Vietnam – a bucket list must!
From the moment one lands in Vietnam, one is bombarded with new sensations. The warm and almost heavy air, the huge and sincere smiles of welcome, the quiet comfort of a chauffeured car amidst the overwhelming sense of chaos, the noise of motorcycles amidst a kaleidoscope of frantic activity. One’s mind reels at this world in motion. Being met at the hotel by an athletic doorman is a welcome surprise, as is a welcome drink that tastes of fresh fruit and is served ice cold. Really?
And here I was, terrified that I was a victim of a scam. Could I really have all of this for that price? Vietnamtour.co.za proves that one can. It was my first trip to Vietnam, I was traveling on my own to an unknown destination, I could not speak the language, I did not know a soul, it is a euphemism even to call me a computer non–wizard, and I somehow found a way to book online. I was behaving entirely out of character! Leave my farm and family on a personal adventure completely un-work-related? This couldn’t possibly be me! I was in the midst of discovering that when an important time to break free arises, you have no choice. I didn’t realize one thing – This time, fate had decided that my big choice didn’t even need any more bravery from me!
My sense of wonder grew as I checked into a spotless room with a wrought iron balcony, bath, shower, and fluffy towels. Immediately, I received a call to say that Kelly from Hello Vietnam (now Vietnamtour.co.za) was downstairs, not only to meet me but also to take me out to dinner to taste street food. Crossing the road was a daunting, noisy experience as motorbikes weave around one another with no apparent law. Sitting on a small plastic chair at 64 is a test of one's knees. The intention of standing up with elegance turns into a clumsy affair. Fourteen days later, my knees and joints didn’t give me a single thought. Walking and swimming in a warm, blue sea. Did I mention the shopping, the markets, the shoes? Or wait a minute, the food or the flowers or the incredibly friendly and happy people that makeup Vietnam? The temples and the superstitions? The pride in everyday life, no matter how simple or even menial? The family structure? The colors and the thunderous rain? The coffee?
At the end of my first trip booked for fourteen days and extended to a month (nothing to do with a Shirley Valentine experience), I met with Kelly again. I hadn’t met with one South African on my trip and I felt it necessary to explain to her that as South Africans with our Rand, this was Nirvana. And so I became the representative for Vietnamtour.co.za. This year will be my fourth trip to the place that I now consider home. This year, my family and three-year-old grandson will join me so that I can share with them the joy that is Vietnam. Naturally, Vietnamtour.co.za will make all of the arrangements for us.
Call me for the details. Later in the year get an update on my trip which this year will also include an adventure to Myanmar. Looking forward to hearing from you!