It happened again!! Without fail, when traveling, so many times I go for a run and find myself somewhere wonderful and memorable (even if I don’t get to run as much as I’d hoped)!
On our first run in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, we found ourselves running in a wonderful statue park (see, A Statue Park Named Tao Dan Park in Vietnam).
The following day, I tried to get Dave out the door earlier hoping we might be able to run along the Saigon River to run. However, even at 8 a.m. there was no way to get across the street to the river. There were just too many motorbikes and absolutely no traffic control. It was insane!
So, we walked into a Le Meridien hotel and asked for suggestions. I was given a map and told of a nearby park. I’m not sure I ever found the park I was supposed to go to (which seems to be a pattern in my life), but we found some other park.
First, we happened upon The Museum of Vietnamese History which wasn’t open yet.
Beyond the museum, there was a ticket counter and a gate. We’d found the Saigon Zoo! Who knew?
Dave and I looked at each other. We were only out for a run and had to be back at our hotel in less than 2 hours (missing the Park Hyatt breakfast was out of the question), should we pay and go to the zoo?
It looked as if we could we run on the grounds of the zoo! How cool would that be? There was adventure behind the gates, so we paid the entry fee (about $5 for the two of us) and we went inside!
The grounds were sprawling and phenomenal – and it was empty so we were able to run a little!!!
We couldn’t believe where we’d found ourselves!
While some animals were caged in, others were in more open surroundings.
But the best part was neither the animals, nor the run. A little while after we entered the park, it started filling with schoolchildren on class trips. Each class wore the same outfit. Suddenly, we were getting massive HELLOs from these adorable kids! The children, young and old, would call out HELLO and GOOD MORNING and HOW ARE YOU and other phrases in English. We fell in love with them! They so were vivacious and friendly and filled with smiles.
We spoke to this group of children in particular. Dave even asked them about music (see, Does Vietnam have a Music Scene?).
We even took a group photo together, before we said goodbye!
I loved Vietnam, but if I had to choose a highlight of the trip, it would be the school children that we met on a jog around the zoo.