and all the random people you meet
11.12.2007 - 17.12.2007 26 °C
Hello again! I can't believe it's almost Christmas. It's amazing that I've been travelling for 11 weeks; it's all a blur and I don't want it to end. Of course, there are times that the homesickness kicks in full blast and all I want to do is go home and watch a hockey game, but I know that as soon as I get back home, I'll wish I was sitting on a beach in Thailand, or tubing in Laos, or just meeting some random person in a pub and having an eye-opening conversation. The whole experience is starting to really affect me in the best way possible.
I was in Nha Trang about a week ago, playing pool with an American guy, and a girl walked up to me and we started talking. The great thing about travelling is that everyone has something in common: no one is home. Conversations are incredibly easy. So we were talking, and it turns out this girl works for the State Department in Baghdad. She said she used to work in Washington, but got bored of it and took a year long contract in Iraq. They pay her about twice what she made in the States for the same job because of the danger involved, and she gets three weeks of holidays every three months. I asked her if it was as dangerous as they make it out to be, and she said that Baghdad is pretty stable now, but she has been truly scared about three times in three months so far due to explosions. Pretty crazy. Just an example of the different types of people you meet.
I've been travelling with the American guy I met that night since then. He's from Laguna Beach, California, the same town as the show, and when I asked him he rolled his eyes and told me that's the first thing anyone ever says to him. He's right too, everyone we've met since has asked him, especially the girls. He must get right sick of it. It's funny though, his brother's girlfriend is on the show. So anyways, he lives in South Africa now and has for the last six years, running a surf/safari company with a partner, and he's on his way back to Laguna for Christmas.
We spent four nights in Hoi An, one of the best cities I've been to in Southeast Asia. It's a pretty small town, but it's got loads of old French architecture, and all the streets are tiny. It's full of character. Many travellers go there to get clothes made, because there are tailor shops absolutely everywhere and they're dirt cheap. There must be well over a hundred of these shops, and the town isn't very big at all. I shopped around and ended up buying a dark brown, three piece, cashmere suit with pinstripes, two collared shirts and really nice jacket, all for $107. I've never had clothes fit me so well in my life.
Right now I'm in Hue, an old capital that has a few sights to see. I'm leaving tomorrow night on a sleeper bus to Hanoi, a 14 hour bus ride. But these sleeper buses are great, so it shouldn't be too bad. I've only got nine days left on my Vietnamese visa, so I'm only spending one night in Hanoi, then I'll go to Sapa in the north for a couple nights, then to Halong Bay in the east for a couple more (supposedly one of the most naturally beautiful places on the planet), and then back to Hanoi for Christmas. I fly back to Bangkok on Christmas night, and I'll be in Thailand for a week or so to celebrate New Year's, and then it's off to India for a month, as long as I can get everything arranged in Thailand. After that, it's back home. I can't believe I can see the end, but there's much more left to see.
This was in Hoi An. There are so many neat little shops like this. I wanted to buy so many things ..
A typical street in Hoi An.
Being a Communist country (well, not really, but that's another blog), Che's image turns up often. And it seems writing things on the wall is a big thing in Hue. Lots of restaurants and cafes are covered in graffiti written by the thousands of travellers that have passed through.
My awesome jacket.
My awesome suit.
That's all for now. You'll be happy to know my massage hickeys have all cleared up, although I'm sure I'm far happier about it than any of you. Until next time!