Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Moggysmekongmadness

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Diamond Plaza used to look like this.....

Well all know Diamond Plaza right?  Well, who would have thought that it used to be this......

Ahhh.....the good old days.  I would love to be able to be transported back it time and spend a day wandering around the city as it was in this era.  It all appears very classy!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

Are You Going to the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Long Tan?

If you are considering attending the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at the Long Tan Cross then there are a few things that you will need to know.  The following information is taken from the Australian Consulate Website.  It is also suggested you bring a torch.  If I may add my own suggestion with a box of tissues.  I will be attending and anticipate it to be a very moving morning.  For a bit more history on the battle of Long Tan, here is a link to a post I did last year on Veterans Day.

 Veterans Day - Long Tan 2011

The Australian Consulate advises:

The Long Tan Cross (LTC), located in Ba Ria-Vung Tau (BRVT) Province approximately 110 km east of Ho Chi Minh City, marks the site of the Battle of Long Tan. This Battle, which took place on 18 August 1966, was Australia's single most costly engagement of the Vietnam War, with the loss of 18 Australian soldiers.
A cross was first erected on the site in 1969 when the 6th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, which fought in the Battle, was on its second tour of duty . The original cross was later removed by the Vietnamese. A replica now stands on the same site.
Visiting the Long Tan Cross
Due to sensitivities regarding the memorial and because it is located on relatively isolated, non-public land, those wishing to visit the site must notify the Dat Do District People’s Committee in writing by fax 3 days in advance of their visit, either individually or through a travel agent.
Local authorities recommend visitors utilise a travel agent as notification should be in Vietnamese language and should include names and passport numbers of visitors, as well as their intended day/time of visits to the LTC. For individuals wishing to notify directly, please download a bilingual standard notification form.
The fax number for Dat Do District People’s Committee is:

+84 64 3688 245……. From outside Vietnam
064 3688 245…………From inside Vietnam
The telephone number is:
+84 64 3688 285.........From outside Vietnam
064 3688 285..............From inside Vietnam

In recognition of sensitivities associated with the LTC, visitors should conduct themselves with appropriate decorum and observe the following protocols in order not to jeopardise continued access to this important site:
  • No medals or military uniforms to be worn
  • No flags to be raised or displayed
  • No music to be played
  • Any speeches made at the site to be low key and short
Official Services at the Long Tan Cross
In recognition of the importance of the LTC to veterans and others who wish to recognise Australians who served in Vietnam, local authorities permit the Australian Consulate-General to organise two annual official commemoration services at the LTC on behalf of the Australian Government:
1. Anzac Day Dawn Service on 25 April, commencing 5:15am
2. Vietnam Veterans’ Day Service on 18 August, commencing 3:30pm.
Travel Agents in Ba Ria-Vung Tau (for reference)
  • OSC Vietnam Tours
    9 Le Loi Street, Ward 1, Vung Tau City
    Tel: +84 64 3852008 or 3810515 or 3254008
    Fax: +84 64 3852318
  • Vung Tau Tourist Corporation.
    29 Tran Hung Dao Street, Vung Tau City.
    Tel :+84 64 3857527 or 3511043
    Fax : +84 64 3852284 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Continental Hotel - Old Saigon

Loving this old pic of the area around the Continental Hotel.  To get your bearings, the photo was taken out of the front of what is now the Hyatt looking toward Dong Khoi.  The Opera house would be to our left.  You can see the old Eden Mall in the background which has now been demolished and another horrific Vincom Centre to take it's place later this year.  Fabulous old cars....where are the bikes?  Ahhhh....the good old days.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Our Favorite Yum Cha in Saigon

Some times you just have to Yum Cha!  Our favourite Yum Cha place is Ocean Palace which is situated on Le Duan on the corner near the zoo.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Scarletts break was her dominant arm.  It has been fascinating watching her adapt to using her left hand.  She actually did an amazing job of learning to eat with her new "L" plate chopsticks!  Both Quiddy and I are left handed so it would not surprise me if after 6 weeks like this she ends up ambidextrous.

One of the things we love about Ocean Palace is that it is big and noisy.  No need to keep telling the kids to be quiet every five minutes.  On Sundays it is filled with families and has a fantastic friendly atmosphere.  Not the place to go for a romantic Sunday lunch.

The other reason we love it is of course the food!  Consistently good and reasonably priced.  Service is fast and friendly and the waiters all have a reasonable grasp of English.

And last but by no means least, it is fabulously child friendly.  This guy sets up his table downstairs and creates the most intricate, jaw dropping plasticine creations for the kids.  It is supposed to be for free but we always slip him a little something when no one is looking.  Seriously, talent like that needs to be rewarded!

Quiddy asked for a dragon.  This took all of five minutes.

Scarlett asked for a pony.  He was just incredible!  Best thing was, if you can manage to get them home without them getting squashed, they harden overnight so they can keep them forever.

All in all a great way to spend a Sunday lunch.  It usually cost us a total of $40 Aussie dollars for a couple of beers and soft drinks and 6 dishes with rice.  Kids entertainment....priceless!!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sayonara Japan. Last Day

Our last full day saw me get the morning off for good behaviour.  It also saw our only rain of the trip.  I headed straight to the shops!

First stop was Kuromon Ichiba Market.  This market runs for about 600 metres and is crammed full of  about 170 shops , most of which specialise the freshest and best quality meat,  vegetable, eggs and fish from around the country and abroad.    Although well over half of the sales are for professional business they also sell to the general public.  For over 170 years everyone from restaurant chefs to housewives come here for the best of the best. 
I had yet to have breakfast so when I spied this place was serving food decided to give it a go.  You know it must not get any fresher than when the fish you get served is served by the guys still wearing the white fishmonger boots!

The "kitchen"

Best.  Miso.  Ever.  Not tofu but these little babies hiding at the bottom!
Yes, I had sake for breakfast.

Absolutely the nicest, most delicious, freshest sushi I have ever eaten.  Hand down.

I love how instead of the hassle of taking gloves off and on they have these little hand warmers attached to the bike.  Great idea!

Oh Lordy....

Hard to see in this pic but this seafood is actually being steamed, ready to eat.

And of course this had to be the last supper :(

Love Hotels are just matter for course it seems.  You have to go somewhere for some privacy right?

America Mura says farewell.

And so do we from amazing Japan.

...but not without a photo of the kids favourite thing.  Seriously, people underestimate how amazing a heated toilet seat can be.  Scarlett in particular loved it but her little butt was so small the bidet used to fly up the back and soak the bathroom!  We obviously had the el cheapo model in our hotel.  One I had the pleasure to use even had odour control!

So that was Japan.  Thanks for coming along for the ride.  We really did have an absolutely  amazing time and can recommend it to anyone.  It was at times a bit of a challenge with the language barrier but a smile is universal.  No problems if travelling with kids and no where near as expensive as we had anticipated.  If anyone needs any info drop me a line and I would be happy to help.  Back to Vietnam now and I promise to show you lots of interesting and wonderful things to do and great places to eat in our wonderful city (and country)!