One Day in Saigon before Malaysia

  • By Daniel
  • 2009-07-19 19:07:00-0700

Saturday, Tien and I woke up at the familiar Ruby Star which is situated in the Pham Ngu Lao area of Saigon. Our room was small and had no window so realizing that it was time to get up was difficult from the darkness of our bed, but an incoming phone call helped wake us up and get our morning started.

We went to get breakfast but ended up at a travel agency first. We got a price for two tickets to Kuala Lumpur for the following day, then went to go have breakfast and try to find something better. We had a breakfast of simply bread with eggs and soy sauce with Vietnamese white coffee, so delicious. After visiting a few other travel agencies we decided to go with the more expensive, but more convenient time-wise option that we first found.

With travel plans covered we went to tackle the only other thing we needed to do in Saigon, find camera gear. I was still searching for the Loreo 3d rig and a pocket cam. We managed to find an official Canon store, but the camera that I wanted, the Ixus 870 IS. It's a 2008 model, but surprisingly the Canon store did have... for a whopping 9,000,000+ dong, which is more than $500. We continued our search and ended up at some 5 story electronics store that was having a super duper awesome mega blitz sale extravaganza palooza z0r where gold painted models were standing outside as statues holding a sign that presumably advertised an amazing deal and loud music with a man continuously talking about something that must have been really really awesome could be heard from a block away.

We walked inside and were unable to find any 2008 model cameras, but we did, however, find the much coveted Panasonic DMC-LX3 and my heart rejoiced and then was immediately torn and frustrated. So much like love it might have been just that. "Should I get the Canon Ixus model that replaced the 870, or should I go with the LX3?" I could not even begin to consider buying a camera that I hadn't researched online, so we went across the street to the second floor of a bakery that smelled like sugary pastry heaven. We got some disappointing smoothies and I did some poor online research that led me to no conclusions. I pulled up Skype on my iPhone and rang up some buddies in America. It was only 11pm or so there and it was Saturday night, I figured they'd be awake and probably happy to hear from me while they were up partying or whatever.

Ben didn't answer his phone, which sucked because he owns the LX3 and I wanted to get his final word on its awesomeness. Nathan pretty much said "go with the Lumix", which I wasn't even really considering at this point, and he also said "they're pretty much all the same once you get above a hundred dollars or so, so you can't really go wrong" and that was decent advice.

I went back to the store, saw the price on the Ixus 960 and bought the LX3. Spending that much money when I don't have a job is a tough decision, especially after buying two next day plane tickets to another country, but it was something I needed as a photographer and I knew I'd be happy with it.

Tien and I went back to the hotel and rested. I planned to take a nap but ended up researching some stuff online and talking with Tien about philanthropic technological stuff like the X-Prize and Folding@home. We also talked about Roomba, which I love. We then headed back out to get some food while room service cleaned our room. We went to a local pizza place and got some disappointing pizza and I got a disappointing cocktail. We then tried to find some sandals for Tien, whose feet were sore and in dire need of some function over fashion footwear. We were also on the lookout for an SDHC card for the new camera, which I thought would be incredibly easy to find but instead was incredibly difficult to find. We found some great sandals though, perfect fit and Tien loved them. She put them on and we walked and walked and walked and walked until we were back at the super duper mega sale store where they only had wimpy 2gb cards. On the way back to the hotel I found an electronics boutique that sold me an 8gb card touted as being class six but in fact ended up being class 4. I swear, you can't trust anything around here.

It began to rain a long block away from our hotel and we got to the front door just in time to be completely soaked. Luckily air conditioning helps dry wet clothes. We rested and then went back out for drinks. We found a nice lounge called Classica with only two other people in it. I got a beer and Tien got a chocolate milk. They also brought us rambutan and dragon fruit, which was nice. There was American music playing that was half neat and half awful. All in all though it was a nice place and made up for the mediocre lunch we'd had.

We retired to the hotel with anticipation of our flight to Malaysia the next day, a new camera in hand to document our trip and new experiences.