By: Revanche

Le arrive

March 9, 2007

After that generally heart-stopping preface, the rest of the trip was almost anticlimactic. I arrived in Saigon with nothing but my carryon full of travel documents, the requisite book, and some cash. BoyDucky was immediately introduced to a city mall, and we quickly bought a couple country-style shirt/pant combinations for me to wear until my luggage was located and sent over. Apparently, my cousins wear jeans now. That was a little horrifying. Even if I’d had any with me, I still wouldn’t wear jeans in that weather; it was easily 90+ degrees everyday, breeze optional, and a helping of humidity was definitely included! My cousin had just bought new sandals that she lent me for the week so we could get on our way (and more importantly, onward to LUNCH.)

I think I learned more about the geography of the country in this one short trip than in all the nine weeks I’ve spent there over the years, combined. There’s something about translating and answering a new visitor’s questions that reveals so much you’ve taken for granted. And it was definitely a bit cleaner than I remembered, though the traffic was still as hazardous as ever. The one thing I missed that was prevalent in years past were the “sit los” (bike cabbies). I didn’t spot a single one all wee; the motorbikes and bicyclists have officially taken over.

Speaking of roads, I was pleasantly surprised by some of the roadwork: there was actual asphalt laid outside of the city. Not much, but some!

We spent all of Saturday traveling between the home village and Saigon (2-3 hours each way) to pick up my wayward luggage, and I spent all of Sunday being sick. *Ugh* There’s nothing like running a 101 fever in 95 degree weather.

Most importantly, it took Grandma a couple of days to recognize me, which was really sad, but she eventually realized that I wasn’t a stranger and to understand who BoyDucky was. She even said my name a couple of times! She hasn’t been able to do anything for herself for some time now, and that as much as anything was overwhelmingly heartbreaking. But I think she knew we came back to see her. She may not remember, but it’s ok. It was just important to see her, and give her the chance to meet BoyDucky. I guess I’ve got to give up the dream that she might live to see my wedding now, but I did get to reconnect with my multitudes of cousins who are also all grown up now. It’s comforting to know that there are many many people who remember Grandma and what she was like.

2 Responses to “Le arrive”

  1. Your trip sounds pretty cool so far, minus the crazy departure. I learned from my previous vacations not to rely on checked luggaged. I usually travel with a 2 backpack set, a small one for the laptop, camera, docs, etc. and a bigger one that can hold several days of clothes and some necessities. Both I carryon, sure makes leaving the airport easy. The downside is that, both packs combine to about 21 kg, and get quite heavy hauling around on my back.

    On the subject of infrastructure, I was pleaseantly surprised at Thailand’s infrastucture. Roads, power grids, etc. is pretty close to what we have in the states. Southeast asian countries is more advanced than most people think.

    Keep up posted, maybe Saigon is on bro’s vacation plans. It is the fastest growing major Asian city right now 🙂

  2. ~Cash~ Yeah, this was the first time I didn’t pack any emergency stuff in my carryon. I’ve learned my lesson! I was very lucky that *emergency* clothing only set me back about 15 bucks total.

    Did you travel alone in Thailand? I’ve got a friend who travels extensively but doesn’t do Asia solo because he says it’s not safe.

    I wouldn’t say that Saigon was precisely CLOSE to the US but it’s definitely come farther than I expected. I would like to go back with more of a tourist’s eyes, though.

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