I am in Saigon now. It exceeded my expectations honestly. I’ve been getting mixed reviews about Vietnam. Some people told me it’s good, but not as good as Thailand, while others said it’s just not a great place.
I knew what to do at the airport thanks to all the helpful reviews everywhere, and I got out of the airport, into the taxi and to my hotel real smooth, maybe with a loss of few hundred thousand dongs at best 🙂 (I am still getting used to counting the money).
But Saigon is wonderful. There is a lot of traffic on the roads, but the roads are wide and things move.
A random Saigon road.
I am in District 1, and it’s got a very beautiful vibe. Lots of good eateries and coffee shops around.
I spent a big part of the day putting up my updated design for http://itbix.com at a small coffee shop called Flat White where I met this gentleman.
We shared the Cheesecakes I was eating and became friends.
In the evening a friend invited me to try out Blanc Restaurant. I didn’t get many details then, but I googled and it had great reviews so I went there. It turned out to be an experience.
Did this picture give you an idea of what to expect?
Most of the staff at the Blanc restaurant is impaired in some manner. They have a waiting and orientation area where you’re welcomed with a nice drink with a metal straw in it, and most of the servers there can’t speak or hear.
Blac welcome area.
They made me try a game. All I had to do was fit wooden pieces on a blockboard, while being blindfolded. I did very badly the first time around, but the second time I got a little hang of it and did better.
This set the stage for the main event.
The dinner would be in a room which was 100% dark. No one can see anything and the server would be a blind person. A bit extreme?
My server was Mr. Tan. A great natured gentleman who led me into the totally dark room with my hands on his shoulders. I was in his world, and at his mercy.
Luckily, he was a great guy and he made me absolutely comfortable with the fact that I was going to about to eat a complete meal without getting to see any of it.
The dinner was a regular 3-course meal with
- 2 Soups + 2 Salads.
- 4 dishes for the main course.
- 3 kinds of desserts
- A great smoothie.
They did have a vegetarian option which I selected. The food was absolutely delicious, maybe more so because we couldn’t see it so my sense of smell and taste were heightened.
Observation : People instinctively know where their mouth is, and you can feed yourself perfectly well in the dark.
I walked out with a very unique and refreshing experience and a slightly more personal understanding of what it could mean to live without eyesight.
The evening wasn’t over yet though and I headed over to the Acoustic Bar which had great reviews for live music on Google.
What a place!
This is how people listen to performances at the Acoustic Bar.
Live music for me has usually meant enjoying a good drink while a band sang somewhere in the background, but this place was different.
It’s not a bar, it’s an event! And the ticket of entry is your drink. The audience was gathered closely around the stage where singer after singer came in to deliver electrifying performances. I am talking about America’s Got Talent good!
Definitely the best live music performances that I’ve seen.
Saigon isn’t a damp squib. It’s not boring, it’s not unsafe. It’s vibey, young and electrifying.
I was on the streets for hours and I didn’t notice a single thing which could make a person feel unsafe. It was just normal people having a great time.
Now I am sorry I didn’t come to Saigon earlier, but I am here now :).