Breaking Up With Vietnam

Breaking Up With Vietnam

Dear Vietnam,

It’s not you. It’s me.

Except, I think it might actually be you.

I’m not sure you’re going to care, but I still wanted to take the time to tell you that I don’t think this is going to work. I came to you with an open heart and open mind, but after three weeks, I felt you were only interested in my open wallet.

From the moment I got out of the taxi in Saigon, I was transformed into a walking ATM machine. The constant stream of “You want scooter? You want bracelet? You buy from me? You buy from me??” left me feeling a little beaten down. It’s not so much that you were asking, but that our relationship never got past that point.

I know, I know. We had some really good times: scootering on deserted dirt roads in Phu Quoc; taking a boat through the backwaters of Can Tho; and riding the train along the coast from Hoi An to Hanoi.

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There are moments that I’ll never forget. The night I spent with my friend’s Vietnamese family was one of the highlights of my trip so far.

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We went to her aunt’s cafe in Saigon for Sunday dinner. The restaurant had been closed and cleared of all tables except two metal ones in the center of the room. Several bowls of noodles, meat, and vegetables surrounded a single boiling pot of broth, oil, and chili.

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We sat around the table adding raw ingredients and then withdrawing steaming cooked bites a few minutes later, the fire of spicy peppers cut with Vietnamese beer and iced tea. Thank you so much for that experience.

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I know that you can be beautiful and charming and welcoming when you want to be. Its just that it’s so hard to get through to that side of you.

I admit, I made my own mistakes! Like when I booked that party cruise for Halong Bay that was more concerned with playing Avicii on repeat and having me buy shots than seeing the bay. My bad. That was totally not your fault.vietnam, tourism. scenery, halong bay, party cruise, hanoi vietnam, tourism. scenery, halong bay, party cruise, hanoi

Sometimes it was just me expecting the worst. Like when I ended up on that barely functional local bus with no windows driving through the side streets of the Mekong Delta. And it was the middle of the night and it seemed like we were probably delivering drugs and we’d taken a wrong turn and I thought I was TOTALLY getting kidnapped. I know, overreaction. It all turned out fine. (Except, I’m pretty sure we were delivering drugs…)vietnam, tourism. scenery, halong bay, party cruise, hanoi, mekong delta, can tho, boat, floating market

And there was that guy on the overnight train that wore my shoes to the bathroom and took like twenty pictures of me when he thought I was sleeping. I was certain a kidnapping was imminent. Not my favorite memory — but nothing bad happened. I apologize for jumping to conclusions.

So I can’t really tell you one particular instance that turned me off. It just seemed like you didn’t want me there. You yelled, nearly ran me over, never looked friendly, and constantly asked me to buy things. I always felt barely tolerated, and the smiles that I did get seemed to fade as soon as money exchanged hands. (Dare I say it, but I fear you’re a bit of a gold digger…)

I’m sure you’re not like this with everyone. Maybe I just caught you on an off month? Maybe I did something to upset you at the beginning? I don’t know, but either way this just isn’t going to work.

So, I’m sorry. I’m leaving and I’m not coming back.

I bet you don’t even know I’m gone.

You’re not even going to read this, are you?

 

6 Comments

  1. haha. okay, that was a great perspective on your trip. clever.

    Reply
    • Thanks, mama :-)

      Reply
  2. Very clever writing! Still, sorry it wasn’t the deep and meaningful experience you had hoped for. It wasn’t that bad when I was there, but that was nearly ten years ago now (ulp!), so they’ve probably had more time to adapt to the tourism culture. Sad.

    Reply
    • Haha, thank you! Yeah, it was definitely disappointing, but maybe it was just my own bad luck? I’m sure it’s possible to have an amazing time there! I just didn’t….

      Reply
  3. I will miss reading about your adventures. You certainly had an experience that will not be forgotten. I hope to read about future adventures but in the meantime welcome back to the good ole USA.

    Reply
    • Aw, thank you Deborah! But I’m actually traveling for three months! India, Korea, and possibly Cambodia. Hopefully some good stories will follow :-)

      Reply

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