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First Adventures in Saigon!

15 Dec

 

Unprepared as Usual!

My first trip in Vietnam will only be less than a week, but so far it it has been a whirlwind of nonstop exploring. Getting here in itself was crazy. While at the airport in Seoul I began having problems with my bank card, and managed to get on the phone with customer service and get it all sorted, but by the time I finished, I only had 15 minutes to get through security and immigration, and of course, the line was packed. After passing through immigration I ran like a crazy person and literally managed to turn the corner to my gate just as they were beginning to close it. I got more than a few dirty looks, but I was too stressed and relieved to care.

First Thoughts!

Seeing Vietnam for the first time was a lot like being in Cambodia in many ways. Very similar, French influenced, architecture, the chaos of motorbike traffic, and the feeling of so much life. But Ho Chi Minh is a lot more developed than Cambodia, and has a bit of that big city feeling that I hadn’t really been prepared to experience here. I fell in love almost instantly and couldn’t stop looking at everything in awe, even if it made me look like a wide eyed, first time, traveler. I can’t imagine not being able to look at the world without a sense of wonder, regardless if I’ve seen similar places or have visited for the 100th time. There is always something to appreciate.

Ready, Set, Go!

On my first full day I was lucky enough to meet up with two other travelers, one whom I had met through couchsurfing, a funny and easygoing guy from New York, and his hostel mate, a kind man from China. The three of us started off our adventure by wandering into a random massage parlor and opted for an hour relaxation massage. I don’t think any of us were really impressed with the massage, but it was a fun, if somewhat awkward, experience that we had fun laughing about afterward. After our massage we set out to find another couchsurfer who had contacted one of the guys. We found her in a local bubble tea joint, a young Vietnamese university student. With our group completed, we wandered around the city and saw the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Saigon Central Post Office, and the Opera House. I think the post office was my favorite, with it’s high vaulted ceilings and marble interior.

After visiting some chain restaurant (which had a vegetarian menu with veggie pork!) we walked to a theater that holds water puppet shows to meet with another couchsurfer, a wonderful young woman from Singapore. The puppet show was definitely an interesting experience, although I had absolutely no idea what was happening since it was performed in Vietnamese. But it had something to do with a dragon, a rooster, fishermen, and fish. That’s about all I got out of it. But it was amazing how the puppets moved, and after the show, the actors behind the puppets revealed themselves. It turned out they were in the water the whole time behind the curtains. Dedication!

During the show, the man from China and woman from Singapore befriended a brother and sister who were also from China and we all went to dinner together at a famous restaurant in the city. I can’t really comment on if the food was as good as people say, as I only ordered a side of fried tofu, but the tofu was quite good.

I was ready to call it a night, but the brother and sister from China had one last plan, to visit a live acoustic bar that they had heard about. Although I was exhausted, I am glad I tagged along and got to listen to the band which played acoustic covers of musicians like Fun, and even a few hip hop numbers. It felt like an indie underground bar, and I was surprised to be in a place like that in Vietnam, but I get the feeling Saigon holds many more surprises for those who are willing to look for them.

Uh Oh!

All in all it was a fantastic day, and I was lucky enough to meet so many interesting and friendly travelers. I would go so far as to say it was the perfect kind of traveling day, that is until around midnight, when I started to feel that all too familiar sensation that is associated with food poisoning. I spent the next few hours crouched around the toilet in the bathroom with a bottle of water next to me, wishing, not for the first time, that I was a more prepared traveler. You know, the kind who packs their whole medicine cabinet with them. Luckily it was a mild case, and I recovered rather quickly with only lingering discomfort this morning thanks to my New Yorker travel companion and his wise foresight in bringing his own medicine cabinet. Thanks Mike!

So that leaves just one question, what will I get into today?! 😀

Aside

Like running from your shadow.

5 Jul
The memories begin to bleed
Into this new city/life
The feeling of déjà vu
So strong
 
I catch glimpses of past countries
Outside the city bus window
A red bridge and a great river

 

 

 

That panic

That overwhelming feeling

That I should have accomplished more by now

That I should at least better understand what it is that I even want

I am familiar with this particular feeling

Fear

It is what keeps me visiting my past

 

 

 

Why do I cling so tightly to this phantom girl

How do I let her/me go

My inner strength tells me keep still

 

Every time you run, you only have to start all over again.

 

No wonder it feels like I keep haunting this place

I begin to make progress

I get scared and sabotage it

Taking me right back to the beginning

 

 

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Link

Gay Pride Festival in South Korea

2 Jul

Gay Pride Festival in South Korea

I haven’t been posting on here all that much lately. Instead, I have been submitting my articles to an online blogging community for women travelers called Pink Pangea.

 

Here is my latest. My experience attending the Korea Queer Festival last month and some of my opinions about gay rights in South Korea.

I hope you will check it out.

 

 

Fighting!

Why I Travel

27 Apr

I’ve been asked the same question many times and it’s hard to put in words. I find myself ticking through a list, but after reading this, it’s like “yes, that’s exactly it!!”

Great writing. 🙂

 

 

Why I Travel.

Be The One Who Travels

14 Oct

Be The One Who Travels.

 

 

Love this girl’s blog and this specific entry really hits home for me at this time in my life. ❤

Video

Gangnam Style Cambodian style!

28 Jun

This is honestly one of the best things I have come across on the internet in a long time.

What Happens When You Live Abroad

23 Jun

Beautifully put.

Thought Catalog

A very dependable feature of people who live abroad is finding them huddled together in bars and restaurants, talking not just about their homelands, but about the experience of leaving. And strangely enough, these groups of ex-pats aren’t necessarily all from the same home countries, often the mere experience of trading lands and cultures is enough to link them together and build the foundations of a friendship. I knew a decent amount of ex pats — of varying lengths of stay — back in America, and it’s reassuring to see that here in Europe, the “foreigner” bars are just as prevalent and filled with the same warm, nostalgic chatter.

But one thing that undoubtedly exists between all of us, something that lingers unspoken at all of our gatherings, is fear. There is a palpable fear to living in a new country, and though it is more acute in the first…

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