2 Days in Hue, 4 Days in Hanoi

Oct 10, 2017

I think I’ve just accepted the fact that I’m going to eat scrambled eggs every morning from now on. I mean, it’s the best option between that, pancakes & fruit. Despite that, I’m very excited for my morning tea–black with sugar/honey & milk. We woke up in Hanoi with the intent of finally going south, to Hue. I think we’ve stayed a little too long in the north (10 days), so I was very excited to take a sleeper bus that night, I’ve slept quite well in them so far.

After we checked out, Mike, Hannah, Charlie, Liv, Josh and I wanted to do a little “admin” (British word for chores) like get Charlie’s phone screen fixed, withdraw money, get some coffee and shop a bit. We ended up at this cool coffee shop where I got sencha milk tea (milk tea is my fav & I’m so glad they have it everywhere here in Asia, I mean I guess they should since it’s an Asian thing). After coffee/tea, Liv & I split up with the rest so we could withdraw money and shop a little. It was overcast and a smidge misty, but hadn’t started raining at this point. We walked to this clothes shop where Liv and I had went a few days before Cat Ba. She really wanted to buy these pants and I just enjoy shopping so I tagged along.

I didn’t end up buying anything at that shop, Liv was able to get her pants, but I did find these capris with this unique print I hadn’t seen before at another shop. At this point the rain started to come down a little harder, so we went to go find food to hopefully let the storm pass. We settled at this little restaurant where I ordered fried tofu (yessss, seriously one of my favorite dishes and the first time I’ve seen it on the menu) and rice. We were hoping during that time that the storm would either die down or stop…well it didn’t. We didn’t just wanna sit there and do nothing, we also didn’t want to bother buying a plastic poncho (because I’m trying to reduce my consumption of plastic here, even though it’s really hard since we can’t drink the tap water and they give everything in plastic bags). 

At this point it was pouring, like raining buckets, but Liv and I just decided to run through it all. It was actually quite fun and like a game. Most of the streets were flooded with puddles, and most shops had awnings to protect them from the rain. We got pelted from these awnings with even heavier water because the shops were obviously protecting the things that were outside, and the only place that we could walk was where the water would drip down because the streets were so narrow. So we had a really fun time getting extremely wet. We picked up some sleeping pills from the pharmacy for the night bus ride and headed back to the hostel.

Once back, we were absolutely soaked. I sat in front of the fan so I could dry off while I blogged and chilled. The bus would pick us up at 6pm, so I had a few hours to work on my blog (but like I said this shit takes a really long time to write, so I need to dedicate a good amount of time to it). Sam & Ida were already at the hostel, and later on the others slowly trickled in. They were smart enough to wait until the storm died down more before they made their way back. I got some snacks and a banh mi for the bus ride ahead. There wasn’t enough time for me to eat it before we got picked up so I put it in my backpack for later.

The shuttle for the bus picked us up and dropped us off at this little office where the big bus would come in like 45 minutes. It was pissing down rain at this point and all of us had ALL of our shit. We couldn’t just sit outside the small little booking office, so some of us sat in there, some in the cafe next door, and others under the awning on the other side of the office. We were waiting for such a long time in the rain with all of our stuff, it was pretty miserable. Nevertheless, the bus finally came and we were able to get on the bus quickly.

The bus was just like the one we took to Sapa, with reclining seat/beds on the top and bottom. I got a top one just because I think it’s cool. The first thing I did was eat my banh mi while it was still semi-hot. I then tried to finish my blog, which was a really bad idea. I normally don’t get car sick, but after an hour of working on my blog I started to get a headache and feel sick. I think my concentration of the blog, mixed with the awful driving of the bus driver (which made me sway from side-to-side almost constantly), and the fact that I was on the top made my stomach turn. I mean, I guess it didn’t help that had just eaten as well.

Everyone was going to pop their Valiums (sleeping pills) and I wanted to make sure I used the restroom before I did mine so I wouldn’t have to go later. Once I got down from my bunk, the swaying of the bus made me feel even worse. Once I got into the bathroom I immediately puked into the toilet, which is weird from me because I almost always puke from alcohol, never for actually feeling sick. But, after that I felt A LOT better. I popped 2 valiums, blew up my neck pillow, put on some music and started to relax. Just as the valiums started kicking in, we stopped for like 20 minutes at a place we could eat or use the restroom. I was so vallied out at that point and did some nonsensical roaming/blabbering. I think I got some siopao (Filipino term) or bao (Chinese term for steam bun) and picked out the egg. We boarded the bus and I immediately went to sleep. 

Oct 11, 2017

I definitely had a very pleasant sleep. I woke up so refreshed and full of energy. We arrived in Hue around 8-9ish. We didn’t book anywhere and were kind of nervous that we hadn’t found a place. It’s also very intimidating to find transportation when all of the taxi drivers wait outside telling you to come with them and not letting you breath. But, there was a girl holding a red buffalo sign up, the symbol of the Vietnam Backpacker’s hostel, the chain of hostel that we just came from in Hanoi. I immediately asked her if they had room for 8 people because we didn’t book anywhere else. I think she made a call and came back and said yes, they definitely had room. This made everything a lot easier since 1) we could go with them without having to hassle/haggle with aggressive taxi drivers 2) not having to find a cafe that had internet so we could find a place to book 3) we could go to a hostel we were already familiar with and knew was good.

I FaceTimed my dad while others took showers because it’s HIS BIRTHDAY! HAPPY 28TH BIRTHDAY DAD! After killing some time, we were finally able to check in and move all our bags in. We were all able to get in a room together, which is always nice because it’s just easier to do things. Then Charlie, Hannah and I went shopping because we like clothes. They really cute matching rompers while I got this off the shoulder dress (finally a dress I get to add to my wardrobe). It was a little too long but the lady was very nice and immediately told me she could hem it in 3 minutes. So after that we were all hungry. There were a lot of expensive Western food places on our street, but we were all craving Vietnamese food. Luckily, we found this Vietnamese restaurant that served affordable food. I forget what I ordered but I remember that it was delishhhh.

The rest of the day consisted of roaming around and shopping. We wanted to go on a motorbike tour but not enough of us were confident in driving motorbikes–I’m definitely not confident, I’ve heard of too many horror stories of people crashing, seem too many people with crutches and bandages, cuts, bruises and scars, to be bothered to learn to drive a motorbike. But, Liv, Josh and Sam were the only ones that could possibly drive with others on the back. So they rented motorbikes to practice and see the rest of town.

Hannah, Charlie, Ida, Mike and I tried to find a good shopping area for clothes, so I asked the front desk where there the best place for a clothes market would be. They circled some place on the map that said “market” so that’s where we decided to go. On the way to this market, we found a cool hang out spot where teenagers probably go on their time off. It had a blowing alley, movie theater (cinema in British terms), arcade and boba! When we finally got to the market, we noticed that we were the only Westerners there. While, that’s not always a bad thing, we did get a LOT of stares. I think they judge me even more because I’m Asian with a whole bunch of white people and don’t speak a lick of any Asian language and have an American accent. It must be weird for them to see someone who looks like them but speaks like white people they’re used to seeing in movies and shows.

Side note: It is very interesting being Asian American in Asia. First off, if I’m by myself, I obviously look Western so I immediately say hi so they know that I speak English. Sometimes I get spoken to in either Vietnamese, Chinese, or Korean (mostly here in Vietnam since it’s more East Asian than Laos and Thailand). Also, every local that can speak English asks me where I’m from. I’ve learned that they means they’re asking basically my ethnicity. At first I used to say San Francisco or California but many gave me weird faces or inquired more of like “..but what are you” haha. So, I guess I would say I’m a weird hybrid for the people living here. I don’t get the stares like “oh you’re a white person” but more like “oh, you look like me but don’t sound like me” type of action. I also get complimented on my skin color a lot. Even though I’m no where as light skinned as I am back home (I’m pretty tan right now), I’ve gotten a few acknowledgements on how nice my skin color is. Light skin is considered very beautiful out here. They have whitening in almost all of their beauty products and when they do wear makeup it’s usually white powder and red lips. Just an interesting observation I’ve made out here.

Anyways, the market was way too local for our comfort, so we walked back. But on our way we stopped at a few shops so that Charlie, Hannah, Ida and I could go shopping. I got this REALLY REALLY cute romper, it had sharks all over it and I have a thing for rompers so all of that combined made me extremely happy. We met up with Sam, Josh, and Liv then headed over to one of the expensive Western restaurants for a snack. We knew we’d be eating street food later on in the night so we just wanted something to tie us over.

We’d booked this dragon boat tour for the night. The ladies at the front desk made it sound like you go up and down the Perfume River where you could sight see and they’d have traditional music on the boat for entertainment, then they’d drop you off at the street food area. Well, it ended up being this dragon boat that took you out to the middle of the river where you were stationary. Then they sang to you in Vietnamese with traditional music and dance, but everything, even the story telling was in Vietnamese so we didn’t even know what was going on/what the story was about the whole time. Everyone on this boat as well were Vietnamese so, it obviously wasn’t a tourist thing. It was cool to see, but also something we could have skipped and not spent money on. But we got to put some lanterns in the water, and even though they dropped us off at the place that we got on we were able to walk to the night market.

The first stall we saw served Bun Bo Hue, a dish that I’m really familiar with from home and I know the area is known for (duh, Hue). Me, Liv and Sam got it because the other had eaten at the Western place before we left for the boat thing. It was freaking delicious and I’m really glad I was able to eat it authentically. I also had this good dessert drink that reminded me of Halo Halo, it had crushed ice along with beans, jelly, pudding and crunchy granola on the top. After that we walked back to the hostel. We had another night of drinking where I spent way too much money on alcohol, again. But, I got drunk which was nice because it does take a lot of alcohol for that to happen.

Oct 12, 2017

Most of us woke up hungover, I just had a bad tummy ache, but I ate scrambled eggs anyways. It was raining in the morning, so we said no to the motorbike tour and instead decided to do the village tour, where locals take you on the back of their bikes to 5 different sites. It was a more sensible choice since most of us weren’t comfortable riding bikes and it was raining which made it worse.. Well, it ended up only raining in the morning and for like 5 minutes at a site but other than that, that was it. I was actually glad we rode on the back of motorbikes since I didn’t have to worry at all, the locals were perfect drivers. Two lads, Max and Toby also from the UK, joined us for the tour as well.

The first place we stopped at was the Imperial City. No one wanted to pay the fee to get in the actual city, it was a little pricey and we couldn’t even take pictures inside so we just walked around the fortress/moat. The second place we stopped was a pagoda, some cool temple looking thing, where it ended up flash raining for like 5 minutes. The next stop was a place where they make incense. The different colors symbolized different smells. Green was sandalwood, red/purple was cinnamon (when burned it helps deter mosquitos), and yellow is lemongrass. It’s made from bamboo and some type of paste (I forget what the paste was called), then rolled to make it cylindrical and straight.

After that we had lunch at a local restaurant. I had crispy noodles with veggies and it was absolutely delish!! Our next stop was an old American bunker from the Vietnam war. Hue was basically in the middle between the North and the South. Our guide let us know that thousands of people died in that area, it was actually really sad and the first time I heard something about the war from a local. 

The next stop was my absolute favorite place: abandoned water park. I have a thing with abandoned places, urban decay really intrigues me and I just couldn’t get enough of this place. I guess was abandoned in 2002 after a typhoon totally recked it and it wasn’t making enough money anyways. Basically, it wasn’t worth putting in the money to redo it since there wasn’t a lot of money coming in. All the buildings were cleared out of whatever used to be there, but in its place was broken glass, graffiti, and rubble. It was freaking awesome. The main building was a dragon where I guess it used to house an aquarium and probably a restaurant. There was an abandoned water auditorium that we weren’t able to see. There was an abandoned water slide area with a wave pool and kiddie arena. It was by far the coolest thing so far.

The last thing we went to see the imperial tomb of one of the last emperors of Vietnam. This emperor was the same one who popularized tiger vs elephant fighting (there was an arena we would have been able to see if we took the other tour where they actually fought). The interesting fact about these fights was that the elephant was a sacred animal in the Buddhist religion, so they often rigged these fights by declawing & drugging the tigers with opium before the fights so the elephants would win. The fighting was finally banned in 1904, in the 20th century, which is really hard to wrap my head around, but it’s definitely cool to learn. The tomb was pretty cool and intricate. Only Sam and I went into the actual tomb because the others didn’t want to spend money going in. I thought I might as well since I missed out on the Imperal City and I’m there to sight see so why not.

We got dropped off back at the hostel where I gave my driver a nice tip. I’m such a softie when it comes to giving good tips and helping people out. Especially because I know they don’t make a lot and it would really help their family if I gave a little more. I’M SUCH AN EMPATHETIC PERSON AND SOMETIMES I HATE IT. I gave the biggest tip out of everyone in our group, which everyone told me they made them look bad lol. 

I was so lazy to go out to eat so I got a pizza at the hostel where we played another pub quiz, we split into 2 groups so it would be more fun. This time we got our results back and we actually both tied so no one really won (in our group). Liv and I went to get Baskin Robbins because we were craving some good ice cream. I tried to go out that night but I couldn’t justify spending anymore money on alcohol so I went in for an early night.

Oct 13, 2017

Friday the 13th, DUN DUN DUN. We booked to go over the Hi Van pass today–Mike, Sam, Ida, Charlie, Hannah, and I spent more to hire a jeep to take us Hoi An from Hue. Liv and Josh decided to motorbike to Hoi An instead, so we would meet them at the Vietnam Backpackers Hostel there. Our driver picked us up at 10am, and he told us we would make it to Hoi An around 5pm. There were 3 jeeps that could take 3 people each, so Charlie, Hannah and I shared one while Sam, Mike and Ida were in the other (and some others from the hostel also did the tour that day). The tour guide introduced him as Music Man (I really thought his name was music but apparently he was making a reference to some UK nursery rhyme).

The jeep was a nice open jeep, almost vintage looking like the ones you use in safaris or what they used during the war. Our first stop was a coffee shop where I had a nice chat with “music” and had amazing drip Vietnamese coffee. Apparently, after the war his parents were very poor and had to drop out of primary school to work. But they saved enough money to send him to university where he learned English and Chinese. He was then able to get a good job in tourism that helped him pay for the rest of his education. He’s the now the breadwinner in the family, taking care of his parents, He’s also in charge of putting his younger sister through university when she gets older since his parents used all of their money to send him to college. It’s just really refreshing to have conversations with locals to remind yourself how great you really do have it in Western countries.

The ride in the jeep was so relaxing and enjoyable. Instead of having to worry about driving, directions, other drivers, and the weather, we could just enjoy ourselves and the beautiful surroundings. I mean it is rainy season here, so it’s not always sunny, but I quite like the overcast. It’s not as hot and I don’t have to worry about putting sunscreen on. Charlie, Hannah and I could also chat and have really good conversation. We drove through villages, by the coast, and finally stopping at a stretch of beach. This beach was amazing because we were basically the only people there. It was a beach hut, with tire swings, cute lights, little platforms we could sit on, and my favorite, beach dogs.

We swam and looked for crabs while they cooked us lunch. I got a tofu dish that was pretty interesting. After about an hour there we headed off again. This time we stopped at a bridge to get more pictures, then went over the Hi Van Pass. This curvy road gave amazing views of the Vietnam coast. At the very top we stopped at an old structure, used by the emperor for something that I forgot haha. But we took some more nice pictures (our tour guide was very adamant about taking our pictures everywhere we went & instructing our poses and shit LOL). After a nice photoshoot we were off again. Charlie and Hannah got pretty tired once we got to Da Nang and started nodding off.

The drivers dropped us off at our hostel, another Vietnam Backpackers Hostel. This one was SUPER nice though, like an actual hotel (it was just built earlier this year). The only downside was that it was far from the center of town. After checking in I got a margarita pizza from downstairs, I guess I just can’t help myself. We also got into the pool and played some pool volleyball. Since this was our 3rd Vietnam Backpacker’s Hostel, we knew that their drinks were expensive and they wouldn’t allow us to bring alcohol in our rooms. So, we snuck it into the room that Josh, Charlie, Hannah, Mike, Sam, and I shared (a room all to ourselves). Ida and I split a bottle of vodka that tasted like legit rubbing alcohol (or nail polish remover or moonshine, whatever you wanna call it). I realized after this night that I just can’t drink vodka, it doesn’t work on me as much as tequilla or darker alcohol does. We did a lot of pregaming (predrinking in British terms) and waited until 11-11:30 when everyone would be going out to the actual town.

A lot of us were drunk as fuck at this point, unfortunately I puked everything out before I left. Not because I was drunk as fuck but because the alcohol was that disgusting it wasn’t agreeing with my stomach. So, I was pretty damn sober by the time we left for the night out.  We had to take a taxi in town, that’s how far it was from the center. A lot of drama went down that night, the most our group has ever really dealt with, but I honestly think it was because everyone was drunk and not really thinking rationally. But whatever, I didn’t really have a good night but I fell asleep fine so it was all good.

Oct 14, 2017

The cool thing about this hostel is that it has a buffet for breakfast. All the scrambled/fried eggs, pancakes, pineapple/watermelon, baguettes your heart desires. Woo (*says sarcastically). I had extremely runny eggs because it was the last of the scrambled eggs, yum. Most everyone woke up hung over, Liv didn’t even make it to breakfast haha. So we had a really slow day. We basically chilled in our little lounge on the bean bags for majority of the day. I FaceTimed mommy, I miss her to pieces!!! Liv and Sam went for a walk and we told that we’d meet them later.

Around 2-3ish we finally decided to find Sam & Liv and get some food. We settled on this small restaurant that only served Cau Lao & Mi Quang, both noodle dishes. I’m not sure what the difference between them are, I just know they have noodles, meat, and veggies. After we made our way to the beach. It was super windy that day and by the time we got there it was way too windy to swim (not like we were going to anyways). But, it was so windy that the loose sand would hit our skin and feel like little needles. We didn’t spend that much time there, just enough to say “we went to the beach”.

After making our way back to the hostel, I got in the pool with the homies. We made plans later to have a girls night and a boys night. The boys or “lads” (LMAO) wanted to go to the Irish bar to watch a soccer match, “footie game” and the girls wanted to have a lil dinner night. We walked to the river where there was a cute restaurant right on the bank. There was no one else there except us, and it was such a good idea. I got some chicken with lemongrass and chili and it was delish. 

Once back at the hostel we decided to have a movie night on our floor. The rep downstairs was nice enough to turn on a movie for us even though it was late (I guess they don’t turn on movies at night because of noise and there’s no one to turn it off?). We picked Lion and it was actually a really good film. I’m surprised I hadn’t seen it before and cried at the end haha. It was a really low key day since most people were hungover and it’s nice to have a relaxing day every once in a while, especially after a travel day.

Oct 15, 2017

After some really runny scrambled eggs, we’d planned to go on the Bicycle Tour of Ancient town. But we learned that it didn’t actually give us admission into all of the attractions in Old Town, so we decided to do it ourselves. We rented bicycles (not motorbikes because we’re not comfortable with alla that), I was pretty nervous since I haven’t rode a bike in so long. But after some practice (even on no so good bikes) I got the hang of it. It’s actually not easy biking around town even if it is not as busy as Hanoi or Hue. The motorbike culture here is crazy. People drive on the wrong side of the street, you have to dodge motorbikes in intersections, you basically just have to dodge motorbikes constantly because people here literally give no fucks. But that’s just the culture of their driving, and they’re all used to it so you have no choice but to deal with it.

We went on a mission to find ATMs that would give us more than 2-3 mil ($90-$140), but I was just forced to withdraw since I had basically no money left. At Old Town we bought a ticket that would let us visit 5 different historical sites. So we went to a few old houses and assembly halls. We only went to 3 since the other 2 we wanted to go to were closed. Old Town was a cool place to visit. Lanterns hung everywhere: across the streets, in front and inside stores, and in temples and homes. We also learned that during the rainy season, Old Town almost always floods because it’s right by the river. Some of the houses are made from really quality wood, that’s why it’s been able to survive floods and keep the house cool/dry during hot and humid days.

For lunch we ate at a food stall in the central market in Old Town. Josh and I split white rose (dumplings) and stir fried Mi Quang, two dishes famous in the area. It was SOOO good and we were really satisfied with our purchases. By this point we were over seeing historical sties (plus like I said the good ones were closed) so Liv and Hannah left to get an outfit tailored (something recommended to do in Hoi An) while the rest of us roamed around Old Town. We got some iced tea, shopped a little, and just tried to enjoy our surroundings. 

Finally we were ready to go back but the boys had brought their bikes to the area we were in and the girls left them over by the Japanese bridge. I really wanted a lift back so I stood on the pegs of Sam’s bikes as we rid through the streets. It was really funny because he didn’t have a bell on his bike and the streets were packed with people. It was a little hard for him to balance on the bike with me on the back so he couldn’t make sudden stops/turns. So my job was to let people know we were coming by yelling really loudly “MEEP MEEP” (like the cars and motorbikes out here) and it was actually so funny. The reactions of some people were either frightened, they laughed, or quickly got out of the way. Basically, my meeping worked and we got to my bike in one piece.

On our way back I decided to go off on my own to find the bank I passed on our way there. When I went to withdraw money from the ATM it said the maximum limit had been reached (the ATMs here run out of money usually around 4-5pm). So, I just said fuck it and went back to the hostel. On the way there, I was just on the side of the road, cycling minding my own business, when all of a sudden a motorbike almost ran into me from the left side. I had to do some impressive maneuvering in order for me not to get smashed by this incoming motorbike. Luckily the sidewalks here are curved so I was ran onto the sidewalk and ran into a planter that had a tree in it (probably the best scenario when I come to think about it, the bike was fine and I kinda hopped off before I could hurt myself). I turned around and said “what the fuck” because at first I thought these guys were just fucking around on bikes trying to mess with each other while they drove. But I realized that the guy that almost ran into me was in as much shock as I was. I realized that the guys that almost ran into him (or so I thought) were two guys on a motorbike with one guy on the back holding a bamboo stick. They were either trying to fish the guy who almost ran into me’s bag since he had a lot of luggage on him or get my bag from the basket in front of me and the other guy just got in the way by accident. I also realized it was a serious situation (not 2 guys just fucking around on bikes) when a few others motorbikes who were behind me stopped with concerned faces. A guy came out of the gate where I’d crashed my bike (after probably hearing me scream and yell at dude haha, typical me) and spoke to the people who stopped on their motorbikes. They weren’t concerned about me, they were more concerned about the people who got away, gesturing and pointing in the direction he went. Shaken but unscathed, I got back on my bike and peddled away, holding the strap of my purse in my hand. That situation could have been really bad, but I was very lucky and walked away not hurt and not robbed.

I got back to the hostel in one piece. We all chilled until we were ready to go out again for dinner. A rep (Western employee who works at hostels to help other Westerners) suggested this apparently really good restaurant that we had to go to. I love suggestions so I said sure, it was in the vicinity of the night market anyways so we thought we’d try it out. Everyone wanted to drink that night so we all bought alcohol next door. Liv and I split a bottle of rum, because like I said I can’t do that nasty moonshine anymore. I brought it up to her room and put it on the floor to go grab another small water bottle we could pour it in. When I came back I forgot to tell her it was on the floor and she accidentally knocked it over and it smashed everywhere. Sad but I reluctantly went downstairs to get more alcohol. It was cheap so I didn’t feel that bad buying another bottle. The lady was really nice as well and gave me 10,000 when I explained to her it smashed.

We put our alcohol in a little water bottle and in my purse so we could drink it by the river back in Old Town. Once we got to the restaurant we realized it was really expensive and definitely not in our budget (these reps must be delusional, we’re not at a resort, we’re on a freaking backpacking budget) so some of us went to the restaurant next door that was way more in our budget. I got delish eggplant (obergine in British terms) that was pretty fucking good. The rest of night we just drank by the river (‘we’ includes all 8 of us and Toby & Max), talking enjoying each other’s company and eventually making our way to a bar. Hannah and I got free balloons from some random dudes sitting on the side of the river, which was really nice of them but we dipped immediately after we finished haha. Everyone else went back except me, Liv, Sam, Ida, Toby and Max, but I mostly hung out with Liv and Sam and we actually ended up having a fun, successful evening.

Oct 16, 2017

I didn’t want to get up this morning. I was pretty hungover, and we’d gotten back really late. I also had a great convo with someone in the bathroom for a long while and didn’t end up sleeping until 3am. But, I dragged my ass outta bed to eat soggy scrambled eggs, yay. Everyone was pretty hungover and we asked them if we could watch a movie in our little lounge. They put on the Jungle Book (live version) and I tried to pay attention. For the most part I watched the whole movie, but then I immediately went back into the room and took a good hour nap. I needed that nap badly, but felt refreshed after it.

Liv, Sam and I decided to rent bikes to find an ATM. I did my research and found where the best ATM was (one where I could withdraw a good amount of money) and we found one where you could withdraw out 8 mill with no ATM fee (UNHEARD OF). After withdrawing a good amount of cash, Liv and I spotted a “silk” shop. One of my goals out here was to get a nice silk robe and she wanted a nice nightgown. We both found what we were looking for and very happy with our purchases. We realized that the tailor shop where Hannah was getting her suit fitted was right down the street and that she’d probably be there with Charlie and low and behold, they were there with Ida as well!

The girls wanted to shop (minus Liv because she went shopping the day before) so we stopped at some cute stores on the way back to the hostel. I ended up getting a cute romper and two halter tops. It was a really successful shopping day (but the question now is how to close my backpack…). For dinner, Liv’s friend who lives in Vietnam suggested this restaurant that served the best Com Ga or chicken with rice. We all took a cab to Old Town to hopefully try this place. When we got there, it was closed :(. I realized that it was Monday, a day I’ve noticed most businesses shut. It’s also like that at home, most Vietnamese/Thai places are closed on Monday’s, but it’s just so hard to pay attention to the days of the week when we’re out here.

We opted for the restaurant literally right next door that served the same thing. Josh and I split another white rose while most of us got Com Ga as our main meal. It was really good and I’m glad we got it. Some of us wanted to go out for a drink while others wanted to go back and hopefully watch a movie. When we got back to the hostel and asked the front desk if we could watch a movie, a different manager was there to tell us no. I was not happy because literally 2 nights before that we were able to have a great movie night. His excuse was no one would be there to turn it off, but the manager the night before said the TV would turn off by itself so it didn’t make much sense…ugh jerk. So most of us just chilled on the bean bags and chatted a little. Me and Liv were the last ones there and we had a nice, deep convo about life.

Now, the next day in my sequence of days (the 17th of Oct) was actually published before this post. I was told that if I wrote a blog post about the hostel and included a link I would get one night free. Since I’ve been procrastinating and delaying writing my blog post I tried to bang out 7 days in 4 hours, that didn’t happen since one day seems to take me an hour to write, so I wrote as much as I could until 12am when I realized I wouldn’t finish everything before the next day. So instead I just wrote/published that one day so I could show them the next morning and get my money back when I checked out.

I’m going to really try to start getting my blog posts out in a more timely manner because this delaying then dedicating like 5+ hours to writing isn’t cutting it. I’ll get better, I promise, this is my obligation (like homework) and I’ll just have to manage my time better. People ask me why I write such extensive blogs, but I really like getting all of my thoughts and all the details out in one place. If anything, this is more for me than anyone else. Sorta like a little outlet where I can really reflect on the things I’ve done, memories I’ve made, and experiences I’ve been blessed to have had. Most importantly, it keeps me humble, and reminds me how blessed I am to be on this journey because not everyone can do this, but it’s nice to know that I’ve done it completely and utterly on my own. This is a once in a life time experience and I want to remember every second of it.

Ok, that’s enough ranting. If you’ve read this far I really applaud you because I’ve just written damn near a whole week of shit that I’ve done and thoughts I’ve had. Please stay tuned for the next episode of MELISSa’S SOUTHEAST ASIA BACKPACKING ADVENTURE!


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