Good Morning. . . . Do I really have to say it?
Trip Start Aug 31, 2007
10Trip End Dec 10, 2007
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This is mad long, excuse my lack of brevity, but it's been a while!
Tibet was great, albeit some people in our group had some trouble with the altitude. Nothing major though, everyone lived to tell the tale.
This region of China was very different than China "proper." The people, atmosphere and culture were pretty much completely different. We went to several Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, including the summer palace of the Dali Lama (before he fled from the Chinese gov't circa 1950). The monasteries were great, all still very in use by wild-haired pilgrims from all over Tibet. It's pretty hard to put into words what one experiences at places like these, but there is a lot of reverence in the air along with thoughts about the merits of religions that you are not used to.
Tibet was also full of great mountain scenery. We made it up to about 17,000 feet, via bus, but we couldn't stay long. Too cold and windy. I put up some prayer flags with some friends names on it though, started my own strand. I thought it was cool, snapped some pictures and then hopped back on the bus. Tibetan style tourism I guess.
The rest of the China trip was not too impressive, in Guilin we had not the best guide and she took us to all of the super-touristy/creepy parks in the city. The landscape was cool, and we took a nice relaxing boat ride down a river, but none of the stuff was as good as it was supposed to have been 25 years ago.
Our group was the best part about the end of the trip for sure, we all really bonded and it was sad to say goodbye to everyone, although everyone was very ready to move on. China has a way of. . . growing on you.
After a day of prep and saying goodbye to our favorite places and people in Shanghai (which was truly sad) our intrepid group caught our 9:45 pm flight to Vietnam. Our group is me, Seth Moser-Katz, Melissa Williamson and Shell Jun Zhu. We're all ballers.
We got into the airport after midnight and then because of visa stuff didn't get out of the airport until about 1:30 am. Our hotel arranged to pick us up and the driver, upon seeing us walking out of the airport, starting jumping up and down, waving, smiling, laughing and shouting at us. It was great, a preview of how the Vietnamese people have been treating us.
Ho Chi Minh City (it's still known as Saigon for the most part throughout the country) was busy, but not quite as intimidating as the Chinese cities. We were only there for a day before heading out to the beach, but it was long enough for me to almost burn my face off. I touched some hot peppers to put them into my noodle bowl and then rubbed my nose. It hurt like hell. I left everyone at the restaurant and went to my hotel and stuck my face in front the A/C for 15 minutes and finally it went away. Nick Scott's a dumb ass in Vietnam, Vol 1.
The next day we took a bus to Mui Ne Beach. Doesn't get much better than that. We stayed in beach front bungalows for $10 a night for 5 nights. We spent most of the day relaxing on the beach and recharging after everything in China. One day we rented motorbikes and drove around the surrounding coast. It was awesome. Really pretty and a great way to see some of the country that you wouldn't normally see. There was a great little restaurant on the beach about 5 minutes from our hotel that we would go and eat on tables in the sand. Ahhh.
Now we're in Dalat. It's in the mountains and called the Land of Eternal Spring. Always perfect weather, they grow coffee and every veggie you can imagine. It's really pretty, but the reason we came here is the adventure sport thingies. And they have not let us down.
Yesterday we went abseiling, or rappelling, down waterfalls in the rain forest around Dalat. It was, for lack of a better word, AWESOME. Going straight down a 100 foot waterfall, not just jumping, but actually walking down it, was a huge adrenaline rush. We also jumped off a cliff and slid down a smaller waterfall. I actually got pretty banged up on the second rappel. I didn't straighten my legs after a jump and pretty much slammed the whole left side of my body into the side of a rock cliff. Completely my fault of course, I ripped off half of my big toenail on my left foot, banged and scraped my knee pretty good and my elbow is swollen as hell. It's like there's mini bicep muscle on the outside of my elbow. Don't worry, I'm icing it as we speak.
Nick Scott's a dumb ass in Vietnam, Vol 2.
Today was pretty much great, we took motorcycle tours with these guys called the Dalat Easyriders. They take tourists off the main tourist trail on the back of their motorcycles. It was really fun, our guys were great, cracking jokes all the time. Also, they really know alot about the area and are very informative on the culture and government of Vietnam.
For dinner, we walked around to markets and street vendors and just bought anything that looked appetizing. We had sandwiches, noodle bowls, fruit, ice cream, candy, kabobs, corn and shellfish. It was delicious and really fun.
Tomorrow we take a bus back to Saigon and will spend two days there before having a three day tour of the Mekong Delta and heading into Cambodia. Really excited!
Alright, well I'm starting to miss lots of things about home. People, food, not living out of a suitcase. But I'm still going strong, too many cool things to look forward to. We met a British guy and ate dinner with him and he got us all really pumped about Thailand. STILL, any word from any of you guys would be great! I really miss everyone and love hearing from you so email, leave messages on here, Facebook, anything! Let me here from ya! Pics coming soon!
Ok, well it's time to pack :( Love you guys!