The whole store sold fruits, breads and freshly baked pastries, fried and roasted duck and chicken. Roasted duck and chicken on the street… feels just like Manila.
Several minutes later, we reached Diamond Plaza, a luxury shopping complex at downtown HCMC. As far as I’ve read, the complex includes two buildings, and serves as a shopping center, 6 cinema lounges, restaurants, café, and hospital.
The whole complex was luxurious, homey, and really classy. On the other hand, I felt like I was stepping into that shopping complex from “Crisis Zone” (it’s an arcade game that takes place in a commercial complex; think “Time Crisis” where you wreck everything and everyone with your machine gun). But I digress.
Speaking of arcades, after passing by the department store, we went straight to the arcades. It has a bowling alley, a coffee shop, and the usual video games.
Now what got me interested in the place is that it has a cocktail bar, with a large collection of alcoholoc and non-alcoholic drinks. Plus it’s a smoking area too. I guess this area is supposed to cater to mall-goers of all ages, though it’s gonna be awkward if you got drunk.
MC took the time to visit the perfume shops to ask about a certain brand. Looks like they don’t have it, whatever it is.
After an hour or so of hanging out at the mall, it was time to walk around the city a bit. Along the way, we passed by the Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception, also known as the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica. It’s one of the establishments built by the French colonialists in Vietnam. What a grand-looking church, I thought.
Our next stop was the Reunification Palace (some also call it the Independence Palace), one of the most
important historical landmarks in Vietnam. Once the seat of government of the French, Japanese, and what was called South Vietnam, this was where the Vietnam War ended.
The fun part of the tour was when we went underground to see the palace’s war rooms. It’s like stepping into a war-torn past, except you’re a tourist learning Vietnam’s history and not Solid Snake infiltrating a military base.
Old radios and other communication equipment are lined up in every room, carefully preserved and set up like a functional palace facility. Each government function had its own office (plus a bed for the president). One room even had several maps, and a list of phone numbers of other countries, including the Philippines!
Pho is also called the national dish of Vietnam, as it “represents the heart and soul of the Vietnamese people.”
Up next… The last night of the world, I mean, Saigon, er…