Alright guys, as promised, here is a little bit about Saigon... the first thing I remember thinking was - oh my God, I'm in Saigon - how crazy is that? For some reason, it felt perfectly normal to just hop on a plane to Vietnam when I was in Manila, but once I actually got there it felt pretty crazy. And I remember thinking this is pretty awesome...
I met a German guy on the plane who has been traveling for a long time as well (I run into a lot of people like that... there are a gazillion ways to pull this off folks!!). He was actually working as a missionary in one of the churches in the Philippines - it was volunteer work, but they paid his room and board and took care of all the essentials he needed. He came to Saigon to meet part of their congregation there, and we had a really interesting conversation about the strange paths we went down in life.
In his case, he had been a criminal, a real gangster, back in Berlin. He had seen men die and probably done more drugs than most people could reasonably hope to survive, but somehow he made it out alive and the day two Russians got shot right in front of him, he decided to turn his life around and is now a born again Christian, spreading the Gospel in South East Asia...
The lady at my hotel told me the street we were looking for was at the fook.
"It's at the fook."
Oh, at the park... right.
There's something super bizarre about this country and their language... But the food is awesome.
I stayed in the backpacker part of town in District 1, which meant that there were always lots of prostitutes around, and apparently they speak pretty good English, with one exception - they don't know the meaning of the word "no"...
My hotel room was 14 bucks per night, for a huge room with air con, double bed, private bathroom and a fast internet connection... and the hosts were super friendly as well. Look them up if you ever get a chance, the two hotels I stayed at were Chez Vy Khanh and Thanh Hà... both are cheap and awesome and I absolutely guarantee their owners will make you feel right at home.
This was the first time I went to Saigon in 8 years, and it was kinda weird to see all the backpackers who are doing nothing but... well, nothing but nothing, really. There are so many foreigners in Saigon, and they're almost all backpackers, doing nothing. It's hard to imagine that I had that kind of freedom once - now, of course, I usually bring some work with me when I'm on the road.
I haven't posted here in a while as life's been a bit crazy lately (and I'll let you in on that in my next couple of posts!), but I'll keep this journal updated more regularly from now on. Feel free to reply if you have any comments or questions, or even better, start your own journal - it'll be good for ya!
~ Frank Florida ~