So I Came Back From Vietnam Early

Awkward souvenirs at War Remnants Museum. 

Vietnam turned out to be pretty much a wash.

Turns out I have some sort of weird persistent chest infection. This makes doing things I really like doing on trips – such as trekking and more simple pursuits like walking – considerably more complicated than they ought to be.

Furthermore, I can’t say we were having a great time.

Saigon is….Saigon and while Da Lat is pretty and all, my being unable to breathe like people sort of hampered my entertainment opportunities in an outdoors sports hub.

I in fact discovered my respiratory infection was worse than I had thought upon attempting a not-inexpensive nature trek to the top of a mountain outside Da Lat, which ended in me wheezing in profound surprise, horror, and embarrassment about a 1/2 mile into the trek. We had to go home. Goodbye, $66. I’ll miss you.

I should add that as an ardent food type, I was somewhat surprised by how hard it was to find good food in Vietnam, even after doing quite a bit of prior online research.

Bridge in Da Lat. Pretty place. Cool weather, too.

I did enjoy some delicious banh khot in Da Lat, some surprisingly good sushi, and liked (if not loved) Cuch Gach Quan, perhaps Saigoin’s finest example of Hipster Folk Cuisine. Every city’s gotta have one.

I suspect that next time I go to Saigon, I need to borrow a local food expert to walk me around. (Who wants to volunteer?!)

I’d go back to Vietnam, but I think I’d do it only if I could afford to make at least a couple of inter-country flights. Still want to see Ha Long Bay and Hue. Suspect having more funds would make this more pleasant. Well, and fully functioning lungs, can’t forget those.

Another addendum: Really Really Tall People should not put Vietnam at the top of their list of potential tourist destinations. 10 inch stools for street food and lots of long, bumpy bus trips, you can figure it out. And constant staring. Lots of staring.

Sometimes I feel like I am becoming a Cambodian nationalist. I attribute this to a latent case of under-dog syndrome. Also, while Phnom Penh may be, in most indelicate terms, a bit of a shit-hole, it is MY shit-hole.

This makes sense. I feel the same way about New Orleans. It’s a dirty violent place but it is MY violent dirty place, dammit. Don’t speak bad about it or I’ma break yo face.

More blog posts about Vietnam to follow.


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