Today, I woke up around 5.20 am and straight away started the ball rolling. Got everybody out of bed, showered, dressed, solat and away we went to LCCT. I drove because I could drive faster (it's a fact!)...hehehe.
We arrived at LCCT around 7am, checked-in, had a leisurely breakfast and then it was time to board the aircraft around 8.30 am. I told the kids to expect the worse of AA. I told them to not expect anything on board, just a seat without freeflow of juices, food or even inflight entertainment that they're so used to. Thanks to my exaggerations, they were quite docile on the flight, even sleeping most of the time...hehehe
We reached HCMC about 10 am local time. After taking our luggage, we waited for our transportation to the Blue Diamond hotel. There was just the 20 of us but the bus was huge. Along the journey, we were introduced to HCMC traffic which was actually quite 'mild' compared to the crazy traffic in Khartoum. There was definitely more motobikes but less 'honking' on the road. In fact, I think HCMC's quite modern and well-planned.
When we arrived at the hotel, we were quite early but managed to get rooms next to each other. The hotel is actually better than what I expected, a 3 star hotel within walking distance from Ben Tanh Market. The rooms are really good and comfortable. Hadi was starving by the time we got the rooms and we just chucked our belongings in the room before rushing down to wait for the others at the lobby. Our mission : to find halal food!
We walked to VN Halal but it was full of Malaysians...hehehe. We were redirected to eat at Four Seasons which we did and it was a tasty lunch though the service left much to be desired. The kids and my husband went back to rest at the hotel while the wife was left to roam free. Yeehooo! I followed the other ladies to Ben Tanh Market and experienced my first taxi scam, where the driver of the Saigon Taxi asked for more than was shown on the meter. We were fooled because we're not familiar with Vdong...Iskk.
In the market, I just followed the others as they went 'crazy' with telekung, fabrics and anything and everything at the BT market. Miraculously, I just spent about 30 USD for 2 long dresses. By 4 pm, I was ready to get back to the hotel. I just watched the others as they shop like there's no tomorrow...hehehe. I would have thought that I would be like them but surprisingly I was really 'cool'...muahahaha
I got back to the hotel around 5pm, found Amir asleep like the one who's supposed to take care of him. Isk! After solat, showered and ready to get out by 6pm. We walked to VN Halal again to finally get a seat inside the restaurant. The food was okay but it was a bit pricey. I'm spending more money on food than on shopping, seriously!
After eating, the boys were cranky, so I send them off back to the hotel with my husband. Kak Long wanted to follow me, so I allowed her to do so. The night market around BT just got started and I bought a table cloth, made a jubah for Kak Long and me and bought 3 cheap bags for friends. I also bought something for my husband and toys for the boys. That's it! A very disappointing first day...hehehe.
We finally reached the hotel about 9pm...tired and thirsty. I'm currently resting, to gear up for tomorrow's challenge...muahahaha. Shopping! Yeay! I love HCMC!