So, I shove my way to the front of the mass of
people and push my passport and money through the window. It seems rude to me,
but that’s what everyone else is doing. Fifteen minuets later I’m extremely
surprised at how quickly and painlessly I got through immigration and I’m on my
way to the hotel.
Lights out. Best night’s sleep I’ve had in a
I’ve never been so far away from home without knowing
anyone in town. Anxiety begins to grip me. The first step is the hardest and
crossing this tiny street proves quite an adventure.
I had read about the
motorbikes and chaos of the streets in Saigon,
but was definitely not prepared for this. Nobody stops… or even slows down. You
just walk out into traffic and start dodging motorbikes. After a quick breakfast
I decide to wander the streets and see what happens. I have a small map from my
guidebook that, unbeknownst to me, lacks quite a few of the streets that
actually exist. Within fifteen minutes I am completely lost in a back-alley-residential
area and catching some pretty interesting looks from the people I pass. Clearly,
I’m out of my element.
…Or am I? I came here in
search of the unknown… and so far I’ve made it clear that I don’t know shit. But,
eventually I get back on track and find my way to an area that seems to be what
I was looking for on the map. It’s very hot, very noisy, very confusing and
very exciting. I can’t take five steps without someone asking me if I want to a
ride on their rickshaw. Eventually I find relief from the heat and a perch
overlooking a busy intersection in an air-conditioned ice cream shop. Break
The way back to the hotel was just as chaotic as my wanderings around the city in the daytime, even moreso. Not only did I not know where I was going and get lost multiple times, doing a circle around the same three blocks not once, nor twice, but thrice, but it was dark out. And of course, the freaks come out at night. Something about being alone in a country where not so long ago there was a war being waged by the USA... and no one, not even myself really knew where I was... Hmmm... fun / scary...
The heat, the several miles of walking, the always-being-on-my-guard because everything seemed so crazy around me. All of this led to me being completely exhausted when I finally got back to the hotel - Madam Cuc's. Luckily I was able to finally talk to some people that spoke English (It had been 48 hours). It just somehow made me feel better.All things considered, it was a pretty good day. It was my first time travelling like this alone. I faced a lot of anxiety and found that I immediately felt better for having done so.