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danang

leaving again

Re-returning to Vietnam – so new and so familiar

Traffic. Traffic is terrible in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

It’s been about 14 months since I was here last and I swear it feels like traffic has gotten worse – or maybe I’ve just forgotten.

Amy has forgotten how to drive here. She rented a motorbike and drove out. 20 mintues later she was back – she wasn’t able to cross the roads in this chaotic city. Red lights are taken as suggestions. You must be constantly aware of your surroundings.

After less than 24hours we’re ready to leave this city.

Vietnam, the place where you can get a Pho for a dollar and a freshly made pineapple juice for 50 cents.

Da Nang. The pearl of Vietnam. Where the traffic police isn’t corrupt and where the streets are clean. Good food, good people, amazing beaches and weddings by the dozen. We’ve established ourselves, got upgraded to an appartment with two rooms and a kitchen. Life is good

I got on a motorbike for the first time in a year – shaky at first but I’m getting the hang of it again. Traffic is nowhere near as bad in HCMC but still – rush hour in the city center – not for everyone.

 

I’ve spent the first part of this post talking about traffic. It says something about the impact it leaves on you. But there are other things…

When you come here you’ll see everything from “hamburger bros” selling western style burgers to local places serving pipefish, ostrich, pork belly and other local delicacies. Where you can point at the fish while it’s still alive and you can make sure the food is fresh.

The place where you can get a Pho for a dollar and a freshly made pineapple juice for 50 cents.

An hour massage will set you back about $12.

Vietnam, where the toilet doubles as both the laundry room for the family, and where the dishes are washed for the guests. Where you learn some perspective about what hygiene is. In western culture we’re obssessed with cleanliness.

 

All of the above and many more things is why I love Vietnam. It’s like I feel at home here but it also feels like I’ve been away for a decade. It’s so vastly different from my home culture. When I’m driving on my motorbike with Amy on the back I’ve got a sensation of freedom and fear in equal parts. Of adventure and uncertainty.

 

Oh, how I’ve missed the joy of open-ended long term travelling. It’s good to be on the road again