May 19, 2008
Like a fat kid with a fresh pizza, we have conquered Vietnam. Throughout the last three weeks we have traveled thousands of kilometers and left very few stones unturned. We went to the mountains, the beach and the cities. We traveled by boat, plain, bicycle, motorcycle, tuk-tuk, bus, train, taxi, van, and foot. We said “no” each day to approximately 6210 offers for a “moto” ride, 740 taxi rides, 590 post cards, 380 bowls of soup, 200 scarves, 120 wallets, and 60 offers for “hashish”. Vietnam is a country where you are never more than ten steps away from a hearty bowl of beef noodle soup or “Pho Bo” as long as you can handle squatting on the crowded sidewalk next to a massive boiling pot and thousands of motor bikes. It is a country where Amanda and I found ourselves ditching the hiking boots and renting motor scooters wherever we went. It is an incredible way to get past the tourist trail and truly see the country side. Vietnam is a country where, unfortunately you can trust very few. The meter on the taxi moves twice as fast as the car, the prices suddenly double after your tour is done, the “last train” is actually the first train and costs three times what the local ahead of you just paid. While this certainly wore our traveling souls thin, it was our only complaint throughout the extended visit. Only in Vietnam will twelve dollars get you a beautiful hotel room for the night and seven dollars will buy you three good meals with beer for dinner. And only in Vietnam will you find those amazing conical straw hats that turn every scene – whether city or country, into a beautiful photograph. Vietnam has been great. It is a bitter sweet ending indeed. Laos is next. Aside from streets filled with monks, we have no idea what to expect.