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Xin Chao!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Xin Chao!

I found myself in a terrible rush arranging things and packing my belongings back in Melbourne, and ended up almost missing my flight. So typical of me... I got to the airport, and the lady at the check-in told me I have missed my flight. I had tears in my eyes. LUCKY, this other staff member showed more compassion towards me and made a couple of phone calls to find out if I still had a chance to make it to the flight. Turns out, the plane was late and they let me in. Very lucky. As usual, before getting in the plane I had to go through some extra security checks. Apparently I look very suspicious. 

I flew with AirAsia to Kuala Lumpur and from there to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). Long, uncomfortable night flight with no sleep, just to find out in KL that my backpack didn't make it to the same plane as me. I blame the evil check-in lady back in Melbourne, she probably did it on purpose.... When I finally got to the hot and humid capital of Vietnam, I was exhausted and upset, but very happy to see Rohan, who was there to pick me up.

The taxi threaded its way through the CHAOTIC, Vietnamese traffic jungle to our hotel. The Vietnamese can fit anything on the back of a small moped; cows, pigs, entire families, double beds, you name it! And just the amount of cars and motorbikes plying the busy streets is MAD. During the 15 days I spent in Vietnam I never mastered the art of crossing the road by myself. Every time I used Rohan or somebody else as a human shield. The only time I had to cross the road by myself, I nearly died. You see, in Vietnam, the usual Western tips of crossing a street do not apply. In fact, it is best if you do not look both ways, and instead ignore all the motorbikes and cars zooming at you at full speed from all directions. I suppose it makes sense not to look the oncoming death in the eyes. If you want to cross the road in Vietnam, first make peace with God, then close your eyes and take the plunge. It is like an adrenaline sport, a near death ritual many times a day. I don't have a photo of the crazy traffic, as I didn't feel comfortable with stopping in the middle of a road to take one.

We spent one night in HCMC. We didn't have much time to explore the city as I had to do some shopping, since I only had my handbag with me. The next day we headed down to the Mekong Delta.

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