Thursday, December 28, 2006

Good morning from Vietnam!

Good morning from Vietnam! I am having so much fun here in Saigon. More fun than I ever thought I could have. I have heard so many stories my entire life about what it is like here, and never really believed it...but WOW!

It is SO different here. So different.

The moment we got off the plane you could feel how different it was from any other place I've ever been. Saigon is a big city and not dirt roads like I'd imagined. BUT at the same time, it is amazing how you can mix traditional cultures with more modern concepts. The main street here in Saigon is lit up with lights in celebration of Christmas.

There are people on motorcycles, scooters, and bikes EVERYWHERE. Not just people on motorcycles...entire families on one motorcycle....families of four or five with babies standing up between the parents. There don't seem to be any road laws whatsoever and everyone just goes every which way...and yet, it all works. Crossing the street is a daunting task but after awhile, you get used to it. There are street vendors every few feet, women walking around wearing Vietnamese straw hats, "non la" and carrying baskets over each shoulder selling fruit. The markets are mixed with clothes, shoes, purses, coffee, tea, food, drinks, fruit, vegetables, flowers, and fresh fish still alive in little bowls.

My haggling skills are improving as is my ability to communicate in Vietnamese. I thought I would be slower at speaking and understanding, but I have made out fairly well, although it is still obvious I was not born and raised here.

Tomorrow we leave for a tour of other parts of Vietnam, Nha Trang and Mui Ne.

I am seeing things for the very first time I've heard about all my life. Trying tropical fruits I have only seen pictures of. Experiencing the culture first hand and being a part of it. So cool.

Other quick updates:
  • The earthquake in Taipei affected the internet service here, so pictures are a bit behind.
  • Unlike Hong Kong where the weather was moderate, it is hot and humid here.
  • Flip flops, tank tops, and capris in December? :)
  • Mosquito bites, stickiness and sweat? :(
  • I believe I have single handedly improved Vietnam's economy in the last few days with all my shopping.
  • After going to a theme park and not seeing the usual foods....I have a mad craving for french fries and buttered popcorn. Who knew buttered popcorn was an American thing? Not me.
  • The food is SO GOOD
  • Getting to see where my parent's grew up, went to church, went to school, and the paths they took back and forth was amazing.
  • I will be so shocked if I get out of here without having a heart attack from crossing the street or sitting in a taxi.
  • Pictures will be updated if internet connection cooperates throughout the rest of Vietnam. If not, next week from Thailand.


Qúy Hạc said...

hey kimbalina, I just came back from Vietnam after a 6 month stint there, studying in Hanoi. I spent my last week in Vietnam in Saigon. It's a much different environment that Hanoi is. Saigon is the most developed city in all of Vietnam. I am currently in this PVD phase as my friends refer to it as... Post Vietnam Depression... after living there for so long. Hope you enjoy your days in Saigon and Vietnam. It really is an amazing place.

nicolieliz said...

love the updates! sad i missed you at christmas, but i feel like i'm kind of keeping up with your trip through your blog. i'm so envious that you are wearing summer clothes while it's so cold here in ca! happy new year =) love and miss you!

Anonymous said...

Hi! Can you tell me where you got your purse? It's fantastic!

kimbalina said...

It IS fantastic isn't it? =)

That is my first "big" purse. Unfortunately it might be harder for you to find since I dug it up from the hoards of purses at TJ Maxx.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I'm gonna go look for a fantastic purse at TJ Maxx.