Maybe not the ‘Get this guys, I’ve got a really good slogan to promote us in the international arena’, Mr Head of Marketing at the Vietnamese Tourist Department pitched, to sell this dynamic and truly exciting developing city – however for me – this metropolis is ripe for Cocktail sipping.
And before I launch into my Why I have such a soft spot for Ho Chi Minh City speech, please be aware your drink of choice need not be alcoholic – so please, I repeat, please… do not rip up your plane tickets in despair dear teetotaller, simply spoil yourself with Cocktail’s closest cousin, Mocktail and you’ll experience a similar high…I think.
So, desperate to do right, our small band of travellers, took advice from a former resident of this fabulous city prior to touch down. And what super counsel it was.
As a result we set up sticks at the Majestic Hotel, a glorious establishment providing rooms, beverages, food, pool…I could go on…made instantly better at check-in, by the pleasurable words of Fleur (a sensational Head of House), informing us kindly that we had been ‘upgraded to a suite at no additional expense’.
Hoorah – our room, sorry, rooms – think the kind of place you need an intercom for – forced a quick delay on the sight-seeing front, whilst we fired up the Jacuzzi and filled the camera with evidence of our sensational rise in status.
Having to fight the desire to stay at camp – we headed out to make some really tough decisions.
- Firstly, where are we going to have a sunset drink? Should we try our hotel, the Sheraton or the Rex?
- Secondly, where are we going to eat? And this was actually more tricky, as pretty much everywhere you have options. Excellent options. From simple street food through to top-end dining – even a German Beer Hall.
Decisions made, meal consumed and our post dinner walk round lead us to, the roof top terrace of the Rex Hotel.
I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so much in my life. Furnished with an Irish Banana (an interesting mix of Baileys, Banana liqueur, and some other stuff – beautifully decorated with a half banana, finished with a strawberry either side), I reclined comfortably to soak in the entertainment.
However, I didn’t relax too long. The song was too catchy. My body begged to sit up. It was mesmerizing. For 5 metres in front me, was a Vietnamese Tom Jones, providing the packed terrace with a spell-bounding version of Delilah.
It’s been 2.5 weeks since and I am still having flashbacks. Not nasty, ‘please don’t make me do it again’ flashbacks, rather sweet moments of reflection and vocal appreciation. It wasn’t just the Rex Hotel and the younger South-East Asian Tom Jones; it was Fleur; it was the friendly coconut salesman who helped us cross a busy road; it was the Teppanyaki chef who dared to let my 12 year old throw a salt shaker in his direction; it was the propaganda poster museum/shop we went to; it was the smiles you easily obtain from a passing local; and it was the kind welcome we received from the main branch of the ANZ Bank when we went to collect my husband’s debit card.
Ho Chi Minh City is such a great place – where unexpected and astounding things happen.