Today’s goal was to dig deep to learn more of my family roots and seeing how they might have lived. What amazed me when asking my parents how I should find their childhood homes, they both rattled addresses perfectly from memory. In spite of the sweltering heat, we made our way outside of our hotel’s neighborhood in search of the buildings and streets that shaped my parents.
After both of us were a little sick yesterday we wanted some safe food for our first meal today, so we headed to a mall food court assuming fast food would have to be safe.
This was my mom’s last home before leaving Vietnam for the U.S. You can see it is now a hotel.
Right across from that house is a very nice park.
Here is her mom’s childhood home.
Though barely used today, my Vietnamese name is Mai Khoi. My father had named me after the street he grew up on.
We were unable to find my dad’s actual house, but the street itself was pretty cool so we snapped some shots.
Mai Khoi street had its name changed years ago causing quite some confusion while we roamed aimlessly. Without asking, a friendly local woman informed us where we could find it. In an attempt to return the favor, we sat and had some refreshing fresh made sodas in her coffee shop. As you can see, the chairs in Vietnam were not made for American-sized Rich.
We had been looking for McDonald’s all morning. It’s always fun to try the McDonald’s in a new country to see what they have on the menu. After failing all morning, we finally relented and went for lunch at Pepper Lunch in the Saigon Centre Mall. When we got in the elevator to go to the food court there they were; the Golden Arches right next to one of the elevator floors.
Pepper Lunch turned out to be really good. There’s even one in Orange County if we crave it back home!
Chicken and rice was the only anomaly I could find on the menu.
After lunch we met up with my Uncle, Cau Khanh, to have a quick beverage and learn about my family’s life in Vietnam.
A massage was Rich’s one request in Saigon. It was around $50 for both of us, with a private room, for a 90 minute massage.
After our massages we headed back to Aunt Maika’s house for Bún Mắm. The family was very concerned that Rich wouldn’t be able to eat it. They’re always shocked to find out how much he enjoys the shrimp paste concentrate that makes up the base of this soup as well as mắm nêm sauce.
Rich, my cousin Nick, Aunt Maika, and I enjoying the view.
We ended the night with a cocktail on the 52nd floor of the tallest building in Saigon; Bitexco’s Skydeck. We admired the views of the cityscape from one of the highest observation areas in the city. Tomorrow we’ll be missing Nick when he heads back to Cambodia for work.