Sinner sinner, chicken dinner

Trip Start Nov 19, 2010
Trip End Dec 19, 2010

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Friday, November 26, 2010

I have to say, the airports in Vietnam are so far very disappointing. The food is sketchy at best, there is nowhere to sit and they are really disorganized.  I spent my first hour here completely confused as to whether I had missed my flight or it was delayed.  Just not a fun way to spend an hour on a day when I was up at 4:30 am and slept about 3 hours last night.  Ugh.  In good news, I didn't miss my flight as it is 5 hours delayed and I am rammed into a packed airport along with half of Vietnam, it seems.  I’m going to try and get a picture of this before I leave.  In good news though, free wifi!  Asia is much more civilized about this fact than we are.  So far wifi seems to be most places and in most cases it is free.  Perfect for the solo woman on the go.  Also, the nerds out there.  Just saying.

Back to yesterday and our plan for the beach: by the time the lads had a flight sorted, bikes rented, and lost sunglasses found, it was after 1 and we were just sitting down to lunch for me, breakfast for them.  After detouring by my hotel for a bathing suit and then hitting two shops for me to get fittings done (seriously, these boys are absolutely amazing!) we headed out on the world’s most uncomfortable and busted bikes to the beach.  It was about a 30 or 40 minute trip through the craziness of Vietnamese traffic and we are fairly lucky we survived the trip given that Matt almost got hit by a digger in the road and a motorbike almost knocked me off my bike.  And yet, we live to tell the tale. 

As a side note: I think I’ve figured out Vietnamese driving.  I’m going to write it all down at some point and then share it here.  You are all welcome.

I’m sure that had it not been cloudy and windy as shit, the beach would have been perfectly lovely.  However, when we arrived it was not under the most fortunate of weather circumstances so we just walked along the beach for an hour or so chatting and answering surveys for some lovely young school girls who took quite a shine to Matt- it appears he is very popular with the Asian ladies- something Pete and I ribbed him about for much of the rest of our time together.  After quickly showering and going for another fitting- good lord I had more action this week with the poking and prodding of the Vietnamese fitters than I have had in ages- we hooked up for dinner and a few beers.  A few rounds of shithead later and it was time for bed because we were up at 4:30 this morning to go to My Son for the sunrise tour. 

Considering I have been waking up at 4:30 almost every day, I thought this would be an easy start for me.  But no, today was the one day I probably could have slept until 11 am and been the bear I have been dreaming of being.  I swear to God if I wake up early tomorrow someone is getting beaten down.  Up at 4:30, bus at 5, stop for breakfast and to pick up the lads at 5:10.  It seems that none of us are morning people and none of us had slept particularly well so this morning was entertaining to say the least.

And by entertaining I mean filled with retardation. 

My Son was a little disappointing all around, mainly because "sunrise" wasn’t meant literally.  We were told that we would get there to watch the sun rise at My Son, but we got there well after that and the drama was gone.   The lads are both artistically inclined so they were especially disappointed they didn’t get the photos they were looking to take.  But we made the best of it and had a few good laughs.  It was also really interesting to learn about My Son as it is a Wat (much like Angkor) that is Hindu in nature.  They were built starting in the 10th century which is about 400 years before Angkor.  They were also hit by bombs during the Vietnam/American War and there are a few places where there was an obvious bomb hole (there must be a better term than that).  Incredibly, some of the close by Wats still survived.  There is apparently some debate as to how the Wats were built given that there is no cement or holding agent between the bricks and archeologists have put forth a number of theories ranging from honey to God knows what.  Interesting stuff for the nerd in me. 

 After returning home on a boat and staking a few chickens, I split up with the lads in order to get a bunch of stuff accomplished- for me it including shipping 10 kilos worth of clothing back to Canada for the total of $115 (Vietnam, you are fast becoming my one true love) - we hooked up for our last lunch together at the Friendship Restaurant where we met originally and agreed to connect in either Halong Bay or at worst Thailand in a few weeks.  I had to keep things short since I had a flight to catch after lunch. 

Insert the part where I regretfully leave the lads behind.  It was really nice to spend time with people I just instantly clicked with.  We all enjoyed each other’s company and it was easy and fun, definitely people I could travel with for extended periods of time which kind of boggles my mind considering I just met them.  Ah well, soon enough we will be together again recreating the mischief (read, laziness) that we got up to in Hoi An.

My friendly taxi driver picked my ass up at the hotel and took me to Marble Mountain to run around on the way to Danang since my flight was 2 hours delayed (allegedly) at that point.  Marble Mountain was much cooler than I thought it would be.  There are a number of old relics and Buddhas and such on and in the mountain itself, as well as a working monastery (monks! And singing!). 

At one point during my climb, I was accosted by a lady who wanted me to buy incense from her and pray to Buddha and place the incense sticks in the appropriate places around an altar.  I played along and fervently wished for “happiness, laughter, travel and dreams coming true” because I am officially the worst pray-er ever.   I’m just going to chalk it up to praying to Traveling Buddha and let it be. 

After this lady did her thing, another very old lady came and spoke her 6 words of English at me as she lead me into a bunch of caves to see relics like “Sleeping Buddha”- wherein she handed me a flashlight, gestured for me to climb up a wall, and shine my flashlight in a dark hole. Lo and behold, Sleeping Buddha was there! 

And before I continue this story, yes, I know I’m a sucker and should have known better.

About 2 minutes into the elderly lady tour (patent pending) a youngish man joins her to babble at me in Vietnamese. Now I have two people walking through the caves with me and repeating the same few English words they know at me.  Turns out, they know the important ones: “please.  Lady.  Money?”

I gave the woman a few dollars, it’s the only change I had, and the youngish man then proceeded to ask me for money as well.  I signalled I had no more and walked on after thanking the lady.

Apparently, he was far more persistent than I ever would have guessed.  He followed me for another 10 minutes alternating between babbling in Vietnamese and standing with his hands out, shoulders slumped and eyes looking at the ground saying “money?”  I explained again (futile, I know, but I’m always hopeful) that I had no money for him, but he continued to chase me.  Finally, I yelled at him.

People, on sacred ground I yelled at a homeless man.  I’m pretty sure right at that moment someone was turning up the heat in my spot in hell just a little extra and grinning madly.   In good news? He disappeared after that so I feel okay with accepting my fate.

After leaving the mountain my taxi driver, in his very broken English, asked me if I wanted to have “chicken rice” for dinner in Danang since we still had some time to kill. I agreed, remembering the lack of food options at the airport.  So we went to a “restaurant”, sat on tiny plastic chairs, and ate the best roast chicken I have ever had.  The skin was perfect and crispy and seasoned with magic and the meat was juicy and delicious.  Of course, our conversation left something to be desired.  I determined that he has a son who is 5, that eating cucumbers means having beautiful skin (which I allegedly have), that his sister has a daughter who is 18 months old, and that dinner came out to 81,000 dong (approximately $4 for 2 people).  Otherwise, he smiled at me a lot and gestured and repeated things like, “Halong Bay very beautiful” “People in Hanoi not like here. Not good people”.

Since then I have been sitting in the world’s shittiest airport alternately surfing the web and writing and praying for relief from my exhaustion.  Also, listening to Australians and marvelling over how much I don’t like them. I’ll expand on that next time.  And hopefully next time I will remember the other story I made a mental note to write down. 

So, good news, I remembered that I made the mental note.  Bad news? I don’t remember why. 

I’m amazing like that. 
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grlandherdog on

Sounds like more fun than sitting in the Seattle airport waiting for a delayed flight. I'm very jealous about all the food you're eating, and I can't wait to see all the clothes you purchased!

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