September 4, 2013
Leaving Vietnam. I arrived on June 14th and now it’s time to go. Honestly it sucks leaving. I’ve grown so fond of this culture. Motorbikes are swerving left an right carrying pounds of cargo, cab drivers burning cigs inside the cars, people eating pho on the streets for breakfast, the smell of mint in the air, a family of five on one motorbike, oxen crossing a busy intersection, police pulling over a car for no good reason other to collect money, a dog happier than anything in a fresh bag of trash, children playing a tennis type game in the streets, witnessing numerous close collisions that never occur, the scorching heat, trying to tell taxi driver “airport” over and over before it clicks, wondering half way through the cab ride if indeed you are going to the airport, waking up to the electricity having gone off, smiling at a Vietnamese whose face looks startled then continuing to smile hello until they break their state and return the smile, shaking people’s hands after telling them you are from America, beer for breakfast (had to be done), not knowing exactly what’s in your pho but eating it anyways, wondering when and if you’ll have wifi access to book a last minute hostel, eating passion fruit and dragon fruit, reaching for your seatbelt and the driver grabs your arm signaling “no, no need for that”, the noise pollution, the grey skies, the newly built skyscrapers (all blown up during the war), a society that has been through numerous wars but somehow recovered so quickly it’s astonishing, a culture that mainly still idolizes their communistic leader Ho Cho Minh, the police of Hanoi walking through the streets before 12:00 curfew and everyone dropping everything an immediately going indoors, paying with a currency called “Dong” that is counted in the thousands, saying “no thanks” to prostitutes/ladyboys who approach you left and right, the street kids selling gum, the street vendors with cigarette carts that when open is full of “disguised” marijuana, the bumpy streets, checking into hostels and them holding your passport and you hope no one steals it, getting a menu and having no clue what you are ordering, not knowing if you are getting scammed or not, passing up a car taxi for a motorbike taxi because its just that much more fun, meeting people who become your family away from home, meeting people for one day and having them impact you in ways you never imagined, making last minute decisions to change your itinerary, the nights it’s so hot you can’t sleep, the uncomfortable mattresses making finding a comfortable one that much better, people coming in and of your dorm hostel at all hours of the night, the horns and roosters starting at 5:30am, locals asking for your Facebook before they know your name, those few horrible days being extremely hungover in the heat saying “I’ll never drink
again”, the temples that give you a sense of source and peace, the incense burning at dusk, the synchronized music playing through the streets, the communistic characteristics that’s till linger, traveling alone yet not having 5 min to yourself for days, staying in Ho Chi Minh City for 14 days when at first you wanted to leave immediately, meeting locals who take you out and around town letting you experience Vietnam in a completely different way, having a caring hostel staff that cares and makes you feel like your at home with your family (DiepThu Nguyen, Kathy Papyz, Ho Duy Ngoc).. It’s impossible to explain what you see in the daily rhythm of life in this country. These are just a very things that I take with me from Vietnam. So many things are feelings that can’t be put into words. I know when I arrive in Thailand there will be many similarities yet many differences, however I will miss this country. Anyways, enough of my rambling brainstorming session, my flights boarding! Bangkok, Thailand.. Here I Come.