The last time I was in Vietnam was exactly two years ago when I went with Russ, Jen, D, and Hunty to Ho Chi Minh, Nha Trang, and made a pit stop in Thailand! That trip goes down in the books as one of the best ever (went to a crocodile farm in the middle of thailand and went on boats through the Mekong delta) so this time around I was more than stoked to get back to Vietnam and see what else there was to explore.
TOKYO, NARITA --> INCHEON, KOREA --> HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM
I had a loooooong layover in Korea (7+ hours) and since all of the free city tours were booked I decided to dive into a good novel. I found this one in the tiny English section at the airport bookstore. I admit, I am definitely someone that judges a book by it's cover (and title) and this one had me intrigued from the get go. It was really well written and a book I'd recommend to anyone!!
After a full day traveling (Japan to Vietnam should only take 6 hours but all direct flights are ridiculously expensive!) I finally arrived in HCM (Ho Chi Minh aka Saigon) and Jen's family picked me up and took me to their house where I immediately fell asleep.
The next morning I woke up to go back to the airport to pick up Russ, Jen, Kacie, Hunty, and Cam who were flying in from CA and considering the fact that I hadn't seen any of them in 4 months I could hardly wait!!
When I skyped home a few weeks ago I told Hunter I woud bring him some eraser toys from Japan (his favorite) so the first thing we did upon reuniting was hand over the goods...which produced this face and made it all worth it!
A lot can change in a kid when you don't see them for 4 months and when I left in August, Cam wasn't talking much. When I saw him in Vietnam he was so chatty saying things like "hello mommy, hello daddy, hello bon bon" "More candy please" (which sounded more like "mo caaaaan deee peez"
First thing first, spring rolls. Jen's family, being the awesome and accommodating people they are, made me a few non-shrimp ones. They are so kind!
Now, I only had a day in HCM since we flew to Da Nang on Monday and then I flew straight home to Japan on Saturday...so I made sure to take as many photos as I could in this beautiful city. Being back in HCM...it kind of felt like I was just there. I remembered the bridges outside Jen's family's, I remembered the main market, the traffic circles, and the many many scooters.
First stop, amazing boba. One thing to note about Vietnam: EVERYTHING IS SO CHEAP. We got 6 bobas for less than $10 total. That is amazing.
In front of the statue of Mr. Ho Chi Minh himself
One thing I really love about HCM is all the tiny alley ways that lead to amazing restaurants, tailor shops, houses...all seemingly tucked back behind the city possessing so much life and so many stories.
BIKES. EVERYWHERE. Mothers, babies, 3 grown men, 20 boxes of tissue paper, you name it and it is probably on a scooter rolling through the streets of vietnam. It is a crazy and chaotic system I will never understand but I tell you, I could sit on a corner and watch these bikes all day long and never get bored!
One of the best street snacks. Crispy coconut waffle. I don't even like coconut but I love these. That's how good they are
Vietnam has an amazing array of fruit. The most iconic fruit is probably Durian, the smelliest fruit in the world (tastes like rotten avocado), but there is also so many types of tropical fruits that are so fresh and amazing!
If you ever wanted to buy some knock-off Yeezys, HCM is the place to do it
The purpose of the trip to Vietnam was a family reunion to honor Jen's late grandma (Ba). It was really awesome hanging out with all of her cousins, aunts, and uncles and we had fun with Bre and Sydney who are around the same age as Kacie and I.
After exploring HCM on Sunday, we had one night of sleep before waking up Monday morning and heading to the airport to fly to Danang. But, before we left we had to start the morning off the best way possible - with a nice hot bowl of Pho.
This pho was so good. Delicious rice noodles, raw beef that cooks as you go, and fresh bean sprouts and greens. Pretty sure we all consumed this bowl in under 5 minutes...each bowl costing a grand total of $2!!
Being in HCM is always an adventure, and it is also really nice to spend time with Jen's family. Last time we were here Jen's grandpa met Hunter, and this time he was able to meet Camden. He always keeps a picture of Hunter on his dresser by his hammock bed, so cute.
It was so great being in HCM for a day and a half...and I hope to reutrn to this great city again someday!
Now off to DaNang..