Love-Hate for Vietnam
Getting to Vietnam was a whole different chapter. We traveled the whole day, we got to Ludov's house, our Russian hostess through couch-surfing in Ho Chi Min at 11pm. And when I say couch-surfing, I mean it in the most literal sense of the term, because it really was literally just a couch and a mattress set on the floor. The 'floor' part wasn't the problem, the problem was that we couldn't fit, and that's something that never happened to us before, we fit almost anywhere, but not there.
That night we asked ourselves: 'what are we doing here, how would we leave Bali where we were so happy and comfortable.' But again, that word and the concept of feeling comfortable became a central part of this experience, because we set out on this trip to experience things and I read somewhere that 'traveling inconveniences you', you have to understand a new place, its people, the food, the language, its culture, the streets, absolutely everything is new.
The following day, we got an Airbnb rental where everything went back to the Magoo way. We toured the city in the scorching heat and with the shock of getting to a big city coming from an island. There are moments when we ask ourselves, 'are we doing things the right way, is this what we want?' and the answer doesn't get to us straightaway but it comes indirectly through the smiles of people we meet on the street, through the looks on the faces of our children as they discover a new place and as they interact with others. Not everything is perfect all the time, but we can enjoy every moment through other ways of seeing things.
We didn't like Ho Chi Min one bit, so we left and set out to Da Lat, we got there at 5am, and again, we don't recommend it getting there at that time; because the bus left us in the middle of the city and all we could find were motorcycle taxis, which we clearly could not fit, but luckily the last 'car' taxi saved us and gave us a ride to the only hotel open at that time of the day. We loved Da Lat, the weather was cold and had a magic of its own. We visited the most bizarre kind of park we've ever seen, with heart figures and structures all over the place, swan pedaled boats, and a train ride to take us around the park. It also featured a roller coaster ride, unlike any other. Each person sat in individual seats that could be directed through flower patches and waterfalls. The food in Da Lat was incredible, we found a restaurant we visited every night.
Our following destination was Hoi An. We left Da Lat on a nocturnal bus, the most bizarre bus I've ridden, not to mention the Chinese man who snored the whole night, whose snore kept me up all night, even with his friend sitting next to him, he didn't care to give him a nudge to wake him up not even once. Had it been Artur snoring, I would definitely have moved him a bit so he wouldn't keep the whole bus awake, but that's just me. I learned that not everyone thinks like me, and that's a very important lesson to learn.
Once we got to Hoi An, we really did have a good time. We rode bikes, we got to see roads that seemed to be part of a magical storybook, nighttime boat rides making wishes, delicious food, we felt happy there. However, when we realized we could grab airplane tickets to Japan for just US$50, we put off seeing the rest of Vietnam, because we hadn't gotten to see the northern region of Vietnam, which we heard is marvelous, and honestly, we didn't totally feel the vibe of this place, so as we've learned on this trip, if we don't feel 'the vibe' we're off to a new place. Japan was waiting for us.