View of Saigon from the Rex Hotel roof
Saigon is a city full of scooters and the traffic is nuts. I kid you not - we saw entire families of two parents and four children crammed on to one scooter! The way the scooter drivers wove in and out of traffic was amazing, but a little nerve wracking if you're a passenger in a car. Cars are constantly honking to warn scooter drivers to get out of the way. And crossing the street... that's a whole different adventure. I felt like I was playing Frogger. 

War Room
After the Cu Chi tunnels tour, we headed back to Saigon to tour the Independence Palace, also known as the Reunification Palace. The palace was the headquarters of the South Vietnamese government during the Vietnam War. At the end of the war, the North Vietnamese army drove a tank through the front gates of the palace, signifying the end of the war and the "reunification" of the two sides.

The palace is preserved in its 1970's form which I thought was pretty neat because we got to see the environment as it was during the Vietnam War. The first and second floors primarily had offices and meeting rooms while the third and fourth floors had entertainment and dance halls. The basement held all of the communications rooms, including president's quarters, and we saw maps that detailed troop positions. Who knows what key decisions were made at the time!

We loved the 70's decor - Austin Powers was here...
The Reunification Palace tour rounded out our first full day in Saigon. Afterwards, we wandered the city, checking out the Ben Thanh night market. We discovered a great art gallery and bought some paintings (I can't wait to hang them up when we return to the states!). To top off the day, we had desserts at the rooftop bar of the Rex Hotel and the view was great (see the photo above). It was a relaxing way to end a very busy day in Saigon!

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