Vegas on the Mekong

Christmas is a sort of a big thing here, but the bigger news is the new year–not ours, their.  Tet.  The lunar new year.  Which this year falls on Jan 23.

We headed out to dinner at the Rex Hotel with Don and Linda.  The Rex was a pretty famous place during the war, when the 5pm follies, the daily news briefing, were held there.  Now it’s got the hippest, coolest rooftop bar/nightclub/restaurant in the city, with fantastic high-priced shops like Cartier and Bulgari on the ground floor.  It’s at a huge intersection in the heart of the city.

And here’s the thing–the streets are lit up like Vegas, if Vegas just had a little more money to spend.  We were stunned at the lights lining the streets, crossing the streets, lighting up the roundabouts.

From the Rex Hotel rooftop


A different direction, still tons of traffic and lights


Looking down on a statue of Uncle Ho.


The rooftop restaurant of the Rex Hotel. That's Don way down near the stage, Gail with her back to the camera.


From the other direction. This is a great place on a balmy evening.


The Rex is huge with the tourists–although it isn’t expensive, it’s probably too rich for most of the residents of Saigon.  They offer both western and Vietnamese food.  Hicks that we are, we were all ready for some home cooking.  I had a club sandwich.  Gail and Linda had the Rex Burger, which is about as good as a burger gets:

Big burger, cheese, bacon, ham and a fried egg. Fries on the side. The salad is just for show. This is probably a felony in Los Angeles, but it sure tastes good.


The future president of the ACBL couldn’t resist:


What Don thinks of the World Bridge Federation


After dinner we walked into the malestrom of traffic to get to the center island of the roundabout and take a photo of the hotel.  It was full of young people (all of Vietnam is full of young people) just enjoying the evening.  A couple of teenaged girls, about 85 pounds each,  needed to have their picture taken with Don and me–they had never seen anyone so large.  We made their night when we each picked one up like babies and their friend took a picture. Noblesse oblige,  and all that.

We had a great time that night–the air was perfect, the food was fine and the mood of the city was bright and exciting.  Not a bad end to the trip.


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