We’re sitting at Singapore Airport waiting to start the last flight home and reflecting on what has been a jam packed time away.
Not wanting to miss things we had activities organised for most days in Vietnam, in hindsight maybe we should have had a free day in Hanoi but then again what would we have dropped from the schedule.
From the moment we hit the ground in Ho Chi Minh City just over two weeks ago the country has been amazing. The people are so friendly, our Vietnamese is non-existent and for many of them their English is not too good either, but there is always a way to communicate. The food in Vietnam is brilliant, so much use of fresh local produce and simple techniques to get the best flavours possible, and let’s not forget the colours of the food as well. Reds, greens of all shades dominate the plate and give you a visual feast.
The clash of old and new is mind blowing, you have 100 year old houses crammed in alongside brand new shiny hotels and shops. People from the old houses having limited space inside spill out into the footpath to cook and relax. Often you feel like you are walking through someone’s living area as you meander along the footpath. Likewise as you enter some shops you have to double check that it isn’t actually a private house, we almost did that a few times. Although I’m sure even if it was a private house you would be made to feel welcome and given a drink and something to eat.
The contrast in the different regions is also quite evident as you travel South to North. The food changes are subtle but noticeable, the people though change quite a bit. Always friendly, but the pace of life seems to increase as you north. Hanoi was much more frenetic than Ho Chi Minh City, the streets narrowed and the intensity of the street hawkers picked up.
If we had to pick a top 3 from the last two weeks it would be quite a challenge, there are so many things to pick from. In no particular order these are a few of the standouts from our time in magical Vietnam;
– Cu Chi Tunnels, just how did people live down here at all, let alone for months on end. We managed 20m of one tunnel and wanted , or needed to get out. Especially after I head butted the tunnel wall and left some of myself in the tunnel, score one for the tunnels!
– Scooting about in Ho Chi Minh City with Adam on the boys was amazing. It’s one thing to watch the traffic but something very different to be part of it.
– And who can leave out the food, be it in a flash restaurant or in a lane way food stall, it’s all amazing. To watch some of the old ladies chopping and shredding is quite some thing, they don’t appear to be taking much care but the precision of their work is something to behold.
That is but three memories that will stay with us from this sensational country. Again, Vietnam until next time Một lần nữa cảm ơn các bạn.