Friday, June 5, 2009

stuck & the land of motorbikes!

So my total travel time from Miami, FL to Saigon was supposed to be 31 hours but because Shanghai airlines canceled their flight from Shanghai to Saigon it turned into 46 hours. Not fun. Although one of the first things that caught my attention is the disregard, or rather the fact that personal space probably isn't a common word in China. Every time I would line up to be attended by someone I would constantly see the person behind me creep up right next to me. But a few things I do appreciate! including the fact that you need to insert your key into a slot in your hotel room in order to get the power working as well as the popularity of soybean milk.

There was no soymilk in Guatemala. Okay, I lie. I found some in a pretty well-kept cafe in front of the central park in Antigua and boy was I one happy camper. I was pretty glad that I had brought my laptop, which allowed me to finally really clean up my inbox which had not occurred since first opening up my gmail account. After touching down in Saigon as 1230am on June 5th I met up with Linh, the travel agent that's taking care of booking some tours I'll be going on in Thailand. She's been kind enough to let me stay with her and play host. Today was my first day in this city and if it's one thing that you need to know about Saigon is that motorbikes rule. They overpower cars tenfold. There is also absolutely no order, bikes come at you in every direction. Thankfully all my experiences have involved me being the backseat passenger. When I first got on we stopped once. There was only one stop light in our half hour journey. One.

A friend of my dad's friend has kids and one of them is a boy, a seventeen year old who never stops smiling. His sister goes to a university in Florida and he put up with showing me around for a couple of hours with 3 of his other friends all the same age. They were a funny bunch. As I sat behind Phuong on the motorbike I almost had a couple of attacks (reminding me of Guatemala, although instead of being on a car we were on a bike). But you quickly learn to just look the other way. When lunch time came around they asked where I wanted to eat and responded anywhere that has vegetarian food. Then the usual questions ensued, "no meat? no chicken? no fish?" and the responses, no, no, no. They stared blankly at each other, chatted a bit, then one kid finally called his mom (you gotta love that) and she suggested some food court.

The city reminds me so much of Guatemala City, it's uncanny. The way in which the apartments are built and the potent smell of food down certain streets. Pollution here is also a big problem but definitely not as detectable.

I was worried a bit before coming and being unsure of how things would work out. Would I spend the entire time bored or lonely? But it did all work out. My dad had gotten in touch with some people and all is well. Reminds me of Germany and being in Dusseldorf with my cousin's friends who showed me around since she wasn't there.

There's an afternoon heat here that reminds me of Las Vegas: dry, sticky, & lethal but thankfully the evening brings a cool wind with it. I gotta head out and catch a flight to Bangkok.

Oh, Ma! Te encantaria esta ciudad, todos usan el timon y es tan horroroso que podria darte un dolor de cabeza eternamente.

Un beso.

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