V I E T N A M P T. 2

22:46 Natasmack 0 Comments

We really enjoyed our adventures in Phong Nha, but something about Vietnam wasn't winning us over. We knew that we had to give it more then a week before we formed a solid opinion. We were having a hard time fitting in. That may be a strange way of explaining it, because we aren't brace faced teenagers trying to win the hearts of the popular kids. It was very simple transition from Canada to Thailand. We were having a hard time finding our place as backpackers from Thailand to Vietnam.

After Phong Nha, we traveled to Hue by sleeper bus. The bus was over filled. People were laying on the floor and amongst those people was courageous Jenika. She graciously let me have the seat as a noble knight does for any diva.  It's common for the busses to be over crowded. I've seen bus drivers ask locals to leave their seats so tourists can have them. Which may seem like a kind gesture, I find it uncomfortable and awkward. 

When we arrived in Hue, we sat down for breakfast and tried to somewhat plan the rest of our trip. We planned things that we wanted to see, and tried to alter our beachy expectation of Vietnam. I should have known better, my plans rarely stick and are ever changing. During breakfast we kept talking about Thailand. We tried not to compare the two countries but we were having a hard time. We really love Thailand. With one familiar look from Jen, I knew she had a game plan. If you don't know already, Jenika is a Make-It-Happen wizard. I've seen this girl turn a piece of fabric into a fabulous birthday dress, a cheap can of soup into a main course masterpiece and now she was going to turn Vietnam into Thailand.

First we made a pros and cons list. We didn't want to leave Vietnam because we missed Thailand. It didn't seem like a valid enough reason.  We worked through our finances, flights, visas and carefully weighed our options. This deliberation took hours. We didn't want to be rash, and we sure weren't going to back out because Vietnam wasn't what we planned it to be. All in all, it's not Vietnam's fault. It was our poor planning that ultimately lead us to this moment. We ended up flying from Hue to Ho Chi Minh City that night. We adjusted all our flights, sorted out visa issues. Instead of flying home on the 27th, we'd be BKK-ing on the 13th. 

We had 5 days in Ho Chi Minh city before we flew out. We really enjoyed our time there. We even made it to a beach. We took a bus to Vung Tau, and laid like lizards for hours. We found wonderful vegetarian restaurants and tried new Vietnamese food. We started feeling like backpackers again, and not like annoying dumb tourists. We even made a few new local friends. One night we decided to check out Ben Thanh Market in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City. We were walking though a park when a smiley young woman approached us and asked if we had a minute to talk. We said yes, because as backpackers we have an infinite amount of time to simply chat. We were greeted by 2 other women. They asked us to sit on the ground with them. I thought they were going to ask me a few questions, and that would be it. We ended up talking for an hour and a half. We swapped stories about our countries, what we did for work, our hobbies and passions. I found out that these lovely women were practicing english for an exam. Before we knew it more people started sitting around us. At one point we had an audience of 10 people wanting to talk to us and practice their english. It was a little overwhelming, but I really enjoyed meeting new people who were so eager to learn.

As the days passed Jen and I were starting to get anxious. We so badly wanted to get back to Thailand. We had a couple dangerous moments that only pushed our desire back to Thailand. One being that I nearly saw Jenika get hit by a scooter. It was such a close call. We looked both ways, and took our first steps to cross the road when this pink scooter piled high with people whipped around the corner and nearly whipped out guava snacking Jenika. We retreated safely to the side walk and were dead silent. Which is saying something cause we are always talking, singing, or shouting. Then to top it off, we saw a dead cat and Jen walked through human urine. That was a full day.

Our time in Nam came to a close, and with some really great experiences and some not really great experiences; we are happy with the decision we made to leave early. We also decided that those 13 days weren’t our last time in Vietnam. I would totally go back there, now that I know what to expect and acknowledge that there needs to be some sort of planning to have an optimal experience. 

"This is what adventuring is all about, doing exactly that you fuckin' want." - Jenika Rae Colbow