Stop 13: Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon

Something I ate in Dalat got me pretty bad and I had diarrhea in the morning when I am supposed to go to Saigon. I took 2 Imodium tablets and even puked out what I ate in the last 24 hours. That helped a lot … With much worrying, I arrived in the hot HCMC without much troubles after 6 hours. May’s cousin was also riding with me since he is going back to work (his family has a packaging tape factory close to HCMC and the competition now is more fierce since China is producing some raw materials itself which leverages the competitiveness of Chinese products.)

I met up with Yawhuei’s cousin for dinner with stories about her cousin who¬† would observe her from his room across the road and come to visit whenever she is home. But she hasn’t really figured out what she wants to do after some years learning Chinese in Taiwan and China.

The hostel itself seemed not to organize events to gather the guests together so it was a bit more difficult to get to know other people. I talked to a Malaysian student who is visiting friends here. Met a firefighter guy from Catalan who used to be a web developer during my half day tour to the tunnels outside of the city. I eventually met 2 Danish girls in Phnom Peng again but we did not talk much.

The owner was more interesting. She was learning German and greeted me in German and we had some very basic conversation. Later I found out that she is actually only 29. She used to be an accountant and is now trying the hostel business. This is her second hostel since she sold the first one and rented this apparent one million USD house and designed it herself. One thing she is confused about is that the facilities she has is better than some other hostels in Vietnam but they have far better ratings (not that hers is bad, she has roughly about 9 but she wants to go to 9.5). One thing I would think is missing are the activities that brings people together. She does not seem the type of person who is super outgoing and likes to connect with everyone. She is a good host by all means but the warmness that for examples Kate radiates is missing here. That was the suggestion I made, hopefully that would help. We even ended up talking about Bitcoins and how she was reading into trading and actually made some thousand bucks last week. So all in all, she is a doer and learns thing super quickly. Also very smart since she seems to get it. I wish her all the best! (The Like Hostel & Cafe)

I did not do much sightseeing. The war museum is very informative and the pictures are quite powerful. Also if you think about it, all things sort of stitch together now for what happened after WW2. Korea war, Vietnam war, and afterwards I would also find out more about Cambodia and Myanmar. Politics and wars are actually interesting topics and I start to see the impacts of them in those places I went to. Crazy how some decision of several individuals can impact the lives of millions of people. And do these people take accountability or responsibility for what they did? I don’t think there is even equivalent responsibility for them to take what they did … maybe they can try to do some things as of help to fund the reconstructions, but … it is not the same … (something we talked in Myanmar is actually that a country can take responsibility for what was caused before by helping now, France is doing that, but not every country)

I also met Valerie again before she flew back to Austria. We had some nice conversations while eating sushi and having a beer on the rooftop in a bar in the backpackers area where you can also find all the bars and clubs. I can’t remember the details now what we talked about back then … I do remember we talked about Croatia and my high school class but I don’t think the conversation got on to a deep level.

That actually concludes my 20 days in Vietnam. I may have missed Sapa or Phon Nha, but all the people I met along the way and all the beautiful sceneries are such enrichments to my life and I hope I did capture the most interesting in my blog posts. Sometimes I still recognize the “thinking too much” me but the journey continues. And I am very much looking forward to browsing through these pages again once I get back.

Me, in Hsipaw feeling very productive even though sitting in front of a very crappy computer where some keys get stuck when I type …

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