Ramble On

Loving Everywhere, in Vietnam

Vietnam is a place that people don’t associate with “a good time”. Americans in particular think of war and communism. The Vietnamese will even proudly tell you they’re #2 in the world for both rice and corruption. But maybe Vietnam was our favoirte country for the same reason we love lobster – you have to work to crack the shell and get to the good stuff.

The infamous "sleeper bus"

Granted, we hated the actual moving around. Trains, busses, and boats in Vietnam can be hell on earth. Or on a good day just a strange experience. (No I wasn’t pleased to wake up at 6am to the Vietnamese family sharing our train car having bugs for breakfast – and the father sitting at the foot of my bed to enjoy it). The destinations themselves always made the sacrifice worthwhile.

We covered Hanoi and our favorite spot in Vietnam, Hoi An, in seperate posts. Check out what the other destimations in Vietnam had to offer.

Ha Long Bay
Everyone who goes to Vietnam goes to Ha Long Bay. It’s simply beautiful. We took pictures, we went in caves, we kayaked, and we drank “Happy Juice” out of a gasoline can at night while we listened to the crew sing awful Karaoke.

inside the caves

He's down on one knee singing...and we were praying it would stop.

Huế and the DMZ
The Purple Forbidden City was fun to visit around Tet. We mostly headed to Hue to spend the day touring the DMZ for the day. I was thankful our tour guide seemed to be from South of the DMZ so the propaganda was manageable. There were cililvian tunnels on the north side that residents lived in during the war. Babies were born in there – and they had kitchens and small nooks as bedrooms. The thing that surprised us the most about the DMZ though – was that it was gorgous. We always think of warzone as these souless abysses of dessert -and that challenged my assumptions.

Playing Shogi (Vietnamese Chess) with live people inside the Forbidden Palace as part of the Tet celebration.

In the tunnels

Nha Trang
Don’t forget, Vietnam is all coastline, so they have plenty of beach. We loved Nha Trang. Mostly because it has the cheapest diving in the world – and the conditions were great the day we went. We also had a blast on Vinpearl island. For $16 you pay for a round-trip cable car ride to the island which has a wonderful aquarium, a water-park, amusement park, and (we discovered this last) an arcade where every new, high-tech game is set to free. We felt like kids.

The view from our balcony

Saigon was interesting to us because it was a very striking illustration of how much less communist the south of Vietnam is. Saigon seemed littered with beautiful parks. The traffic was still crazy, but there seemed to be more traffic lights and order involved. We were extremely amused when school children walked up to us and asked us in English what we thought of things like: traffic, the environment, and crime in Saigon. It’s still Vietnam though, don’t let your guard down or you’ll find yourself in a cab that the meter had been tampered with thinking, “I just thought maybe they didn’t do that here.”

Saigon by night

a tight fit in the Củ Chi tunnels

The Mekong Delta
We saw some tours that went from Saigon all the way to Pnomh Phen (where we were headed). So we thought, “hey we should see the Mekong Delta too” and that’s as much thought as we put into that decision before handing over $40 each (for 3 days and 2 nights with everything included except a few meals). The area is where the Mekong splits off into a maze of canals. We were able to see the iconic floating markets, and villages that specialize in a specific craft (rice paper, candy, etc), and even stay with a local family, before on the third day taking a boat all the way to Cambodia.

the floating market

The Mekong, it turns out, is just a giant bathtub

Of course, crossing into Cambodia awed us in a whole new way. Even though they may be neighbors, they had very little in common.

“The sentimental tourist makes images in advance; they grow up in his mind by a logic of their own. He finds himself thinking of an unknown, unseen place, as having such and such a shape and figure rather than such another. It assumed in his mind a certain complexion, a certain color which frequently turns out to be singularly at variance with reality.”
–Henry James, “Saratoga”


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Todd Rodgers
    Mar 25, 2011 @ 00:50:24

    “Happy Juice” out of a gasoline can… I can only imagine. Great posts, I feel like i’m there. Keep ’em coming.


  2. missy
    Mar 26, 2011 @ 02:29:50

    That tunnel Tim is in??…No thanks. I can hardly look. Claustraphobia at its fullest!! Vietnam looks beautiful, I like how you correlate it to Lobster. Lets have some when you get home. xoxo


    • wheresbatman
      Mar 26, 2011 @ 20:30:25

      You’re not the only one. A lot of people would not step foot in those tunnels, and a lot who did could not make it through the entire tour. See you soon!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Views expressed on this blog are solely the opinions of the blogger. Media found on this blog is for preview use only. If any artist or their representation wish to have the links removed, contact me and I will happily comply!
%d bloggers like this: