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This week’s guest post for the ‘Day-to-Day’ series comes from Sheryll at The Wanderlust Project who’s currently working and living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. If you’re an expat and interest in sharing the day-to-day details of your city shoot me a message at thepaperplanesblog @ gmail . com.
I live in District 7, Phu My Hung, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Phu My Hung is unique, as it’s considered quite upscale and “high-class” compared to the rest of the city. It’s located roughly 20 minutes outside of the center of the city. There’s a large expat community in the area, with tons of eateries, shops, spas, and nail/hair salons.
I start the day by waking up anywhere between 7-8am. I eat a small pre-workout snack, throw on gym clothes, and walk to my local gym. At about 8am, it’s already sweltering hot, the humidity levels at about 70-90%. On my way to the gym, I say hi to the taxi drivers and security guards hanging around outside. I spend about 30-45 minutes at the gym, and on my way home, if it’s a Monday, I buy bouquets of fresh flowers from a man who sells them outside the gym. After I get my flowers, I walk to the smoothie stand on the corner, and grab my favorite – an avocado mango smoothie. I’ve tried other kinds of smoothies, but I always come back to the avocado mango one. It’s delicious!
After I eat breakfast (usually an omelet I whip up in the kitchen), I do all of my blog work. At this point, it’s entirely too hot to be outside for extended periods of time, so I spend a majority of my afternoons indoors, whether it’s in my apartment or in a café near my apartment. If I decide to go to a café, I always get a Vietnamese iced coffee. Almost verging on too sweet, they are delicious and definitely pack a huge caffeine punch. I answer e-mails, comments, browse Twitter and Facebook, maybe take a photo for Instagram. If it’s a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, I go ahead and schedule my blog posts on Twitter, and make sure the post is up running without and glitches.
By this time, I’m starved, so I walk to grab a bowl of my all-time favorite food, pho. Typically, pho is eaten for breakfast in Vietnam, but it’s also a lunchtime favorite. Pho is everywhere around Ho Chi Minh City, but I usually go to a little restaurant behind my apartment. One bowl is beef-y, noodle-y goodness will set you back about $2.50, if not cheaper in other places. It’s part of the reason why I usually have pho at least 5 times a week.
On Mondays, I go to get a manicure and pedicure from a gorgeous nail salon near my apartment called Audrey Nails. The manicurists are hilarious, and we’ve become great friends in the few months that I’ve been living here. Each week, I get some sort of nail art, ranging from bright and bold, to subtle and understated. It takes about 1.5/2 hours, depending on how complicated the designs are, but it’s one of the things I just HAVE to do. When I lived in Korea, I usually painted my nails myself since it was quite expensive to have them done, but I can get a manicure, plus all the nail designs for about $12 dollars here. A steal if you ask me.
After my manicure, I usually go home and get ready for dinner. In Phu My Hung, there isn’t much street food, so most days, I order from Vietnammm.com, an online delivery service for food from all over Ho Chi Minh City. You can get Vietnamese food, Indian food, Korean food, Algerian food, whatever your heart desires. I opt for something different every day, but a steady favorite of mine is the bun thit nuong (barbequed pork on top of noodles, veggies and fresh herbs) from Mon Hue, a Vietnamese chain restaurant. At only about 3 dollars, it’s more than worth it.
On the weekends, my boyfriend and I usually venture out into District 1, the hub of the city. We usually wander around until we’re hungry and then find some unassuming spot to eat. That’s the beauty of Vietnam, there’s literally food everywhere, at all times of the day. Don’t be afraid of the street food, that’s where some of the best dishes are made! Follow your nose, and you definitely won’t be disappointed. And before we make the trip back home, I always stop by and grab a cupcake (or 4) from my favorite bakery. Fly Cupcakes. Weekends are always the best when there are cupcakes involved.