Mrs Woog Visits Vietnam – Part Three

Yesterday I assumed my landlubber status by getting off the boat that had been home for six nights. We jumped aboard a bus for the hour and a half journey into Saigon.

Having been in Saigon in 2002, I was keen to see how much the place had changed. Mr. Woog and I had stayed in one of the “fancier” hotels at the time, and it was considered “fancy” because it had a working lift. The big chain hotels had not yet made their mark on the city. That has now changed. We are staying in a small, neighbourhood hotel in District One. Part of it is stuck in the 90’s, which I kind of like. Big chandeliers were common back then.

But it is within walking distance of a lot of cool places. Yesterday, we went in search of some magical Pho, the traditional Vietnamese soup. We eventually found it. Pho Hoa was a triple storied shop front which was packed full of locals all slurping soup with great gusto. So I did what the locals did, and had myself a noisy and delicious lunch. It was like getting a hug from this inside.

And then we walked home via several unfamiliar streets. I have been in this city for about 24 hours now, and I have gotten lost each and every time I have left the hotel. Now, I would not call myself a novice traveller, but Jesus Christ, girlfriend cannot read a map to save her life.

Last night, Mum opted to have a night in but I felt a bit antsy. I told her I was going out wandering, would have a little dinner, a bit of a mooch around and I would see her soon. She naturally looked alarmed. I thought I would take a couple of bread rolls, and leave little crumbs in my wake AKA Hansel and Gretel style, but I figured that would not work, considering the size of the rat I had seen earlier, sunning itself on the pavement.

I had a lovely meal alone in a small restaurant and was very happy with all of it.

The other thing that I have given up on, besides reading maps, is to maintain any sense of personal style. I only packed two pairs of shorts, one beige knee length nanna shorts which seemed like a good idea at the time, and my “smart” shorts. (Shorts on me never look good, but these were as good as they were going to get.”

The problem with the “smart” shorts is that some brain surgeon from the shop that I bought them from had left the security tag on the. Which was bolted to the crotch. It contains bright red dye so if you attempt to unpick it, it would look like Aunty Flow had come for a visit. Another cruel and unnecessarily treatment of women and I plan to take this up with said retailer on my return. Complete with a petition.

The first person to guess this retailer in the comments gets nothing but my personal praise.

So we have our beige shorts, and for no other reason but compete practicality, the are teamed with a pair of hot pink Adidas runners. I only bought a couple of t-shirts and so they are on hight rotation. A big, faded, floppy black hat, a face free from makeup but featuring the odd tropical zit and a backpack. A picture I do look walking the streets. I occasionally trip on the uneven sidewalks, because I am too busy gazing around and avoiding being knocked out by motorbikes.

Oh and the sweat. The rivulets of rivers raged down my back, by boobs sweated buckets. The less said about the chafe the better and in a new and exciting development, did you know given the right conditions your ass-crack can produce perspiration? Fascinating.

Today I am planning on visiting the bustling Ben Thanh Market to see if I can source a white Pomeranian puppy that Jack has convinced himself that I am getting one for him. From Vietnam…?? (disappointment to commence in 3,2…), I am also going to get a Vietnamese Massage and then just wander around. Here and there, ducking down little allies and eating anything that might cross my path.

Did I mention I love the food here?

And I am aware that I have been rude over the past week or so and have not asked you anything?

What have you been up to?

Sydneysiders, has it stopped raining?

Stay safe Queensland.


  • Rebecca

    Mrs Woog you could try freezing the good shorts and a hammer. Don’t ask me how I know this ?
    Good luck with finding the puppy!

    • Now that is some smart thinking. Thanks Rebecca xx

  • Donna

    Pay a local retailer to remove the tag. One near your hotel would be used to strange Westerners. Love your food journey. As a broke graduate I lived on Pho from Vic St Richmond. One day would love to have the real thing.

  • Janice

    Been there done that with said security tag….twice (thanks Myer)!! Walked the streets of Copenhagen trying every outlet who may have the same shaped tag! Success eventually with the very helpful Danes but not in Hong Kong….who waved us away with a very suspicious look!
    Aaagh Vietnam heat….the chafe…..never ever again!

  • I just love exploring the streets by myself, so happy you’re having fun! Still 32C here at moment, Queensland hasn’t got the memo that it’s nearly April and AUTUMN! xxx

  • Donna Saunders

    When we visited Vietnam a few years back I went for a walk in Hanoi by myself. I walked around the block and did not cross a single street for fear of getting lost and never finding my way back. My map reading skills have only improved slightly since then. I only managed to get slightly lost in Kathmandu in December

    • Kathmandu! You are game… xx

  • Heidi D

    sounds like you are having a great time. I have spent the past 9 days in hospital trying to work out why I felt a constant need to throw up. Not many answers but I don’t feel sick so they let me go home yesterday

    • Oh Heidi I am sorry to hear this. I hope you are feeling better soon and get some answers xx

  • Emma

    Speaking of ass crack sweat, my 12 year old swears it is the first place she sweats ? Weirdo ?. I too have had the Myer security surprise but I suspect yours is a CR surprise bomb.

  • Kate

    I can happily report the rain has stopped (for now), but can we talk about CATH!!! You will not be getting a reprieve from the humidity on your return home.

    I could tell you a complete horror story about my last visit to the Ben Thanh Markets, funnily enough I had the day before embarked from a cruise along the Mekong Delta similar to yours, it was NYE 2007 and let’s just say I was starting to feel particularly unwell and left my mark all the way back to my hotel. I had to catch a plane to Dalat that afternoon and had gotten increasingly worse as the day went on, the ladies in our hotel were absolute angels looking after me, but being NYE unfortunately there was no accomodation anywhere so we had to brave the flight. I did get alot of surprised looks as I lay on the filthy floor at the airport with a wet facewasher and a plastic bowl. Squat toilets are also not your friend in these circumstances. I can laugh now but at the time I recall getting very annoyed with my then partner for not adhering to my dying wishes and putting me out of my misery.