After language class we took a bus tour of Ho Chi Minh City. We made a few stops on this tour, but the coolest place we visited was the Reunification Palace which was the Presidential Palace where Ho Chi Minh lived. There weren't any tours ready when we arrived so we were allowed to explore the palace on our own which I prefer. After walking through the four-story palace and soaking up the beautiful views of the city on the rooftop deck, I stood in front of a fan for about 15 minutes to try to cool of as I waited for the rest of our group to be done. Not only was this the most interesting stop on the tour, but it was also the last so we headed back to the hotel to have lunch.
We were all excited for this afternoon because we were finally going shopping! On the way to the first market (a tradtional Vietnamese market in Chinatown) we stopped at a beautiful old Chinese temple. The architecture was incredible and the hand carvings that decorated the walls were amazing. After another quick bus ride we arrived at the market. We walked in and were overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that was jammed into the space. It was literally piles and piles of fabric, shoes, hats, motorbike helmets, food...basically anything you would ever need to live in Vietnam. The aisles were so skinny and it was so crowded! It was a cool experience to walk around, but it was also a little too much for the group so we ended up leaving early. Still in the mood to shop, however, a few of us got dropped off at the more touristy market on the way back to the hotel. Here we were able to pick up some of our souvenirs by bargaining in Vietnamese with some vendors.
Following the short cab ride back to the Victory I took a dip in the pool and got ready for dinner. We went to a "French" restaurant called TiTi where I had ostrich with barbecue sauce and french fries. It sure wasn't French food as I know it, but it was delicious!