Thursday, February 24

Tôi yêu Việt Nam

Vietnam is my je ne sais quoi.
I am Dora the Explorer (on a junk cruise @ Ha Long bay)

It’s my favorite destination in Asia but I can’t put words as to why I find it beautiful.

Perhaps, it’s a combination of things: I recognize something of the Philippines in the country & the people, yet they are alien to me. It is a chorus of what’s green and chaos; simultaneously it is affordable ($5 for half a day’s trip to Cu Chi Tunnels from HCMC!) and deceivingly expensive because you keep paying in foreign rates; developing and ancient all at the same time. 


I was sober the whole trip but somehow, I can’t fully recall how I got from one point to the next, only that I’ve covered south to north in 2 weeks. I must have been high from the experience . . . 

I’ve been in this country twice, traveling from the infamous Saigon. It’s mind boggling to think that these same street I walked on were the venue of conflict 3 decades ago. I visited the C Chi Tunnels and Cao Đài Temple in Tây Ninh. I flew to Da Nang in Central Vietnam as a jump off point to the ancient town of Hoi-An (reminding me of our own Vigan in Ilocos Norte, except the town has a port). I love walking on its streets, taking a bicycle ride in town, eating its street food by the river – they have the most elaborate street food I’ve had! From there, I went to see the 5th century temples of the Cham people in MY SON (even here, you can see the evidence of war in plain sight: bomb craters next to the ruins), and headed to Hue for the the Citadel of the Nguyen Lords' Imperial City (former capital of Vietnam). Last, I went to Hanoi for Halong Bay, which reminded me of the Hundred Islands National Park.

my friend Ahn on a perfect fit inside a VC sniper hole

A Caucasian Tourist VS an Asian (my friend Jenzenn) fit inside
C Chi Tunnel
Hoi An street-food-fest with Nina
scenic view of Ha Long bay in winter


Here are videos taken @ Thien Dinh Palace (tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh) in Central Vietnam, which is an impressive place!

I had a goal to hit all UNESCO sites in Vietnam, but I missed out on 2: Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and the Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long. I guess that means I have one more pending trip back there in the future.

Since my first silk sleeping sack last year, I’ve taken a fancy on bed sheets/spread for souvenirs. I like the idea of sleeping on a bed covered from something acquired from my holidays. So I can dream of these places once I’m back home.
I cannot put a finger as to why I love Vietnam. 
But I do.