April 2010
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The Saigon Sauna

Steamy Street

My friend Long called me today and asked if I would like to join him for a massage and steam room treatment.  I think I am probably one of the few people in the world that absolutely hates massages so I declined his invitation.  I think massages are very uncomfortable….and yes I’ve had a lot of people try to convince me otherwise.  I guess I just don’t like people touching me….especially strangers.

And why would you pay for a steam room in Saigon at this time of year?   Saigon IS A STEAM ROOM right now!!  I told Long he could save a lot of money by getting his wife to give him a massage and then pull out a lawn chair and sit outside for awhile. 🙂  I hardly used the AC in my room the first month I was here…but I have it on most of the day now.  It has been SO HOT and humid in Saigon for the past month and a half….and my Aunt says I haven’t seen anything yet!!  She says it will get so hot in the next few months that steam will be rising from the streets.  I don’t know what I’m dreading more….the coming heat wave or the rainy season that follows.

I remember reading all the expat blogs before I arrived saying how everyone would pull over and hide in a coffee shop or  restaurant when it would rain and I never understood why.  In the U.S. a little rain would never stop me from driving around town.  Well apparently, most of the streets in Saigon will flood during heavy rainfall….and the sewers would overflow and run onto the streets.  You don’t want to have any of your appendages sitting in that kind of water.  Also many of the manhole covers around the city will be washed away by the flood waters and people have been killed by falling into the open manholes and drains.  On top of all of that your motorbike engine will likely flood and stall out in the high waters if you insist on trying to drive regardless.  I guess I will be one of those people hiding in the coffee shops.

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4 comments to The Saigon Sauna

  • Paul

    I got a sim story to share: I had one in Dalat and never again. Like you, I hate people touching me but it was “free” (included w/ the wkend package deal). I didn’t feel any better afterward. Anyway, when it comes time to tip, I gave her 200k, she wants more. 100k more.. still not enough. At this time I was feeling like I’m bargaining w/ a hooker. I felt terrible.

  • James

    I have to say I love massages. It takes a bit of getting used to. I used to hate it but it grows on you. Mind you, you have to go to professionals and not the other ones that you find all over Saigon that offers “happy endings”.

    The tip is 50k and/or 100k if she does a fantastic shop or you are in one of those high class hotels like the Sheraton.

  • Jon

    It ain’t so bad in Rainy season – if you work regular hours then you’ll probably be fine 90% of the time – rains usually in the afternoon. Although there is always those three weeks in a row when it starts pissing it down at just the time you want to leave work. The flooding can be bad but only in certain parts of the city – hopefully this year all these drainage projects will pay off, but I doubt it. If you prepare well, you can survive even driving in the heaviest rain – for example no trousers and shoes – they’ll get soaked. Take flip-flops with you and a small towel. Get some decent waterproofs and not one of the ponchos off the street…

    As for the heat, March/April – it doesn’t get much worse then it is now.

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