So right now I am in Vietnam for a few weeks, and I will write blog entries for maybe every one or two days I spend here. Please forgive the boringness of the text of this entry, I’m really tired but I wanted to eke out an entry or else I won’t ever get started.
Let’s start with the flight. Ours left San Francisco and took place at midnight, and the first leg of our trip was 14 hours, all the way to Taoyuan, Taiwan. It was an excruciatingly uncomfortable ride for some (namely my mother and brother), but after having been in a smelly bus from Denmark to France before with a phlegmy cougher for 20 hours, I would say this was not that bad. It was kind of rude how they made us walk through business class to get to our seats as if to say, “These are the seats you could’ve had if you had coughed up some more money, losers.”
Anyway, we got to Taiwan, and from the first look of it, it seemed more like a Greyhound station than an actual international airport. The bathrooms reeked and it was overcrowded, but…then we got through the security gate and ta da, it was a different world:
Then it was a three-hour hop, skip, and a jump to our destination, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
After I got off the plane, I handed my passport to the visa checker guy and he was trying to quiz me on my purpose for the trip. I learned later from my mom that these guys usually expect bribes and I was supposed to tip him. Whatever.
We got our baggage and exited the airport. The first thing I noticed was the hot humid Vietnamese air blasting me in the face, during what is supposed to be the winter of this country. I guess this is what it’s like in the South (of the U.S.)? We don’t have blood relatives living in Vietnam, so the closest thing was a beloved childhood friend of my mom, who is being kind enough to be our tour guide.
The taxi ride to our hotel was the scariest ride of my life, and this is coming from someone who drove an hour through one of the worst rainstorms in California.
In Vietnam there are very few traffic signals, and very few people obey them anyway. You basically just go anywhere you want, get however close to anyone you want, and maybe you’ll be lucky and not splatter anyone’s guts along the way. Oh and I have never seen so many mopeds before in my life. F’ing scary. I don’t even have to describe it, I’ll just show it:
As you can see from above, a lot of people wear face masks, I guess to filter the air, although I can’t detect a difference in air quality from what we have in the States.
That night we went to dinner at what is considered a high-end restaurant, which means prices were pretty close to what we pay at low end/regular Vietnamese restaurants in the States.
These were $5 or $6 USD I think:
Then we took a stroll around downtown and surprisingly there were a lot of high-end retail stores:
Most of the high end stores were located in the Vincom Center, which housed Versace and Emporio Armani and other stuff normal Vietnamese citizens could never afford:
And look, here’s a random poster for the current season of Vietnam’s Next Top Model:
On our way home, I saw this family. Cute.
That concludes the first day I spent in Vietnam.