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.
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.
Did you know you can eat the flower petals of bananas?
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.
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.
We ate our packed lunches perched on the edge of the mountain.
Finally, we reached the top!
Suddenly, I found myself admiring the KL Tower and Petronas Towers at night in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
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.