Back to Day One in HCMC

So yesterday we left the hotel early with the plan to walk to the ancient Giac Lam Pagoda. It is believed to be built in 1744. I read that many of the Vietnamese Buddhist temples have aspects of Taoism and Confucianism, not that I understand much more than the fundamentals of religions.

The big white statue was the Quran The Am Bo Tat. Goddess of mercy

Our walk was estimated to be a mile and a half. I don’t believe we got lost but it seemed a lot longer than than, but we both agreed that the walk was the best part of the day. We walked by many people getting ready for the day. It was about 7am on Sunday. We walked down busy streets full of motor scooters, zipping everywhere. It was organized chaos. We both heard that the way to cross a street was to heard straight across, looking straight ahead and keep the same pace. As soon as we trusted this method, we were like locals! It worked. The cars slowed, the scooters went around us like a school of fish.

We enjoyed walking by and into a few produce markets. The vegetable and fruit looks so fresh and vibrant.

We finally arrived at the pagoda. We looked around a bit, lots of statues and what looked like graves, nothing in English. We heard some chanting from the main building and noticed some people in the back of the main structure. So we looked for a way to see closer, and then a man motioned us inside. We started to remove our shoes as is custom, but he again motioned that we didn’t have to. We walked around looking at all the alters, and statues. So many Buddha’s. The man again motioned us to come closer so we did. It was enchanting to listen to the prayers. Many tables were set with bowls and silverware.

We walked out and then looked for a taxi. Nothing so we walked a bit and decided to get a bite to eat. Very few menus have English so we just pointed at pictures on the wall.

Sizzling hot

It started to rain. Again we waited for a taxi. It took awhile so by the time we hailed one we forgot where we were going! I told him Emerald Pagoda, showed the taxi driver where, then realized it was the Jade Pagoda, he still didn’t get it so we said, Norte Dame Cathedral, which he understood and it was on our list! It seemed like he took us the long way!! We have learned to be flexible and we are trying to understand that why would they understand us. We don’t speak their language so we should we expect them to understand ours!

We got the the Cathedral and it was completely under construction, just like the original. No pictures! No entry, but across the street was the famous post office. Looked like a shrine to the Green Bay Packers, beautiful building in green and yellow.

Next on our list was the craft beer scene. Not sure if we found it, but we found a beer place for a few samples.

We are loving all of the plants everywhere. It is so lush, and humid.

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