese Immigration officers whose boat bumped into us because they couldn't see us in the fog. We are only a small ship!!!
After about two hours hovering outside and two attempts at entering the harbour, our new Captain decided to cancel our visit to Chan May, and we said goodbye to our little green friends, and continued our journey to Ho Chi Min City (Saigon ). Although we were very disappointed not to have visited the Old Imperial Capital of Hue, accessed from Chan May, we did have a luxurious ship to enjoy ourselves on until we reached our next port of call, Phu My.
Another early morning, but hurrah no fog, all systems go!
We had a 2 hour drive to Saigon, as the older people still call it. We had an excellent guide, who pointed out interesting sights along route eg water buffalo, French style buildings and 3 metre width houses, paddy fields and rubber plantations. Disturbingly he stated that in the USA you drive on the right and in the UK you drive on the left but in Vietnam we drive on both sides!!! Whilst on the subject of driving, and something that has to be seen to be believed is the "swarms" of motorbikes that are everywhere, sometimes 10 abreast. Anyway we arrived safely in the China Town area where we visited the Thien Hau Temple, dedicated to the Sea Goddess - Protector of Sailors. Then onto the National History Museum, which is filled with ancient ceramics, traditional costumes and relics crafted in stone and bronze. Afterwards we watched a performance of the Vietnamese Folk Water Puppetry. En route to our lunch stop at the Majestic Hotel we passed a Christian Church in the style of a Buddhist Temple and the tallest building in Vietnam with its helipad attached at the side near the top. During our buffet lunch of typical Vietnamese dishes, we had a performance of traditional music and dance. After lunch we proceeded to the Reunification Hall, once the Presidential Palace, where liberation forces marked the end of the Vietnam War by driving their tanks through the gates. We also visited a lacquer factory and had a photo stop at the Notre Dame Cathedral, a smaller version of its namesake in Paris, built of red bricks and granite. The adjacent General Post Office, with its huge picture of Ho Chi Minh, was built at the same time in the late 1870s.
On the way back to the ship we had a break for some Vietnamese coffee, which was dark, black and delicious.
We would definitely love to see more of this wonderful country.