Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Saigon/HCMC: Watching the World Go By at Lamenda Café

One evening in Saigon, the sister and I were looking for a place to hang out after dinner. We have just tucked the parents into bed (hehe, the other way around huh?) and we were ready to chill the evening away.


Coffee and Cocktails.

We want to sit down somewhere and talk over a fresh cocktail drink and watch the world go by. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of cool outdoor places in Ben Thanh area where we were staying where you can sit back, relax and watch life happening before you on the streets.

But we got lucky though when we came upon this lounge café just a block away from Ben Thanh market and our hotel. It was, I guess, the only cool and chic place to hang out in the vicinity.

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My sister and I have a very wide age gap. More than a decade difference.

I left home when she was just 12 years old. Ultimately, the ambition and driving factor for me to leave home were to pursue my own destiny. I was 22 turning 23 and I just graduated from college. I grabbed the opportunity to take my licensure examination in Manila as a step nearer to this dream, to freedom.

I wanted to carve my own life. Make my own decisions. Far away from anyone. I want to find myself and become the person who I want to be. I want to try new things, entertain opportunities and experience the real life. Ah, the world was at my feet. That was a very nice feeling.

So my sister never really had an elder sister – or  “ate” in the Philippines – when she was growing up in her teens. I also vividly remembered her when she was little. She had the Barbies that I never had as a kid, although I do not think she appreciated them in any way. She was very fond of Gameboy which was the successor to the Game & Watch my brother and I used to play back in the early 80’s. I remember her mostly in her grade school uniform and wearing little party dresses. I later learned that she hated those dresses, which reminds me of my own party dresses that I also abhorred because the lace tickles my neck and face. It’s like my fond memories of her got stuck when she was a child.

But every year (sometimes twice a year), I went home. Usually Christmas... for the family.

Do you ever believe that the farther you are from home, the closer you will be or you are with your family? It can be true you know.

My sister and I have many unspoken words and rules that we understand without having to speak extensively about. It is strange but it is also nice.

Like me, she has left home after school as well, much to the chagrin of my mother of course. I guess I am a bad influence. She has lived in Manila, Singapore and now New Zealand. I am quite excited to visit her soon in New Zealand this spring, which will be autumn there. Yup, I bought the tickets already! =)

Anyway, back to Saigon…


The lounge cafe during the day.

We were lucky to have found an available table on the outdoor terrace. It is a busy lounge café, although the tables were almost empty inside. This lounge café is clearly best experienced outdoors. So we sat outside and ordered our drinks. First, a cup of coffee for me, and then followed by our cocktail drinks.

Its one of those rare moments that we can spend time together again. Just talking. Catching up casually. Like it is just another day. It is so interesting to see how our lives have panned out. None of us have expected it this way. Now we are both living across the globe, at opposites end with our family in the middle.

The world for our family seems very small, well at least for me. The Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines.

We were both glad to have found the Lamenda Café. We did watch the world go by, with a drink on hand, talking about the mundane things, and of how life is treating us. Just a very simple thing, an ordinary moment, yet a luxury for us that we rarely have.


Coffee first before the cocktails.


I really like the hanging lamps.... something I would like to have at home.


The Philippines was on the news. The lounge cafe has a couple of these huge screens inside.

Travel Period: December 2016
Destination: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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