Today our big river cruise up the Mekong River will start on the 'Amalotus' We have all been looking forward to this, but before we leave for the ship we get to enjoy another big breakfast and then we have one of our freedom of choice activities, for today Erle and I have chosen a nice simple walk around Saigon with a guide who knows the city. At least we shan't get lost!
Quite a few of us have chosen this guided walk, first stop is the Central Post Office a huge building, with little shops and stalls inside of it, very handy we all have a good look at the wares. I am wishing we had our post cards all written out ready to send home, but no they are still waiting for us to get a few spare moments, but we enjoyed having a look in this vast Post Office.
Next stop in right across the road the Catholic Notre Dame Cathedral, another amazingly huge building, built by the French as was the PO, in a French style, Church is open and we have a good look inside, its nice and cool inside too.
We see lots of street sellers setting up their wares and small shops that look interesting. Orange ducks hang waiting customers in many cabinets, wonder what they taste like?
To get to the buildings we have to cross streets that are very busy with traffic so it is a great chance to practice our crossing roads in Vietnam act., like sticky rice we stay together and walk at a slowish measured pace and let the traffic all go around us. It is scarer y but it works.
We are shown the tallest building with a helipad built into the side of it, very modern. No sign of any helicopters today.
We were meant to see the Opera House but we took too long in our wandering so its back to hotel get our suitcases down ready to leave on the buses, 4 of them now, our group has grown from 46 people to 115 a huge number, not going to be able to get to know many of that big crowd, besides they have all been travelling together around China also with APT so they know each other well just as our group does.
Off on the bus and it doesnt take long to get to the 'Amalotus' docked right beside the road, we board and find we have a lovely cabin on the dining deck, we have a nice balcony but it is so hot outside that maybe we shall not is outside for long. This cabin is a lot larger than on the previous ship.
As I am going past the reception I hear Virginia making a booking for a foot massage, so I stop and ask if I can have the next appointment. Such a great idea and I really enjoyed it. My poor sore aching feet relaxed and came alive again. Money well spent, and I have no idea how much cause I didn't bother to ask!
We have to have the manditory Safety drill, so we all had to don our life jackets and race up to the top deck, where we have a safety talk then return to our cabins take off the jackets and it lunch time our first on board and its a lovely 4 course meal! The food is very nice and tasty, there is a very nice cold fruit flavoured soup that I really enjoyed, never tasted anything quite like it before.
We look out out balcony and see a small long boat with several people preparing masses of food while sheltering under the wharf out of the rain, we were intrigued, they didn't eat it just prepared the vegies and cooked it and then left, so we imagine they must be some of the street sellers, surprising where the food is actually cooked!