By this day in HCMC, the heat, humidity and general slog of living out of a suitcase had begun to wear on us. Still, it was Thanksgiving (ver. U.S.) and we didn’t want to waste our last (full) day in Vietnam. Unfortunately we had to check out of our comfortable abode at the Pink Tulip (we were paying day-to-day and they had sold our room). It wasn’t very difficult, however, to find a decent replacement just down the street.
After sorting that out, we took the number one bus down to HCMC’s Chinatown, home not surprisingly to the city’s sizable ethnic Chinese minority. Our focus was the area’s famous market – The Bình Tây Market and in particular, a chance to get some souvenir and gift shopping done, something we had been woefully negligent about.
The main worry was that we didn’t know when to get off the bus, and outside of the primary tourist area we were staying in, English was not especially forthcoming in HCMC. Fortunately, the decision was made for us as the bus route ended at a station quite close to Bình Tây. We walked around the area, Mikey picked up some spices for his chef boss (Cake Boss?), and we had an interesting Chinese lunch in the market.
A post-prandial walk around Chinatown involved a few temples, and a lot of soul-crushing heat and humidity. We eventually caught a bus back to the hotel to rest for a bit and soak up some air conditioning prior to our Thanksgiving dinner.
Before heading out for dinner, we repeated our pattern of doing some live blogging at Trung Nguyen Coffee. Dinner itself was at Quan An Ngon, a widely-recommended restaurant known for assembling several street-food legends under one roof. It’s more touristy and pricey than most places we had gone to, but we thought it would make for a nice Thanksgiving meal. Although we got there at a reasonable hour – 9PM – things seemed to be shutting down and about 80% of the menu was unavailable. The best chefs must go home early.
Still, we cobbled together a pretty good meal. The highlight was some grilled steak served with toast and a spicy salt. Less good was a (grey, lifeless) pork salad. Mikey and I enjoyed our final night in Vietnam, but it would have probably been better to get to the restaurant earlier.
Exhausted from a long day, we crashed early despite our hotel being placed directly above one of HCMC’s top nightspots.