My trip to Ho Chi Minh City began in an instant message chat:Me: I’m hungry!
Nguyen: Come here and I’ll treat you dinner.
Me: (Thinking she’s still in China) I want claypot noodles
Nguyen: You should ask for pho. I’m back in Vietnam
Nguyen: Want to come visit?
Me: (After 5 minutes of inner struggle) I’ll ask my mom The tickets were quite cheap, and mom (being mom and perhaps a bit guilty that she let my sister go to Australia while I could not go Taiwan) said yes. So I bought a ticket leaving Aug 12, and returning 22. And the rest, will be (hopefully) recorded here. ———
I started packing my bags four days before the trip. Packing as in throwing everything I want to bring into a box to decide if I really need them. I didn’t want to drag a luggage around as Nguyen might be fetching me on her motorcycle. So I got a red backpack from Carrefour at $4.90 as a check in bag. A girl needs all her toiletries, and not all of them are in 100ml containers. 100ml of sunblock can only last how many days? I left the house on a sunny morning, 15 minutes later than planned. Nearby, there was this sign. On the MRT, I was appalled by who would want to buy bakkwa that looks like Chinese sausages or more yucky–stools. Part of my: These Crocs are made for walking series. In the MRT I was just barely on time for check in as the budget terminal shuttle bus took the longest time to arrive. I’m leaving on a jet plane~ Immigration form that I filled in painstakingly which the immigration officer didnt collect. Another part of the–photos in foreign toilets series. Welcome to HCM indeed. While walking along the corridor to the baggage collection, I looked out the window at the car park and realised it’s really a “motorcycle park” instead I changed my Singaporean dollars to Vietnamese Dong at $1 to 12,530 and I was a millionaire. As I stepped out the airport, scanning the crowd, I saw a someone with a big hat shouting. It’s Nguyen! It has been two full years since we last met. I met her mother and we hopped on a car to her godparents’ place. Nguyen’s godmother prepared a huge lunch! First up was stuffed snails. I figured if the French can eat them, so can I. I dipped them into fish sauce and garlic shreds. And they were chewy and yum! Underfed-looking spring roll rolled by myself After lunch, I went with Nguyen and her mom back to her home in My Tho. And I rediscovered an old skill of mine– I am able to fall asleep on any cars as long as the scenery is not buildings. So I slept all the way from Saigon to My Tho and woke up with a sore neck. But all was well!! At night, I had my first motorbike ride since 10. I admit. It is super duper scary. I had flashes of my life passing by my eyes. And wondered if my insurance (thank heavens I bought it) pays for motorbike accidents. But Nguyen was a very good driver and I survived my ten days of bike riding. We had supper– noodles. I found this funny– electrical candles in front of the Virgin Mary Very yummy shaved ice with a lot of fruits