Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The "Jeopardy" Version

Today we are still trying to sort out our mixed feelings about the last day and a half. We are heading to Cambodia tomorrow, and really looking forward to it. Rather than turning this entry into a rant I'll just put down some of the questions that have been going through my head for the last few hours. If you find yourself struggling to read between the lines, bear with me. I'll get into more detail later. Some of the questions are rather contemplative and others will speak for themselves.

Did I come here with unreasonable expectations?
Have I been impatient with the cultural and economic differences?
Would I have had a different, better perspective of Vietnam if I took a path the rather a block away from the one I've been on?
Have I been looking to save a buck everywhere I could or have my hosts been looking to gouge me for every buck they can?
Was it something I ate?
Did they just park a motorcycle here in the lobby?
Do travel articles ever rant about places shortcomings or do they always insist an portraying them as idyllic destinations of perfect sunsets etc.?
Did I come here too late or too early?
Do I still have jetlag?
Was that really a rat I heard scratching the ceiling of my cabin last night?
Should I have taken the package tour?
Have I been open? As open as I am capable of being?
Have I gotten to know people here?
Have I gotten to know good people here?
Have I listened to the other travelers too much or too little?
What would I want to change about this place?
Would it make life better or worse for everyone here?
Is it still -35 in Calgary?!

Enough of my disguised rant. A few highlights as our journey northward ends.
1. Breakfasts in Dalat.
2. The central markets. (except for Hue's)
3. KOTO, Take and Hoa Sua, the restaurants that have been focused on helping street kids here establish careers in the food industry and the shop where we met disabled women who made greeting cards.
4. Cooking school in Hoi An.
5. Meeting our fellow travelers.
6. Meeting a brilliant photographer in Hoi An.
7. The silk factory.
8. The tunnel rat (a guy, not a rat) who we met while touring the DMZ.
9. The weather.
10. The various states of decay or mildew that every yellow wall seems to be in. (There is A LOT of yellow here.)
11. Making it across the street.
12. Comparing the spring rolls.
13. Walking away from a bad haggle.
14. The Temple of Literature in Hanoi.

Take these ten things, remember I'm taking them in in good company and things are humming along. Still, I'm looking forward to be home.