So, I don't really like to be in cities much when I travel. I find the big cities to be very similar wherever you go, and while there are some great times to be had, and each city has its unique personality, that takes longer to get into. And I'm on a tight schedule...only 5 more weeks until I should be in Korea (at the latest) and still Vietnam and China.
I finally stayed in a hostel with a dorm, which I prefer because its easier to meet people. Which I did. The first afternoon in Saigon, I was sitting on my bed, trying to organize my trip from there, when I met a guy from Canada who asked if I'd like to come with him and another guy to find the old American Embassy...the one from the war where they supplied by air when Saigon was under seige, and where they had to airlift hundreds of people out right before the city fell. We found moto drivers who said they knew where it was, but they took us to the new Embassy instead. The guard at the embassy told us the old one was destroyed, so we just wandered the neighborhood of the emassy and beyond.
We ended up walking down some residential alleys, and getting a good feel for the city as the locals live it. We stopped for a soda at a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant with plastic chairs and metal tables on the sidewalk. The Canadian guy (sorry but I forget their names!) ordered some chicken by randomly pointing to the menu. I just stuck to my soda.
After we made it back to the backpacker area, we had a few beers at another hole-in-the-wall place, this one with similar seating, but selling just beer, especially the local tap beer that comes in huge metal kegs. You get it in a plastic jar...1liter for about 50 cents. It's not bad, either. Anyway, after a beer, I went back to the hostel to take a nap, then came back out, met up with the same people again, at the same place, for some more beers. We ended up meeting lots of other people, because the old woman who ran the place would push people into sharing tables, and continue to add seats and tables that spilled out into the street. It was a nice night, great to talk to some people after those few days more or less alone in the Delta. But, the next day, I was getting tired of the city and the tourist areas, and headed on a bus north to Dalat, in the Central Highlands.
Today, I was in Dalat. I took a great motorbike tour through the mountains, visiting a waterfall, a minority village, a coffee plantation and other sites. The guide was part of a group called the Easy Riders, who tour people around on their vintage motorcycles (which are awesome!). I had such a good time, I agreed to a 5-day/4-night tour through the mountains, including one night homestay, a boat ride on a lake, some waterfalls, and countless other stops in rural Vietnam. He had a book of testimonials from other tourists who had gone with him, and there will be other tourists doing the same thing, that I'll be with in the restaurants and guesthouses, and some of the stops. I'm really excited...it sounds like a great time, and it'll be nice to get off the tourist trail and where people aren't constantly trying to sell me something. I'll be on the road until Monday night, my time, at which point I'll be in Hoi An, an old city on the coast that I was going to anyway.
Well, off I go. I'm sure I'll have plenty to write about when I get back....and photos to put up, if I EVER find a computer that can read my memory cards! :)
"Words have no wings, but they can travel a thousand miles" (Korean Proverb)
Welcome to Flying Words, Jon and Aileen's blog of our adventures in South Korea! We will be in South Korea for a year, starting in mid-July, teaching English in a private school. We just graduated from college this past May, and are looking forward to having some adventures before continuing our education.
We started this blog to keep all our family and friends updated and to share our photos and stories. We hope this is entertaining for you! We will miss you all, and are very thankful to have the internet to keep us in touch.