Goodnight, Saigon! Our time in Vietnam has come to an end. We were there for more than two months and we managed to see at lot in that time.
We started in the capital. We started in the cold. We ended in the South. We ended in the heat. We saw the coast and we saw the rice paddies. We saw huge cities and we saw tiny villages. We ate and drank and made friends and memories.
When we left South America I wrote a wrap-up post full of numbers. I thought I might do the same for our time in Vietnam. But, when I began thinking back on our time there, it wasn’t the volume of things that stood out to me at all. Instead, it was the small and significant moments that we enjoyed. So, here’s a small wrap up in the form of my Top Five Most Memorable Moments in Vietnam.
1. Making friends in Ha Noi
My memories of Ha Noi are mixed. I loved the architecture, I hated the cold. I loved the food, I hated the damp. But one memory of Ha Noi that’s entirely positive is the memory of meeting a group of new friends out at a Bia Hoi one night. We ate and drank and translated for each other and laughed a lot. Amazing people. Amazing night.
2. Kayaking in Halong Bay
This is something that I have literally wanted to do for years. We spent a cloudy, misty hour kayaking together around the jade green waters of Halong Bay. The cliffs rose above us, the water lapped at the kayak and I thought, again, how much wonder there is in the world if you go looking for it. A fantastic experience to share with my husband.
3. Cooking up a storm in Hue
When we arrived in Vietnam we didn’t plan on spending six weeks in Hue. But we fell in love with the small city, the great food and the wonderfully kind people at the New Life Hotel where we lived. Our favourite staff member, Trang, even taught us how to make one of her family’s favourite meals- bun tron. We cooked with Trang and our new friends Russell and Asia and enjoyed a delicious, authentic meal.
4. Sunsets on Phu Quoc
Andy and I love a good sunset. Whenever we have a chance we like to pour a glass of wine and watch the sun dip below the horizon. There’s something very calming and contemplative about watching another day end and Andy and I often have our best conversations at sunset. On the island of Phu Quoc we spent every evening with our toes in the sand and our eyes on the skies.
5. Seafood pig-out in Saigon
It was our last night in Vietnam, and I like to think we went out in style. One last time we squeezed our American bums on tiny plastic stools, ordered icy cold beers and tucked into a feast of Vietnamese food. This time it was freshly grilled shellfish and we managed to stuff ourselves on scallops, mussels and cockles. What a way to end our adventures!
This is just a quick sample, a small number of the endless moments of fun, contemplation, deliciousness and laughter that we shared with each other and with the people of Vietnam whilst we were there. We went to Vietnam hoping to recharge our batteries and regroup. To get ready to restart our “real life.” We left feeling rejuvenated, peaceful, full and excited about our next steps. Thanks for all the memories, ‘Nam!