Fresh off the plane: Vietnam (video!)

Click here for my first impressions video from last night.

As I write this, I can hear “Last Christmas” by Wham echoing from somewhere below.  Not sure if I’m more appalled by the Christmas music in mid-November (I’m not ready!) or by the tired, 80’s music coursing through my Vietnamese hostel.

Bad news first: I forgot the purse & shoes at Rob’s. Guess I just had too much stuff with me. So the experiment’s off. I already messaged Rob and told him to cast them down the rubbish shoot!

On the plane, I’d worked myself into a paranoid tizzy and stashed what little jewelry I wear. I was imagining deplaning into a swarm of grabby, pushy, pick-pockety zombies! The airport was rather deserted by the time I got my visa sorted, even though it was only around 6pm.

Just as I exited the baggage area, there were a row of counters for taxis and whatnot with people beckoning me to walk over to them. Soon as I spotted the “Vinasun” (in the email below) counter I just walked straight over there.

Long Hostel. My hostel’s a family-run place I found on Trip Advisor. As soon as I booked, they emailed me these great instructions to get from the airport.

In my video, that was the cab driver calling them to come outside to get me. Soon as I walked in, they brought me iced tea and 3 small bananas, which I put away. (My belly, not my bag.)

First impressions: This moped thing is real. Just like in the video from my last post, they’re all over and appear to have an superhuman sense of spatial relationships. They come closer to one another on mopeds than American-type people do on foot! I’ve seen up to 4 people on one, but… I just got here; I’m sure I’ll see some good stuff later on. I’ve seen dozens of small children being driven on them. The toddlers-and-younger are put in the front, while the other children hold on to the back.

A Tale of Two Hostels For some reason, they had to put me at the original Long Hostel for a night, then I can move to the actual Long Hostel for the rest of the week. The son-in-law drove me to where I was staying – that’s when I shot the last part of my video.

Here I am in the entryway / lobby / where Mr. Long sleeps. He told me Mrs. Long sleeps on the 3rd floor and he sleeps on that tiny bench in there! I said he could get a watchdog for the lobby and join Mrs. Long upstairs. He found this uproariously funny for some reason and just said, “No, no…”

I put my stuff away and said I was going out for food. Mr. Long said he’d join me, which suited me just fine. Here we are at some place we stopped before actually going to eat.

Mr Long said he’s lived in the neighborhood for 35 years. Not long after this picture was taken, I started to wonder if sweet ol’ Mr. Long just genuinely loves travelers a lot, or if he has an old-man crush on me. I’ll assume it’s the first one.

We ate here at “Asian Kitchen”. The menus were these thick notebooks of color photos of all the food. We got the spring rolls (78) and the fresh noodle and stirfried meat (007). And it was just as good as it looks here.

Both plates plus iced teas totaled $4. And check out the chalkboard above listing the drinks. 50,000 VND = $2.50. I think I just went from the most expensive drinks in the world to the cheapest. ($2 daiquiris, mojitos and pina coladas?! Oh, and that beer up there is 50¢.)

Good Morning! (Don’t worry. I’ll skip the obvious.) Here we all are at breakfast time. I had some powdered coffee-type thing (which wasn’t bad) and a baguette I put peanut butter & jam on. And here’s Mr. and Mrs. Long!

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