One of my favorite activities when I travel is to go out for an easy morning run. I nearly always discover new sights and have had memorable experiences by simply lacing up my shoes and heading out the door.
This happened both of the two mornings that we went out running when we were in Ho Chi Minh City aka Saigon, Vietnam. Let me preface this by saying that it is NOT EASY to run in Ho Chi Minh City. Though the terrain is flat, it is humid and warm. Where there even are sidewalks, they are horribly broken. Plus, there are more motorbikes in the Saigon roads than one can shake a stick at.
If we were serious runners, we would have gone out running at 6 a.m. as it is only at that hour that one could have possibly crossed over the highway to get to the Saigon River. But, we didn’t have our morning coffees until 8 a.m. and wanted to be back before the Park Hyatt breakfast ended at 10:30 a.m.
So, we asked the hotel concierge where we might find a park to run. We were directed to a rather small park near the Independence Palace. The park, which we later learned was named Tao Dan Park, was actually split into a number of sections divided by a various through streets. In a follow-the-leader style, we slowly jogged around the park, looking at the sights and noticing many of the boy/girl scout groups engaging in activities.
And then we entered another area of the park, and suddenly we saw one fabulous statue after another.
I’m not sure if I’m right or wrong, but it seemed many of the statues had a female or mother-daughter theme. We also saw this charming lake filled with water lilies.
I know we didn’t discover the statues, but we were pleasantly surprised to find them on our run. Though it’s hard to express in words, for me, it’s these little serendipitous moments that make travel so special and meaningful.