Vietnam!

My trip to Vietnam was amazing!! I absolutely love the country, or what I saw of it anyway. I was meeting my friend Mytien in Da Nang because her family is from that area of the country and they had graciously invited me to stay with them for a few days. I left Hohhot on Tuesday morning, arrived in Ho Chi Minh city Tuesday night after 3 different planes, and my flight to Da Nang wasn’t flying out until early Wednesday morning. So I was greeted at the airport by Mytien’s cousin and aunt around 10pm, who kindly let me stay at their house for the night until my flight at 6am the next morning. The city was HOT. I was coming from -30 weather, so stepping off the plane and immediately feeling the sticky humidity was incredible! I caught a few hours of sleep and in the morning I flew out to Da Nang and met Mytien and her mother at the airport!

Mytien’s family’s house was located in the country area and I’m very happy I got to experience this part of what living in Vietnam is like. I saw up close the famous rice fields and farmlands that Vietnam is so well known for, I ate traditional Vietnamese food, rode through the countryside on the back of a motorbike, visited an ancient-temple sight, went to the beach, visited a traditional cemetery, and really saw how people lived in rural locations. I’d have to say that my favourite place to be in Da Nang was the beach because I had a chance to watch how the locals fish (a man takes a net and battles his way through the large ocean waves into deep water, then they slowly pull the net back to land in hopes of catching something worthwhile!). My biggest regret is that it was cloudy the whole time I was in Vietnam! I never got a chance to enjoy the sun, but it really was beautiful weather otherwise.

On Friday morning Mytien and I said goodbye to her parents and family in Da Nang and flew to Ho Cho Minh City for the rest of our Vietnam extravaganza. Her parents had booked us a hotel in an excellent location because it was near everything we wanted to see. It was very hot in the city, I ventured out on my own at first because Mytien was sick and needed to rest for a while. There was a diverse market next to our hotel full of souvenirs, clothes, jewellery, food, coffee, dishes, paintings, and basically anything you could want or need! The merchants were sometimes pushy, but I found it fun to argue with them over pricing. The people in Ho Chi Minh were fairy decent at English, so it made arguing much easier, haha. That night Mytien and I wandered the area and it was absolutely beautiful! The country (like China) was still celebrating Lunar New Year so the streets were decorated with bright lights, lanterns, and there were people everywhere! I found the city very exciting, very similar to the business and lights of Beijing! Then again, I went to Beijing during autumn festival and now Vietnam for spring festival, so I have a feeling my opinion is influenced by the excitement of the countries during their time of celebration!

The next few days Mytien and I did a lot of fun things. We visited a local park and did a lot of window/market shopping the second day, which was really nice because we could enjoy the beautiful weather at the same time. Her uncle Tony brought us out for dinner that night and introduced us to the tourist bar street. We wandered that area for a while because there were a lot of interesting shops and things to see. So many foreigners, most of them European!

The next day we did a city tour from 8am-4pm that her uncle Tony booked for us. We started at the Reunificaton Palace, which used to be the presidential palace when Ho Chi Minh was the capital of South Vietnam. It was very vintage inside, lots of 60s memorabilia. We were then taken to a tea/coffee shop and got to sample some traditional Vietnamese drinks and snacks, which were very tasty. After that we visited a beautiful temple which smelt so strongly of incense my eyes watered, and went to “China Town” which was a smaller, less interesting market then the one next to our hotel. We had lunch then and afterwards we were taken to an art store that manufactured and sold well-known images that can be seen all over the city. We were brought to The Vietnam War Museum after the art store, and this was one of the highlights of the trip! There were 3 floors full of vintage pictures, stories, clothes, articles, weapons, machines and posters from the infamous time in Vietnam history and I could have spent another hour in there looking at everything. As it was, I was the last one out of the building, unaware that the entire tour of 30ish people had been waiting for me for 10 minutes on the bus already. Mytien had to come find me! (Thanks friend)! We were then brought to the historical cathedral and post office, which coincidentally Mytien and I had already seen while wandering the day before. Following the tour,  we went for pizza on the tourist street again and just walked around for a while before heading back to the hotel.

This was Mytiens last night, and she left the next morning! I was sad to see her go, and spent my final day in Vietnam writing postcards, walking to the post office, buying last minute gifts, and basically watching tv and relaxing in the hotel. The next day I travelled from 4am to 11pm back to Hohhot, and then I was right back to work the following day! So I was very happy I relaxed my last day.

I’m so happy I experienced Vietnam and am very grateful to Mytien and her family for inviting me in their home! I liked it so much I’m travelling back there in the summer (when it will be even hotter!!) so I can see even more of the country! Can’t wait!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gail Johnson
    Feb 05, 2012 @ 01:38:41

    Stephanie what a great time you are having and all that you are seeing! The pictures you posted are great and now that I have seen a picture Mytien I finally know who you are talking about and who sends you posts all the time. We have had a wonderful warm winter here so far, one week of cold weather and only one worthwhile snow fall. Love you, Nan

    Reply

  2. Lois Christianson
    Feb 08, 2012 @ 01:29:27

    Hi Steph
    It was great to see your pictures especially of the ocean and the huge waves. Your trip to Vietnam sounded just great and what lovely people you have met up with.
    I am still wondering if you got your Christmas presnt!!!!
    What a neat thing it is to read your blogs, I , too, am getting an education from a great teacher.
    LOve you
    Aunty

    Reply

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