Thursday, January 31, 2008

Back to the city

Le Loi street, during daytime:

Le Loi street, during nighttime, on motorbike:
The coveted mai tree. The large trees can be sold for up to millions of dollars, not dong. They are the flowers of Tet and everywhere you turn, you see yellow flowers.
I am finally back from the countryside and back in the city. They
both have their advantages and disadvantages and I don't know which
one I like more. The countryside is beautiful, quiet, full of family,
and walkable (somewhat) - but it's a bit boring and definitely not as
comfortable (in terms of air conditioning, cleanliness, etc). The
city is always awake, full of fun, friends, and work - but it also
never sleeps and I feel like I always have stuff to do!

When I came back to the city, my cousin greeted me and said, "How's it
feel to be back?" and I thought, back to where? I don't know if I
really have a home right now. Is it in California, where my stuff is
in boxes? Is it in Boston where I technically go to school? Is it
wherever I am at the moment? Who knows.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Joe Camel

Just saw a 12 year old smoking. With a hoarse voice. Scary.

Change of plans

So, a wrench has been put in my plans, which is bound to happen, and I am in the delta region for much longer than I anticipated. So, in short, I am sitting at some random internet cafe, right next to the highway that runs north-south in Vietnam, sitting next to my half-aunt who is younger than myself. I feel like traveling ios always full of situations that you never imagine yourself in. So, I apologize for not posting regularly, as I haven't been online in awhile. My goal was to post everyday.... oh well.

Here are some pictures to bide the time away.

On a boat, crossing the river to pay my respects to my ancestors:
The market in An Huu, my dad's hometown. Here are the bird sellers (they sell them as fresh as possible here), with the river in the background.

Snakes for sale, at $5 a pound, considered a delicacy in Vietnam:

Dragons, made of foliage, in Vinh Long, my mom's hometown:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


That's definitely how I'm feeling here in Saigon. I spent the day walking around with my cousins, exploring, a little bit of shopping, and generally having fun. It was a touristy day for sure. I had dinner with a friend of my cousin's and the conversation was a great ending to the day. It's nice to talk to someone much like myself (though he is so much more artistic than I, and I am infinitely jealous) and who has been living in Saigon for several months now. Overall, good day today. No pictures from today, but definitely some later this week.

Tomorrow, I head down to An Huu, where my grandfather lives, and Vinh Long, where my aunts and uncles live. It's a 4 hour van ride and lots of fun - you know, cause feeling like your life is in danger every turn the road takes is loads of fun!

Monday, January 21, 2008


The brand spanking new airport in Saigon:

I am in Vietnam! No incident getting here. Actually, it couldn't have been much easier. I slept 10 hours on the flight from San Francisco to Taipei and then got upgraded to what was a heavenly seat on the leg from Taipei to Saigon. This seat was amazing. It reclined down to sleeping position. It was 1.5x as large as a regular seat. They served me a meal on tablecloth! Serious stuff here.

Oh, so I'm blogging from my cousin's computer poolside. Yeah, I've been in Saigon for all of 3 hours and I'm poolside:
It's my break before the storm.

Some initial impressions:

  • I forget how noisy and polluted the city is.

  • I forget how easy it is to fall into the vicious cycle of staying poolside with my cousins.

  • I really want some Vietnamese food. We drove by tons of little eateries and it was lunchtime and everyone seemed so happy.

Ok, that's it for now. Some more thoughts later. And some more pictures later when I get the cable for my camera.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Leaving, on a jet plane....

I am reviving the dead! That is, a dead blog!

I am embarking, once again to Vietnam.

My tentative itinerary:
  • January 22-March 31: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I will be working for four weeks at a clinic there, traveling around, and soaking in all there is to soak.
  • March 31-April 20-something: Vellore, India for travels and another four weeks at a clinic there.
  • May 3: Depart for California
Who knows what my expectations of this trip are or what I will get accomplished. In the end, I think it's going to be an adventure and I'm glad you've come along for the ride.