The Pain and Pleasure of Vietnam


I have no concept of time anymore. One week on the road can feel like a lifetime. Martin and I spent nearly eight weeks in Vietnam; six of those weeks were on motorbikes. I have no idea what that means. 

I do know that coming back to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) was like coming home after a really long camping trip. I started wearing clean clothes every day and eating real meals again. I found an Airbnb apartment where I could cook and work out, things that were impossible when motorbiking. 

Vietnam Vietnam

I started to fall in love with Vietnamese food – well at least the food without the random pig parts or congealed blood. The cooking class I took through the restaurant Hoa Tuc has now armed me with three Vietnamese recipes I would gladly and easily make again.

Saigon Cooking Class

Saigon Cooking Class

Did you know you can eat the flower petals of bananas? 

Saigon Cooking Class Saigon Cooking Class Saigon Cooking Class

My favorite street food is Banh Xeo, a delicious rice and wheat flour batter that is fried in a lot of oil. It gets the yellow color from turmeric, not eggs. To eat, you wrap it in greens and sometimes rice paper and dip it in nuoc mam, a flavored fish sauce. 

Saigon Cooking Class Saigon Cooking Class

Our last big adventure in Vietnam was a day hiking trip with a group of Vietnamese friends. We motorbiked about 200 kilometers and hiked for 7 hours up and down a 1000 meter mountain. I get tired just thinking about it!

This was the most difficult hike I have ever been on. Big rocks studded the side of the mountain. I essentially crawled up, thankful for the rock climbing I had done in college. By the end of the hike, my legs were so tired I could barely walk. From hurting my foot in Australia to motorbiking in Vietnam, I hadn’t worked out like this for over two months. Only now, almost a week later, can I walk without pain. 

Vietnam Hiking Vietnam Hiking

We ate our packed lunches perched on the edge of the mountain.  

Vietnam Hiking

Finally, we reached the top!

Vietnam Hiking

Suddenly, I found myself admiring the KL Tower and Petronas Towers at night in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur

We have about 4 weeks before we have to be back in the United States to finish the visa process for our move to China, so why not explore another country?! Visiting a muslim country is wonderfully different than any other country I’ve visited. But, more on that in the next post.

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