I have the most wonderful memories as a little girl pouring over photo albums filled with black and white photos of my parents’ wedding. Their wedding was a huge glamorous affair with over five hundred people in attendance. At one point my mother had on a beautiful tiara. Her flowers were dramatic and exotic. And her gowns (in Asian tradition she had many, many outfit changes) ranged from the traditional ao dai to sophisticated and elegant western gowns. I remember the elbow length gloves and stiletto heels. My mother was quite the stylish bride and my father was so handsome and dapper in his tuxedo.
As I scrutinized each photo my mother would point out who was in the photo and tell me stories about their friends and her courtship with my dad. It was a happy time for them.
There were married in 1963 at the Caravelle Hotel in Saigon. It was then, and still is today, a five star hotel located in the center of the city.
Of course, I had to visit this very personal and sentimental landmark.
I went up to the bar on the top floor, which has an incredible view of the city.
I spent a leisurely hour enjoying the views and sipping one of my favorite drinks, a Vietnamese iced coffee.
For those unfamiliar with Vietnamese coffee, it is brewed in a tiny french press over a cup (or glass). It drips very slowly and is an exercise in patience. It’s forces you to sit back and relax. Viet coffee is incredibly strong, only a little lighter than the thick mud of Turkish coffee if you’re familiar with that. And in Vietnam they don’t serve it with milk because of the refrigeration issue. Instead they serve it with sweetened condensed milk, which cuts the deep flavor of the coffee beautifully. So, in my little coffee mug is a layer of condensed milk that the coffee drips into. When it’s done brewing I can either drink it hot as is or I can pour it into a cup of ice for a refreshing iced coffee beverage. During the day in Saigon when it’s hot, hot, HOT, iced coffee is a wonderful respite.
Even if you don’t have a personal reason for visiting one of the five star hotels take the time to hit the sky bar at one of them. The views of the city are wonderful.
And the coffee ain’t bad either. Salut!