160910 Saigon

On our group tours, we allow our fellow travellers a day of ‘getting used to being away from home’ before we get into real touring. They often choose to eat out local or get a massage or just chill doing things that keep them amused. We plan to have a massage today for 100 minutes. The massage includes stone and oil massage for just $A25.00. Sounds good! I may report later in this post if I wake up.

Last night when we came to bed, there was a card with a ‘Bedtime Story’ for us to read. Here goes:

                                                    Empresses of Vietnam

In ancient times, various Chinese empires ruled Vietnam for thousands of years. As a result, the nation has been affected by one of China’s most significant values: male dominance. At one point in the country’s history, however, an empress ruled Vietnam, even though these years did not last long.

Ly Chieu Hoang, a true heir to the throne, was Vietnam’s only official empress. She was no more than an innocent child when she was crowned at the age of seven. Not long after, under political arrangements set up by Tran Thu Do, chief of the royal guard, she was married to Tran Thu Do’s nephew. The marriage between the Ly and Tran clans put an end to the Ly dynasty and turned a page on Vietnam’s story. As a wife, Ly Chieu Hoang left the throne to her husband, marking the beginning of the county’s Tran dynasty. Despite the fact that their marriage was political, Ly Chieu Hoang and her husband truly loved one another and lived happily for the next 12 years.

Vietnam’s other, unofficial empress lived hundreds of years before the country’s dynasties were formed. Her name as Trung Trac, but history never mentions her alone; she was inseparable from her sister, Trung Nhi, and the two were called hai ba Trung, meaning “the two Trung Ladies”. The only female military leaders in the history of Vietnam, the sisters successfully led the nation in overthrowing Chinese control in 40 AD. To this day they are considered national heroines. After the rebellion, Trung Trac became empress, ruling the country for the next three years. The Hai Ba Trung are worshiped all over the country, with their name being used for major schools, districts and streets in several cities – including Hai Ba Trung in Saigon’s District 1, the street in front of our hotel, the Park Hyatt Saigon.

Interesting story but I would prefer to also have the normal chocolate on my pillow.

As mention earlier, time given at the first destination is for some R&R to give everyone some time to ‘do their on thing in their own time’. Some managed to find the market and wander through the narrow ways between stalls. Others chose the easier R&R by just relaxing by the pool.

The most enjoyable method of R&R proved to be taking a Vietnamese massage just across the way. For $A25, you ‘put up with’ 90 minutes of full on heavy, strong massage with a very solid stone massage thrown in for good measure. Deb had never had a massage that just seemed to go on and on and on. The conversation at the meal table that evening centred around every move of the massage down to the gaudy pyjama shorts they gave you to put on for the duration. Those who didn’t take a massage certainly became aware of what they missed out on and are now ‘candidates’ for today’s visit to the same establishment. I’m sorry we don’t have any photos of the massages, but massages are not about how they ‘look’; but how you feel during and after them. hahah! This is all for a massage that costs around $US240 on a cruise. Some of us already have our sights on a massage nearly every day during the tour – not on the ship but in the little towns we visit along the way.

Sunday evening, we meet up with our Scenic Tour Director and the other guests who we will be travelling with for the next 2 weeks or so.