After a glorious 15-hour sleep-a-thon, we were off to the market. Our hotel was just a block away from the Ben-Thanh Market, which is a super humongous market that sells everything. No joke - everything!
This is the seafood aisle - each of these little buckets had oysters, mussels, crabs, etc. Anything and everything you could think of.
Herbs and veggies
Dried fish and shrimp - who doesn't need that?!
Ryan and Tony in the market!
Every kind of fruit that is imaginable.
Traffic outside the market
I got my first beverage in a coconut! I got a drink in a pineapple when I went to the Bahamas, and really wanted one in a coconut. Well, two years later I finally found one! Except rather than rum punch, this one contained coconut juice. Gag.
I tried to pawn the coconut off on Ryan, but he didn't love it either.
Ryan at the market!
Me at the market!
Here is the outside of the market. At this point, I was still a newbie at crossing the street in Vietnam, so I was super impressed with Tony's skills. He's in the blue shirt to the left of the green taxi-van.
Whew! He's coming back! And he's alive!
We decided to head back into the market after taking a breather - it was blazing hot out and blazing hot indoors too, since A/C is definitely not used in most Viet stores. It would probably cost too much to cool the joint down! We were cruising the aisles, and I saw this Buddha in a coffee store. I LOVED it. Had to have it. Needed it. Wanted it.
The salesman explained that it was made of a piece of driftwood, and was one solid piece of wood (not hollow like cheaper statues). Price: $500! We were not prepared to pay quite that much for this (gorgeous) statue though. So they got it down off the shelf and set it out beside the serving table, where they made us coffee and let us stare at it while we enjoyed our coffee break.
Ryan and Tony enjoying a bev!
We bought the Buddha. Got it for $200, and they packaged it for us. It was very delicately carved, with individual fingers and flowers, and I was sure that when we got it home, the fingers would be broken off or something would be damaged on it, but it was perfect. The guys who packaged it up did an amazing job and it looks great in our dining room! :)
Here are some pics from outside and around the market. There was loads of traffic and loads of people. I think the guidebook said something like 7 MILLION people live in Saigon, so it was a bit crowded!
We finally took a break at Highland Coffee - expensive by Vietnamese prices, but still only like $1.50 US. It was a swanky, Starbucks kind of atmosphere, and loads of English-speaking tourists were on the veranda with us.
We people watched for a while - to get a break from walking around in the extreme heat and to rest our little legs! The guy propped up under the tree is the scooter valet. No kidding. You just drive your scoot up on the sidewalk, they give you a ticket, and you're running your errands, whatever you need to do.
It was a good place to take a break. We were going non-stop!