Here’s a fun short post for you all, from the library of “Things that will never happen to Danielle.” Today, we visited Hue, a lovely Vietnamese city that was the imperial capital of Vietnam, the capital for the Nguyen emperors. In 1945, the Communists came to power and declared Hanoi to be the capital, so now Hue is just a nice place to visit and get a glimpse of what imperial life was like. On the way back, over one of Hue’s narrow bridges, we were stopped by a young Vietnamese man walking with his girlfriend. This happened:
Vietnamese guy, enthusiastically: “Hi!” (not hello for a change)
Rebecca, almost as enthusiastically: “Hi!”
Vietnamese guy: “You are very tall!”
Rebecca, surprised and amused: “Thank you…? Hahaha.”
Did I mention that Rebecca sticks out a lot in Asia? Exhibit A.
Photo courtesy of Clevelend Scene (via Google Search)
When planning for a long trip, you do lots of preparation. You pack medicines you think you might need, you get vaccines, you sketch out your itineraries, and you try to learn what you can about the places you want to go. What you never plan for is actually getting sick. Luckily for us, we got sick in the land of noodle soup: Vietnam.
I was so excited to come to Vietnam and have bahn my, what I thought was an authentic Vietnamese sandwich. At home, it is essentially a baguette with meat, cilantro, a spicy and sweet sauce, and other sandwich ingredients like lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, carrots, and more. Every one that I’ve had in the US, at Vietnamese-American restaurants, was delicious. So it must be better in Vietnam, right? Wrong. In buying it, and setting my expectations so high, I had made a very rookie tourist mistake: seeking authenticity from a tourist experience.
For the past month, I’ve been writing mostly about how easy it is to get around in Asia. Our experiences with bus travel have been remarkably pleasant. We had heard so many horror stories about buses that we kept wondering what all the fuss was about. Well, after our experience on the tiny bus from Mui Ne to Dalat, Vietnam, we get it. Bus travel is totally a mixed bag; you never know what you are going to get.
I love the Olympics. The pure athleticism, the gorgeous bodies, the sweet outfits, the national pride, the usually hilarious opening ceremonies… I just can’t get enough. And since the US has tons of athletes competing in both the Winter and the Summer Olympics, I get a chance to watch them on television every two years. I was really looking forward to watching the Winter Olympics this year, a year where I didn’t have to worry about work getting in the way of my Olympic Obsession. So imagine my disappointment when I discovered I would not be able to watch them at all. If you are unable to imagine the full extent of my disappointment, I invite you to continue reading to explore the origin of my interest in all sports and to learn why Vietnam is now on my bad list. Continue reading
I must admit that I didn’t know what to expect from Vietnam. All I really knew before getting here was that we had fought a long, horrible and pointless war here, and that Vietnam was now one country with a Communist government. I figured we had a complicated relationship, as is to be expected given our history. But I don’t think I was really fully cognizant of how complicated it was until I visited the War Remnants Museum. Continue reading