Observations from 2 Weeks in VietNam

Why is it that it can be cold outside, but still 100 degrees in my hotel room?

It pretty much rained every day at least a little.

A dusty fan at the Jade Emperor Pagoda in Ho Chi Min City, Viet Nam
A dusty fan at the Jade Emperor Pagoda in Ho Chi Min City, Viet Nam

Our second night in Ho Chi Min we were trapped in our guesthouse at 9pm when the old lady who runs it went to bed and locked the front gate.

There is free wifi at just about every guesthouse in Vietnam. It’s awesome!

I found the Internet at the back of a local bootleg 7-Eleven. What could be better than an AC Internet cafe that sells all sorts of tasty foods and drinks?!

For the first time on our travels, we had a sold out bus that we couldn’t get on to leave Ho Chi Min and had to stick around for eight hours until the next one left. That was our intro to the world of the Open Ticket.

There are lots of English channels on Vietnamese TVs.

HBO is Vietnam is edited. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Is that a result of Communism? Hmmm…

The Ga Da Lat train station in Viet Nam
The Ga Da Lat train station…the oldest train station in Vietnam

I don’t know where I get them, but cuts and bruises appear all the time.

Everyone drives in the middle of the road, which is quite intimidating when driving a motorcycle.

I was walking down the street at night in Da Lat and walked into the edge of a piece of barbed wire that was hidden in the branches of a tree that swooped down over a sidewalk. Thank god I had on a raincoat over my head or I would have impaled my brain. Who the hell hides barbed wire in a tree over a street!!!

I saw a kid in a line to take the Dalanta waterfall roller coaster pee in a water bottle then leave it right in line.

The Open Ticket buses are the only ones in all our travels that consistently leave early.

Me and Carrie in a 'Xemo' cyclo taxi in Hue
Me and Carrie in a ‘Xemo’ cyclo taxi in Hue

I hit my head so hard on a short doorway in Nah Trang that I literally fell to the floor in pain. Seriously, can’t they build these countries for tall people? If I hit my head one more time I’m gonna need to wear a helmet to leave the apartment.

I can’t even count how many women have burped in my face. Not just one burp, but strings of them.

I rode in a Vietnam War jeep to get to the My Son ruins outside of Hoi An.

The tour guide for our My Son tour was a little racist, frequently picking on the Muslims and French. He also forced his English words out so strongly that it sounded like he was a bad voice over in an Asian movie.

Ritz and Oreos are staple snacks.

Orangina is available all over, which makes me very happy since I love the stuff!

On one overnight bus, the driver kept stopping to pick up boxes and to deliver them to other people along the route. This was clearly him making extra money and should not have been done, but when half the bus exited at one stop to use the toilet he began to yell at all the passengers. I guess we were throwing off his box delivery schedule?

Dried nuts, fruits and candy for sale in the Da Lat market, VietNam
Dried nuts, fruits and candy for sale in the Da Lat market, VietNam

When I lost my green floppy hat at a restaurant in hat in Hue, Carrie went back and watched our entire two hour dinner on fast forward on the restaurant’s security camera so the owner could prove that his staff did not steal it. Of course, the one part of the table that the camera could not see was the exact spot that held my hat.

Many tours offer an English speaking guide, but that rarely means that you can actually understand them.

It’s weird reading about the Vietnam war in the North from the North Vietnamese Army side.

It’s great to commiserate with fellow Americans about the crap customer service we’ve experienced. It’s such a stark contrast from what we come to expect back home.

Is it so much to ask to get the local price? I’ve been wrestling with that question for eight months now.

Every single part of the chicken is sold in the markets of Viet Nam
Every single part of the chicken is sold in the markets of Viet Nam

Every time someone sits in front of me on a bus I pray that they don’t put their seat back. Any time I see their hand moving in the general direction of the push-back button I mentally prepare myself.

After eight months my laptop is barely holding on. The double click button doesn’t work, the right click is on its way out, the SD card reader only works sometimes and the USBs are shaky too.

I went into a bathroom to pee in a toilet at a bus stop but couldn’t find the light switch. Halfway through doing my business a man switched on the light. I said thanks, just thinking he was being helpful, but then he came up next to me to share the toilet and join me in peeing. I quickly finished and said “what the hell are you doing,” as I rushed out.

After being stopped for ten minutes on the side of the road on an overnight bus, Carrie got up and asked the driver if she could go to the bathroom really fast. He said no, she had to wait until the rest stop that would be very soon. Two minutes later the bus drove ten feet, made a left and parked. We had been across the street from the rest stop the whole time. And somehow, it just seemed normal.