“Ho Chi Minh is the New Orleans of SE Asia.”
“Ho Chi Minh is the NYC of SE Asia”
“Ho Chi Minh is kind of like Los Angeles but in SE Asia.”
“Ho Chi Minh is like Cambodia but not at all”
These are all of the different cities Ho Chi Minh has been compared to.
Pretty much I had no idea what Ho Chi Minh would be like.
What is Ho Chi Minh like? I’ve said this over and over to my friends, I can’t really describe it. Maybe one of these days I’ll strap a go pro to my forehead to give the ultimate HCMC view.
Until then, over the next few months/year/whatever I can hopefully paint a picture of what living in Vietnam is like (And hopefully how obsessed I am with it).
Without further ado, my first week and weekend in Ho Chi Minh City (District 1 & 3), Vietnam
After our chaotic travel day, I had tweets that I was ready to fire off about the shenanigans. But something weird happened. My Twitter app wouldn’t load, it gave me this message:
I thought to myself, “That’s really weird, maybe I should restart my phone so it can properly connect to the hotel wifi.” But I’m lazy, I was tired and more importantly I didn’t want to turn off my phone so I just said fuck it, and went to bed.
The next day I woke up pretty early (I don’t know how to sleep in or what sleep is, actually), I restarted my phone and tried to load Twitter but I got the same message as the night before. So I tried it on safari on my laptop. It didn’t work either. And Facebook didn’t work. Tumblr worked. WordPress worked. But Facebook worked from my phone. What the hell was going on?
And then I thought: Vietnam is a bit different from America in terms of freedom of speech/press/everything and anything. So then I googled it. And yep, Vietnam has blocked my beloved Twitter. No biggie though, I found a way around the block within two days.
My daily schedule looks a bit like this:
- Breakfast. Nomz
- Vietnamese Lesson
- Lesson Planning
- Street Food Lunch
- Teaching a class
- Zert (Lingo courtesy of Cass & Bri)
If you think this sounds like a chill day hop on a flight so I can punch you in the throat.
Breakfast is fun. It’s yummy.
Learning Vietnamese is HARD.
Creating a lesson plan from scratch is HARD and hurts my head.
Eating street food is like gambling….You never know what you’ll get. It’s exciting. This is a fun part of my day. Oh and you eat on tables made for children. It’s nuts.
Teaching a class is SO FUN.
But if your directions suck, it becomes hard because your students don’t know what to do and you feel terrible, stressed and feel like a failure of a Language Corps teacher.
But overall teaching IS SO FUN.
Idk what the deal is. I’m no yogi, but I’ve been to quite a few yoga classes in the states and I’ve never sweat and struggled as much as I do in Vietnam
Yoga is HARD
. Sometimes I can’t help but to crack up in class after the instructor comes over and presses my goddamn nose to the mat. Like what the hell. That’s not normal. In what world does my body basically make a taco? Whatever. I sweat a lot, burn calories, and get to chilllllllll during Shavasana, my favorite part besides Child’s Pose.
Dinner. My other favorite part. That’s my shit. Vietnamese food is no joke. They know flavors. Sometimes I take a bite into something and I literally say, “Mmmmm OHMYGOD THIS IS AMAZING.” And then I say it a few more times throughout the meal. In normal circumstances I hate people like me, but the food here. SO GOOD!
ZzzzzZZzz. After the life trials of my day I go back to my hotel and watch Rachel Zoe or Champions League orrrr Little Mermaid orrrrR House of Cards until I fall asleep.
Which is lame….I guess I should be out and about the town but like I’m tired. I live here now. I can go out on the town when I’m not completing a full 9/10 hour day. Right, Meg? (Let’s go buy peanut butter ASAP. I can’t continue our ice cream, hello panda, crepe deserts).
On days when I have class a little later in the afternoon I’ll meander around the city with Megan, of course. She snapped this little photo of me in a sketchy alley way.
Part of the requirement of the teaching program is that I have to observe another teacher’s class. On this particular day I was assigned to observe Megan’s class — ages ranging from 6-9 of all levels. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but my experience with youngings/renegades/rugrats is that they are all little drunk people (right, Curtiss) and insane.
I was right. So many young psychos. There are a few in particular that make me think to myself, “What in the world is going through your head right now??” If I could I would want to take a short trip inside her brain to see what was going on. Example A: This child (she didn’t really say fuck english class, but she just doesn’t care, it’s hilarious).
But overall the class was rad. They made me laugh. A lot. And question several aspects of life, such as my decision to have children. It was that serious.
Jk. I want to have ids because I’m almost positive they would be awesome lil suckas.
I think my favorite part of all of it is that you give them clear directions and they just don’t care. They just do what they want. For instance, when Megan played Old McDonald for them and said, “STAND IN A CIRCLE.”
This must be a new type of standing in a circle that I missed in training.
Overall teaching was aaAwwEEESsssOOOOoOooooOmmmmMMMmmmmmeeeeEEEEE
But I still hate the song ‘Happy.’
Even though during the week I didn’t make it out past 10 I was down to celebrate Joey’s 26th birthday on Friday night!
We had a delicious sushi dinner at Tokyo Deli (I know the ‘Deli’ throws you in terms of Sushi, but it’s sooOoooo gewd), had a few sake bombs and then hopped in taxis and headed to Chill Sky Bar. What is Sky Bar you ask?
Sky Bar is pretty much like GhostBar in Las Vegas at The Palms except instead of an actual dance area, they have several cocktail tables that you buy all over the place. I think they expect you to dance at your table? It’s a weird concept but we made it work. As soon as we walked to the outside area we were greeted by an enthusiastic (and extremely hammered) Vietnamese group.
They poured us shots (even though we had drinks in our hand–thanks, you’re the best!), offered us fruit, French fries, and beef sticks? Eventually the bottle ran out and du nu nu nuuuuh Paul to the rescue with a bottle of Ciroc
A few pics from da night
We danced in the teeny area we had/probably in everyone else’s area until we were over it and took our party to the next bar…which was a small live music club called Wood Stock.
Unfortunately, as we were walking in the bar, the band was on their way out. We begged, offered drinks, did everything we could to convince them to stay. What I think won them over was my drumming.
I have a thing for Travis Barker. I think he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread (LOL Rachel Zoe reference). I want to be like him. I want to drum like him. So I grabbed the drum sticks and in my head pretended I was Travis Barker. I went ham on the drum set. I got so intense/sounded so bad I think the band felt it would be best to save me and everyone else’s ear drums and played three songs 🙂
When the band left and I finished my chunky and gross, but alcoholic White Russian we left and headed back to the hotel
Sidenote: Do you know how difficult it is to unzip your own dress? It is hard. I never realized this because since birth I’ve always lived with someone who could do the difficult stuff. I didn’t have anyone to unzip my dress because Meeeg and I have our own rooms and it became glaringly clear why roommates are so important.
I eventually figured out how to unzip myself without ripping my dress and went to sleep.
On saturday morning at the bright start of 1:30, Meg and I went to check out the Independence Palace…it was pretty cool. It was so cool I risked almost getting hit a few times trying to cross the street.
It was pretty much a government building with a purpose back in the day.
The bulk and most exhausting portion of the day’s events was the American War Museum. I thought I knew all about the Vietnam war. I mean I definitely covered it in school, but the information about the war that this museum has is mind-blowing. And sad. Extremely sad. America was/is pretty fucked up for all that we did during that war. I know it goes both ways and they did terrible things to us, but I think we won the completely shady, law breaking, ruthless and rude award. The Agent orange and phosphorous bombs we dropped had and still has serious consequences for many of the Vietnamese people.
I’m not here to give you a history lesson so if you are at all interested or want to learn more, click me.
What else can make two American girls feel better about the atrocities we committed to another country? Bargaining our way to our fav jewelry in that same country. SOoOoOo WE WENT TO THE MARKET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I needed a watch, rings, rain boots, a rain jacket and a planner and left with a watch that broke about a week later and two rings, one of which lost the ‘jade’ two weeks later. So who really won?
Besides all of that, on our way out of the market we hear this weird clanging type sound on the tin roof. Yes tin. This is not an actual fashion island mall with structures and buildings, no, it is a tin like….shack that hundreds of people set up shop. Maybe I should have mentioned this before, maybe I just didn’t want to. Moving on.
We hear this clanging, and it becomes louder and louder. Still no idea what it is, which in hindsight is silly because we’re in Vietnam and what else would it be but rain? Anyway, as we get closer to the exit and we see more people putting buckets on the ground due to the holes in the tin roof, the obvious, it’s not just rain, it’s torrential downpour out here. We lolligag and try to wait it out for 20-30 minutes and we’re finally over the market and we want to get ‘home.’ So we stand in front of the exit where people have formed a semi-circle waiting for the first poor soul to take a step into the unknown. We look at each other: “should we just call or taxi or can we walk,” — “I mean it’s not that far, it might be fun,” — “true, let’s just suck it up.”
We sucked it up for maybe a block and a half and my romper was stuck to my body in such a way that I should’ve just been either in a bikini or just nAkey and Megan’s shoes were so water-logged that she couldn’t walk like a normal human. So at the next cross walk we hailed a cab and taxi’d home.
Sometimes you just have to locate a Mexican restaurant, which is what we did. I had tacos and guacamole for dinner. The End.
On Sunday we went to yoga, had a yummy breakfast, showered, lolligaged for a bit, went to the Cathedral…..but it was closed. Seems to be a running theme for Meg & I.
However on the way back we treated ourselves to bOBA at this KEYUTE tea house, so not all was lost.
What a first week/weekend, right?
If you have any questions/comments/anything at all feel free to comment below or even shoot me an email. I would love to hear your feedback! Thanks 🙂
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