Hello from Ho Chi Minh City

Leaving Bangkok today was a bittersweet affair. I’ve fallen in love with the soi (thai for street) we stayed on. It was home to some of the most delicious food I’ve ever tasted and the evening traffic was just the right amount of chill and camaraderie. We’ll be back there at the tail end of our trip, so that’s good. We decided to stay at the same hostel because it’s convenient and we felt at home there. So, why not? 

Today we spent a good amount of time at the airport, which was fine, because the Bangkok airport is gorgeous! It was definitely the nicest airport I’ve ever been in. We bought full fare tickets on Lufthansa to get to Ho Chi Minh City, which was a new experience. I think it’s the first time I’ve flown as a normal passenger in several years. Much less stressful than the experience of flying standby. Plus, I got to wear flip flops and check my bag. Bonus. Once we got to HCM, we had to wait forever to get our visas on arrival. Once that was all taken care of, we hopped in a cab and found our hotel.

Vietnam is interesting. They prefer US dollars for visas and cabs. There are millions of motorbikes flying around the city with multiple people on them. I saw several different families of four on one bike. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of system in regards to how it all works, but it does. There will be hundreds of them going at each other at a very fast pace and they never collide. Totally insane. For someone who is a little bit nervous riding in cars, it was quite the experience.

Our hotel here is cheap but very nice and located right in the heart of backpacker central. Not quite sure what the street is called but there are hundreds of beautiful nomads wandering around. We had street pho at a place that looked a little scary, but smelled amazing. The ladies cooking were very sweet and happy to oblige when I asked to take their picture. We’ve been offered marijuana by crazy dudes on motorbikes more than once. I bought five pieces of amazing jewelry for $10. I wish I had spent less in Bangkok so I could spend more here. I like the stuff that I’m seeing here a lot more and it’s cheaper. I really, really love this city and I’m sad we won’t get to spend some more time here. Of course I love every place that I go, but there is an electricity to the neighborhood that we are staying in that reminds me of something I’ve only seen in movies or read about in books. I can’t help but think about what my experience would be like if I was still drinking. Of course I wonder if I would be having more fun, if it would be easier to talk to people, if I’d go home happier…but I think that it’s perfectly normal for me to wonder about these things. I just have to remind myself of how ugly it got in my travels abroad when I was drinking and then I am grateful that I’m ending my night here in my hotel with my two friends.

I haven’t really gotten a good night’s sleep yet, so I’m hoping that is something that’s in store for me tonight. We have to catch a cab in nine hours to go back to the airport so we can fly to the Con Dao Islands. We are all really looking forward to some R&R and seclusion in a tropical area. The cities we’ve been in are fantastic, but we are always surrounded by people. I’m a little worried that it’s going to rain every day that we are there, but the boys aren’t worrying too much about that. It helps.

I can’t believe we have so much time left on our trip! I’m so excited to see what’s in store for us when we get to these islands. All I really want is some sleep and a fantastic tan, but I’ll be thrilled with whatever.

Love to All. Xo

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