Thursday, June 11, 2009

Xin chao.

Two days ago Linh and I went to Sinh Cafe to check out the different tours they had. Tia got me into Frommers and they're supposedly a great travel agency with several locations around Vietnam. After an hour of indecisiveness and excitement, I cut a sixteen day trip in half and am going to hit up Da Lat, Nha Trang, Hoi An, and Hue (where my dad grew up).
Yesterday I hopped on a charter bus for six hours to head to Da Lat where I currently write to you from, the weather is cool in the evenings and the air is clean unlike in Saigon. The only annoying thing about the trip was how every minute on the dot the driver would honk. Except that here, honking is not so much because you are anger as much as it is to let the other person know "hey I'm here, move or be aware."
Most of the stores you pass clearly cater to the tourist by advertising "free dsl wifi." They wanna keep you connected to the world, these smart people. Every internet cafe you pass by is swarming with young people. Merchants here don't constantly badger you to buy something which is a relief where in Guate you hear "Seno, cuanto me ofrece" every single shop you pass by. Seno being short for senorita. Sinh Cafe is way better than Viet Travel (thailand trip agency) because there are only about 25 people or so on this trip and our itinerary is jammed pack with things to do but you have the evenings free to explore on your own. So last night I walked around in search of Frommers' recommended veggie restaurant which was fantastic; I had veggie stir fry with rice and a mango smoothie for less than $4. Yep, be jealous.
The owner of Art Cafe is an artist and all of his pieces hang in the restaurant. It was a charming place and the waitress, no older than 16 was incredibly softspoken and timid. I was excited and scared for her at the same time.
Along these travels the same question always pops up with anyone I strike up a conversation with, why are you traveling alone? Well, many reasons. One college student from Vietnam asked me to tell him everywhere I have been which totaled 13 countries (kinda blew me away). Every time I traveled it was always with a group or at least one other person. It's not that I got tired of traveling with other people, in fact I love it because it's in traveling with them that you get to know them pretty quickly and whether or not you click. Anyhow, being alone while traveling has had me scared for a while, so why not jump and take the leap?
Last year while in Europe Juan and I met Andrea from Canada, she had been on her own for a month or so hopping through hostels. She was a big inspiration. Plus you should do something every day that scares you right? So here I am in a small hotel located on a street that has my last name wondering where I'll go get dinner or if I'm hungry at all. Lychee is incredibly filling and addictive plus it's healthy!

Oh, and Xin Chao is hello :)


  1. Paulina,
    This is Hien, your Dad's friend in Miami. I got your blog from him and I am very amazed by your blog & writings. Your travel journey seems very fun. I just want to ask you 1 question regarding to the city that you are currently there, Da Lat City. There is a flower that...assosiate with this city, what's the name? If you can ask the tour guy(s) about that..and hope they will give the story about that flower.
    Oh, also have someone told you about " Ăn Hàng Rong"? I do NOT suggest you to try, but if you do...would you post a blog about your experience?
    Keep your journey always lively and excited !!!

    Hien Nguyen.

  2. Paula,

    I am sorry for writing your name wrong ( I wrote Paulina..instead of PAULA..). I DO KNOW your name ...but there's something wrong that is not synchonize between my brain and my hands while I typed. Sorry for this error, Paula.