Back to where it all began
It must have been fate. Why else would I have decided to switch to History in my last year of high school? Well I soon found out why! That year was the first year my high school – Kamo High – did an educational trip to another country. A 2 and a half week trip to Vietnam. How fricken cool is that?! After much convincing of my parents that this was THE BEST IDEA EVER! And that OF COURSE I should go on a trip to Vietnam! (Even though I was studying Elizabethan English in class and not the Vietnam war. Details, details…)
So this trip happened 12 years ago when I was a spring chicken at 18, and it unleashed the travel beast within me. I was so lucky to have been able to go, (especially to somewhere so ‘exotic’ like Vietnam!) With help from my parents, from fundraising and working part-time after school and on weekends I got there.
My Photo Diary
Now these photos are proper photos, you know from film that I got developed. So I had to actually scan these from my actual photo album to be able to post them on here! Yeah, old school. So please be gentle about the quality (or lack there of) ok? Thanks!
Good morning Vietnam!
First Stop – Hanoi
This was my favourite city in Vietnam. Maybe because it was the first city I’d been to at all outside of New Zealand. It was SO different. The hustle and bustle, the noise, the merchant streets, I loved it all. I was excited every second of every day. My mind exploded, but in a good way.
I loved the tall skinny houses, the food, the people, the cute wooden jandals (sandals to anyone who’s not a kiwi) and handbags I could buy on the street corners. I still have them to this day!
Then another great adventure – the overnight train to Hue! One of the girls in our group had bright blonde hair so she got stared at quite often, one of the guards even leaned up against our doorway and just stared at her for like 5 minutes. Just a tad strange.
Feelin’ flash in Hoi An
This was another favourite of mine, probably because it was the nicest hotel I’d ever stayed in. I thought I was so flash! Here my friend & room-mate for the trip Ashley and I were able to go exploring by ourselves one afternoon. So there we were walking along and this little boy of about 10 rides up beside us on his bike and asks us if we’ll go visit his shop. Because we’ve just started out we say oh maybe later ok, he says ok and cycles off. He catches up with us sometime later and asks if we’ll go to his shop now, but we’ve decided we’d had enough so no sorry we can’t, “You f#%*n b*#%”s! You lie! You said you’d come to my shop!!” Whoa! Uhh ok sorry buddy, that’s a definite no now.
Not so flash in Nha Trang
Nha Trang was not my fave. It’s described as a beach town, but since we’d just come from the beautiful South China Beach, we didn’t really fancy the city beach there. Also when Ashley and I were heading to our hotel room we saw a rat running down the hall. Good times.
This was probably the most adventurous part of our trip. Out in rural Vietnam, we stayed in a traditional Longhouse. A one room long wooden house with many places for roaches and other bugs to get in. It was so fun and terrifying as we were deathly aware of ‘what if we need to go toilet in the middle of the night…?’ It was a risk we weren’t willing to take. So my mate Ashley and I thought it’d be a good idea to take about 3 Imodium each to make DAMN SURE that didn’t happen!!! Well needless to say, we didn’t go for the next 3 days…
I would never take part in something like this now. Because honestly, it is exploitation of animals. I bet those elephants would rather be doing something else than having humans making them walk all day. But at the time I was just having an internal meltdown at the fact I was so close to an elephant and could give it a pat on the trunk.
Ho Chi Minh
As this trip was so long ago, all I can really remember about Ho Chi Minh slash Saigon is the big malls and our group going nuts over the ridiculously cheap pirated dvds and cds. We went mad, buying stacks of them. Our teacher, Mr Agent, bless him, realised they were all fake, and said to us, “Guys, these are fake, they’re illegal!” We just stared at him, Waiting for him to click that we didn’t give two hoots and to leave us to it.
Another exciting adventure of the trip – staying in hammocks in the Mekong Delta! Now, being one of the only over 18 year olds in the group I could technically drink. Not that I had been, because it was a school trip after all. But on arrival a guy at a makeshift bar had laid out a bunch of shots of this (delicious!) banana liqueur stuff. So yes, I did partake of a couple. What I didn’t realise is that in the heat and not having had a ‘beverage’ for quite sometime, it went straight to my head. Which explains why I don’t have many photos of the rest of the evening. We went firefly catching that night, but it involved me trying not to fall out of the boat into the river to my certain death. Also the snake we had for dinner was a blur.
Firefly catching. Tasting snake. Oh wait, those are photos I would have had if that banana liqueur hadn’t snuck up on me!
So that was my very first, totally amazing adventure! I caught the travel bug and I never found a cure. I would love to go back to Vietnam, especially for a longer trip. What a walk down memory lane that would be. I’m sure I’ll be back!