Getting to know Vietnam

Hi guys,
My last story was about my internship but that's not all I do. During the weekends and the reunification holiday I have time to explore Vietnam. On my first weekend I explored the town together with my co-worker Ha. She guided my through the city and brought me to the first shop of a famous Vietnamese coffee shop brand in HCMC. There I got a green latte ice tea which is normal green tea but then cold. In the beginning I really had to get used to cold tea but actually in this climate it is much better and very relaxing.

Later on I was introduced to a lady whom was 87 and very interesting to talk to. She lived on her own in HCMC while her family lived in Central Vietnam. The intriguing thing was that she decided to come for work to HCMC to not burden her children with her living expenses. I think it is an incredible thing to do at her age. In addition it was a real eye opener for me since it is sometimes difficult to see poverty in the centre of a big city as HCMC. I hope that if you read this and you have the opportunity that you too will sit down and talk with locals. It enriched my world and maybe it can enrich yours.

Besides talking to locals and exploring the local spots of HCMC I of course also want to see the many sights in- and outside the city. One of the first sights that caught my eye were the mangroves at Can Gio which is located between HCMC and the beach. However how do I get there? Even with the tourist branch developing not many Vietnamese are able to speak English and going somewhere without a tour company can be really challenging. Luckily, I got some help with finding the right bus and to my surprise the bus only goes three times a day. However since my arrival I have learned that also for sightseeing it's better to be early and I departed at 7.30 in the morning slightly nervous since it was my first trip out of HCMC.

The bus departed but I forgot to look up where to get out and to my surprise I wasn't able to spot it and before I knew it I ended up in a beach town. Walked around a little bit saw some fishermen, locals drying fish in the sun and a local market. However this is not what I came for and I try to find my way back to Can Gio which I passed while sitting in the bus. This however was a real challenge since they didn't understand a word I said. Luck would have it and in the end I find my way to monkey island in Can Gio.

Monkey island is an island in the middle of the mangroves and as the name already suggests a lot of monkeys can be found here. It was an amazing sight but the monkeys were very daring and I even got one on my head trying to snatch my sunglasses. In the end, I got away without losing anything but it was worth it. Mangroves are very interesting trees since they can grow in brackish, saline environment, that’s also why I have been fascinated with this tree from a very young age. The picture is then also taken in the mangrove forest of Can Gio.

After a few more weekend trips the reunification holiday started. The ideal opportunity to go somewhere. I choose Dalat a beautiful village in the mountains of central Vietnam. One of the best things was the climate which was about 25 degrees. To get their I got in a sleeping bus which was a totally new experience. I lay in the total back together with four Vietnamese, my bed was from head to toe and I had to stay there for don't be shocked 8 hours! In the end I made friends with a Vietnamese couple next to me and had a great time. Then I finally arrived in Dalat where I saw beautiful pagoda's had a fun time at the waterfall and totally relaxed until it was time to get back to HCMC.

In HCMC I was just in time to see the reunification ceremony of the reunification of north and south Vietnam. A beautiful ceremony, with a lot of songs, dancing and performances. My story is again getting to long so I will tell you about my hiking adventures next time.

Write to you soon,