The week before Tet, I went to Ho Chi Minh City. I went mostly to see my friend David, but also to spend some time by myself, without family nearby for the first time in weeks and weeks.
I rode the Mekong Express bus to get there. Hopped out as we crossed the Mekong River.
I wonder what the river will be like after the mega-dam is built.National Road 1.
|Exchanged USD into VND and became a millionaire.|
|Com tam is my favorite.|
I splurged and stayed at Song Anh Hotel, right in downtown. Traveling alone, and feeling very soft from so long in the cozy embrace of my family, I decided to forgo the backpacker area.
|The hotel employees thought I was weird for taking stairs instead of the elevator to my 5th floor room.|
|Saw this on my last day. But heard it over and over again throughout my trip.|
|General Post Office designed by Gustave Eiffel.|
One of my favorite parts of the trip was sitting by the Saigon River sipping coffee with David on my second night. We talked about Los Angeles, and what it's like to move from one town to another, and how Southeast Asia is quickly adopting the hurried pace of Western civilization. It seems that people don't really make time for one another-- spending time together is just a part of life. But now there are gated communities popping up, and the nuclear-family-based culture is increasingly taking hold, and I think about how lucky I was to grow up in a multi-generational home, without any distinction between "family" and "extended family."
I'm rambling. I'm sitting in a cafe in Little Saigon. It feels good to be home. So many things to do. So many places still to go. I have a loose timeline. I have a little cash. I have a lot of loved ones. I feel lucky.