Being Sick While Traveling Sucks!
It never fails. Every time I travel overseas I seem to get a cold. And there's nothing I enjoy less than walking down the steamy hot, busy, exhaust-filled roads of Vietnam with a sore throat and cough. It just sucks, there's no other way to put it. I was doing okay up until yesterday morning when the sore throat kicked in. And today I woke up and could hardly speak. So it's time to take a break, get some rest, and fill this old body up with nutrients.
As much as I hated it, we had to cancel our tour of the Mekong Delta this morning. It was going to be a full day affair with 2 hours of travel each way. Looking on the bright side, I'm REALLY glad we did the Củ Chi tunnels yesterday so I didn't miss out on that. If I had to pick between the two, I would've picked Củ Chi tunnels.
Anyways, I picked up some medicine last night for my throat. I asked for cough syrup thinking I would get that syrupy, mostly alcohol, potion that we get in the states. But no, they gave me some kind of natural ivy leaf extract. So much for a quick fix LOL. Hopefully between that and the Ricola drops I'll be better soon.
What to Do the Rest of the Day?
We contacted the tour company to see if we could exchange our Mekong tour with something else. They offered us the Ho Chi Minh Nightlife Tour. Sounds fun! It includes a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show which is an art form closely connected with the long standing spiritual life of Vietnamese people. After that we would set out for a dinner cruise on a traditional style boat to see the city from a different perspective, with panoramic views of Ho Chi Minh City.
Great, we have plans for tonight! Now to grab some lunch...
An Afternoon with New Friends
For lunch we decided to try out a vegetarian restaurant close to our hotel. Afterwards we thought we might stop by the Independence Palace, which is probably one of the most iconic landmarks in Ho Chi Minh City. This was the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. That was until 1975 when the North drove a tank through the gates of the palace, ending the war.
We arrived at the restaurant and ordered up some appetizers (lotus root salad & fried spring rolls)...
And for our main courses we had veggie fried noodles and shiitake mushroom noodles...
After lunch we headed off in the direction of the Independence Palace. It was raining a little bit which was nice because it's been extremely hot here during the day. We took a shortcut through a park to get to the road where the Palace was located, but we were stopped by four young Vietnamese girls who were asking for our help.
Kristen and I looked at each other with that look of "should we stop and hear them out.. or just keep going?" I decided to at least find out what they were after. It turned out that they were simply wanting to spend some time with us to practice their English. They left their homes in the middle of Vietnam to come to Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon as many of the locals still call it) to spend three years honing their English skills.
We decided to bring them along with us to the Independence Palace which ended up being good for them, but even better for us. I learned how to say popcorn in Vietnamese (bắp rang bơ) and also got to learn more about the history of Vietnam and the war between the North and the South. Oh.. and they got a free yoga lesson from @k10yoga.
Ho Chi Minh City Nightlife
You know you're 35 when nightlife is watching water puppets and going on a dinner cruise. But seriously, what better way to experience Vietnam than watching a more than 200 year old tradition? And how about getting there in style on a Cyclos?..
Okay, so maybe it wasn't the funnest thing during rush hour traffic LOL...
But we made it there safe. Time to check out this water puppet show, which actually turned out to be pretty cool.
The puppeteers came out after the show to take a bow. They really did an awesome job and made us wonder at some parts in the show how in the world they did it. Our tour guide later explained some of the intricacies of operating the water puppets but even he didn't have all the answers.
Now it was time to board our boat for our dinner cruise down the Saigon River. This was an 8-course meal but we only made it through the first... maybe.. three courses. It was just way too much food for us.
After dinner we took some pics from the top of the boat which gave us an awesome view of the city skyline.
And that was out last night in Vietnam. Although today started off with cancelling our original plans, we made new ones that turned out to be perfect. Traveling (and life) just have their way or working themselves out like that. Now it's time to get some rest and pack up for our flight to Cambodia tomorrow. This will be our third country in just our first week!
Cambodia should be a MUCH slower pace than Vietnam. And I think we're both very much looking forward to that. Can't wait to catch up with you all from there. Until then, have a great day!!!
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