I love Saigon…

I loved Saigon when I first visited in January 2016! I had an heads up form my AMZ Tracker work mate Erik about where to stay and where to go! Erik arranged an intro to the lovely Jeremy Ginsburg and it was my first official day of being a registered DC (Dynamite Circle). I arrived fresh of the plane after a very short flight from Bangkok and straight into the heart of the city to my Hotel in District One.

Freshened up and headed out to the “Broma Not A Bar” (still can’t quite figure out that name), got myself a cold beer and watched Jeremy delivering his trademark performance on the open mic stage. He really is fucking good! Well recommend that you check him out.

You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill 1 of yours, and in the end it will be you who tire of it.
HO CHI MINH

In the break, I introduced myself to Jeremy and his mates, who all happened to be DC’s, This was really cool and very fortunate, (thanks again Erik for the heads-up) Had a good chin-wag and Jeremy invited me up for a jam on the Cajon! we rattled off a couple of sing-a-long numbers, had a few more beers and had a cracking time!

Any-how’s, it was getting late so myself and Jeremy’s regular Cajon player (Cant remember his name) headed of on his scooter…! Now picture this scene, we were both a bit pissed, so choosing the wise option of getting home, decided to go on his scooter, only thing was, I had to have a large Cajon strapped to my back! For those of you who don’t know what a Cajon is, it is best described as a  big wooden box that you sit on and play like a set of bongo’s! Great bit of furniture, sounds great too but you don’t want one strapped on your back. Riding through Saigon with a pissed driver. (for my US buddies, Pissed in the UK means drunk and not angry!)

Weaving our unsteady way through the streets of Saigon, we finally arrived in Japan Town in District One where we made the wise decision to go to a late night girly bar! Now, for those of you who don’t know Japan Town (This is where I lived) it is a beautiful, characterful neighbourhood of early French colonial walkways interconnecting various parts of the old town. Quite a special gem of a place that I would highly recommend that you visit if you ever get the chance.

Japan Town District One Saigon
Japan Town District One Saigon
(Photo by Brian Roe) I lived at the end of the ally

So, the nameless chap and myself meandered into this bar which I could only describe as like the inside of 1960’s set of the movie Barbarella, but the B movie version! There literally was no expense spared. The walls were wallpapered in Tin (Aluminium) foil and the decor was (trying to be polite here) garish to the extreme!

I ordered my favourite tipple! A Margarita, but this was no ordinary Margarita, it was blue, actually it was luminous blue, like the liquid you’d find in a psychedelic piece of jewellery at an Acid House party, but boy did it taste nice? Had a kick like a mule mind you. (Rob Wise from AMZ Tracker knows exactly what I am talking about.)
The girls were not only gorgeous but also kind enough not to hassle us for a liaison! This was really appreciated as Gift was in Bangkok and I was already missing her. I did go back a few times when I returned to Saigon, I suppose that was to shake of the misery of being in Saigon in what turned out to be a city I really didn’t like at all. But that was my fault and not Saigon’s! see, When you go to an amazing city like Saigon and you are in love with the city you just left, no amount of great experiences will make you feel good about being there. I was not only in love with Bangkok but with Gift, my then girlfriend so it was a double hit of missing and resentment of having  to live and work in Saigon.

Gift Bangkok Brian Roe Blog
Gift in Bangkok

So, Visa run complete and I am ready to leave Saigon but knowing in the back of my mind that I would be returning there with the whole AMZ Tracker crew and new intake in less than a months time! Was I looking forward to it…? God no! It was great to visit but the prospect of living there filled me with unease! I just wasn’t ready or prepared to leave Bangkok. See, i’d fallen in love with her, she mesmerised me and filled me with a sense of purpose! I was creative in Bangkok, my workflow was exceeding even my own expectations and I had a new social circle and a great apartment in Thonglor.

Above all, it would mean saying goodbye to my girlfriend Gift! An incredibly beautiful woman who was not only at peace with herself, …she was at peace with me. This was going to be very tough for me but I bit the bullet in the end and went back the following month.

To be continued…

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