Hey guys, I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to advertize that I have a new post (because FB is blocked in Vietnam) but hopefully I figure it out.
So I’ll tell you guys everything since the last post.
Essentially the night I got back from Traralgon had a big goodbye party for the exchange students and was quite justifiably named so. I didn’t get around to seeing everyone I wanted to before leaving but those who showed at the party and select few others managed to see me in my last few Aussie days.
My ex roomate from Canada, Dan, and another good friend who was on exchange in Ottawa, Karl, both managed to chill with me on my last 2 nights, which were much more awesome nights that the alternative. We hit up some bars and caught up because we hadn’t seen each other nearly enough throughout the semester; I travelled too much. 🙂
The last morning I was meant to see Melbourne became pretty unfortunate because I missed the check in for my flight to Perth by 3 minutes. I literally wanted to cry/blow up but I kept my composure and jumped on the next flight.. 24 hours later. So I spent 25 hours in the Melbourne Airport, watching anime and playing gameboy on my computer.. So much better than being in beautiful Perth eh? >_<
Anyways I eventually made it out to Perth and had a pretty awesome day (I only planned on having 2 anyways but 1 was a little short). My mate Brad who was an exchange student in Canada aswell picked me up and showed me around until he had work. Thank God he went to work though or I would not be able to write this blog from Vietnam. I realised at about 1:30 pm that I needed to pay for a visa to enter Vietnam as it’s one of the only countries in which you can’t get a visa on arrival. By the time I ran over to Flight Center the vietnamese embassy (in Canberra, 3 hours ahead of Perth) had closed 5 minutes earlier. Unable to accept how much God was playing agaisnt me at the time, I went on a spree of running around Perth to find internet. Luckily I found a travel agency/tourist desk that I recognized from my previous travels that I knew had free internet and computers to use. As soon as I got in the people at the tour desk realized something was up and immediately asked me how they could help.
I was trying to see if I could get my visa that day because it takes 1-2 business days to receive it and it was Friday, my flight was on Saturday morning and I wasn’t about to let myself fail twice in two days. I was hoping to get it through Canada but even at that it was risky, luckily the girl at the reception had a friend who had just returned from Vietnam 2 days earlier. She did me a huge favor and called the person to ask the site they got their visa from. Upon receiving the name I found out that I could get the visa done on “urgent” speed and get it processed that day as long as it was done by 2pm Vietnam time. Looking at my watch seeing Perth time at 2:40 I was ready to give up, because Vietnam is more west than Perth. Nevertheless I still checked the Vietnam local time to find out they’re actually an hour behind Perth! I had 20 minutes to rush all the info onto the site and luckily it all worked out perfectly in the end.
After that I took the train from Perth to Fremantle, a nearby city with an older feel to it. It was pretty nice but I didn’t have much time as I had to get back to Perth for a lift to Brad’s place. He picked me up and we had dinner with his parents, which were super chill. We ended up having a couple of beers before calling it a night. I got up at 4 am for my flight (6:35) and made it out to Asia in two surprisingly decent plane rides. I slept through the first and read the Vietnam Lonely Planet (40$ in Perth airport WTF!) to see what I could do today and tomorrow.
I got a cab to my hotel and paid 100,000 Dong………..aka 5$.
I set down my backpack, emailed the lovely Catherine and head out for my first interaction with a real asian city/culture. First thing’s first, you know there are a lot of scooters in asia, you see it everywhere right? There are more than you can imagine. Anyways, I managed to walk around and it was surprisingly hard to find food for the first 20 minutes. Once I found a resto I sat down and enjoyed some pork with rice, soup and a drink that looked and tasted like blended greens. Desert was some watermelon, total cost… 59,000 Dong….. 3$!
Upon leaving is when I realized that the market opens up later, so walking out of the resto I saw a different Ho Chi Minh City than I walked through 30 minutes earlier. I was able to smell food from everywhere and see goods being sold left and right, people haggling and whatnot. I saw a bottle shop and figured that at some point I’d drink in Asia so I wanted to check out the prices. Most hard alcohols that are international were there at about 70% the cost as in Canada or like 40% the cost as it would in Australia. Regardless I found a bottle of Vietnamese Rhum for 25,000 Dong (1.25$) so I grabbed that. On my way home I saw a tailor, and I’ve decided since I got to Australia that Asia would be a good spot to grab a suit at. Essentially I walked in and saw that you could choose the specific material/pattern of the suit, get yourself measured and come back to pick the suit up. Total price, 2-300,000 dong… 10-15$!!!
Unfortunately that shop said it’d take a few weeks so I didn’t get it done, but read my blogs and I’m sure I’ll get one in the next 33 days.
Anyways, hope you guys get to see this blog because I haven’t been able to access Facebook.
As usual, here are some pics that won’t make it to Facebook until February or something. Also my beard is at about 2 weeks so i’m going to have a larger and larger shadow in pics of me until I get back.
Oh an my hotel is awesome. 🙂