Vietnam: a little history, a lot of beach

My vacation last week took me out of Hong Kong and into the scooter filled society of Vietnam. We spent the first day in Ho Chi Minh (and out of Ho Chi Minh) city, which, as our guide informed us, is “actually Saigon”. We took a cooking class, made salad, ate pho, we went into tunnels used by guerrilla fighters in the war of American Aggression, we went to a market and bought shirts, we listened to a cover band on a rooftop and forced an encore.

The city part of the trip was intense in many ways. The tunnels can be disturbing, especially when they have the traps still laid out for demonstration alongside a shooting range with piles of bullets. When you see spikes designed to trap someone by the armpits in a hole in the ground, it doesn’t exactly make you feel good about war. Tunnels two feet by two feet–and smaller–housed fighters for weeks. There was incredible dedication to ideology, which is frightening, humbling, and disturbing to see.

But the trip wasn’t all about history and fighting traffic. It was also about going to the beach.

We took a bus from Ho Chi Minh to Mui Ne. The bus drove about 5kmph at points, making many of the group (including myself) hate the driver, but we finally got to the resort (Shades Apartments, Mui Ne, if you’re interested) after 7 hours crawling along a two lane highway. And it was paradise. Hammock, lounge chairs, well stocked pool side bar, beach view: our group filled up the resort and we used it well.

I at one point realized I didn’t have a to-do list for a day, the first time this has happened in months. I became relaxed, I stopped thinking about work, and instead I went paddling along the shore and had a mai tai in the pool. Consequently, there isn’t much to talk about. Except that it was the first time I truly went to a beach vacation, just for the beach vacation. I got my first pedicure (I know, and I call myself a woman), I learned how to turn while windsurfing (though not much else), and I only got a little sunburned. I stopped worrying about regular stuff. I might do this more often.

Now I’m back to real life, catching up with things I let slide, such as this. Also assignments, work, fitness, laundry and eating at home. It’s nice, but I liked it so much I’ve booked two more trips in the next three months. Here we go.

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