Yeah, I know.
Not that I didn’t have a really great time in Vietnam. In fact, judging from the photos, I’m pretty sure I had the most awesome time of my life there.
Mostly because the majority of my photos show me shoving some kind of food into my face.
And when I wasn’t shoving food into my face, I was sucking down Vietnamese coffee. Which, I swear to you, is made of crack.
How else do you explain this look on my face?After going through the five-hundred-some photos I took during my whirlwind four days in Vietnam, it’s looking like I spent the majority of my time there in some kind of food coma or crack-coffee-induced high.
Which could explain why I don’t remember much.
Well, that and the fact that the trip was over two months ago.
I am notoriously bad at remembering stuff I did two months ago. Or one month ago. Or, heck, a few hours ago.
(But I can remember the plot of almost every single episode of Little House on the Prairie. And almost all the names of all the Strawberry Shortcake characters from the 1980s. So it’s not as if my memory is completely shot. It’s just very selective about what it remembers. Like, it doesn’t really care about stuff that happened to me. But it does care about anything that happened to the television version of Laura Ingalls Wilder. So that’s got to count for something, right?)Given my lack of clear memories from my trip, I’ve been at a bit of a loss as to what to say about it.
Which, I assure you, is not something I typically have a problem with. I’m usually all too happy to blather on endlessly about trips I can only half-remember. I mean, I’ve spent the past two months writing blog posts about China.
And I can barely even remember China.But this time things are a bit different.
You see, I spent my last few weeks in China traveling, for the most part, on my own. Therefore, there was no one around who could later read one of my blog posts and say, “Hey, that’s not how things happened. Twenty-four-hour train ride? What twenty-four-hour train ride? That train ride took twenty minutes.” (Ha, ha, just kidding. That train ride totally took twenty-four hours. Or, at least, twenty-two. I think.)
Not that I’m saying I’ve lied on my blog.
I’m just saying it’s possible I’ve adjusted a few details. You know, because my brain isn’t into remembering the actual details so much. (Unless, like I said, those details have to do with television shows about pioneering families in the Midwest or dessert-themed dolls from the 1980’s.)But when I was in Vietnam, I spent the majority of my time with people. Real people. And not just the voices-in-my-head kind of people.
You see, one of the main reasons why I even went to Vietnam was so I could meet the lovely Barbara, who writes one of my fave blogs and lives in Saigon with her family. She also just so happens to like food as much as I do and even opened her own business running street food tours in the city.
We had narrowly missed each other in Chiang Mai – she moved there right after I had left. Which was unfortunate but probably for the best as I think Chiang Mai has some kind of ordinance on how much awesome can be in the city at any given time.
Barbara knew that I had been toying with the idea of stopping by Vietnam on my way back to the States. (It turns out Vietnam is not really on the way back. Like, at all. In fact, I had to fly back into China in order to catch my flight to the States. But, whatever. The trip was totally worth it. Even if I can’t remember specifically why.)
I had been unsure about whether or not I should go to Vietnam seeing as I didn’t really have much time. Or money. Or, you know, a visa or a plane ticket. Or really anything else that you kind of need in order to take a trip.
But then I got an email from Barbara listing the many reasons why I should come visit her in Ho Chi Minh City. Her list included “a giant Jesus statue,” “coffee with condensed milk,” and “super cheap toe-nail art.” And I knew there was really no way I could not go.
I mean, toe-nail art, people!
Because not only do these people have functioning memories, they also have functioning blogs. And they could totally tell you when I’m lying. (Not that I would ever lie to you. At least, not on purpose. Just when my memory fails me. Which is always.)
So, I figured the best thing to do was just to post a whole bunch of pictures from my trip. Because, as they say, pictures don’t lie.
And if they do, you can just blame the pictures.
Or just blame Barbara because she took a lot of the photos.
That’s what I’m going to do.
Photos of Stuff I Did (At least, I think I did these things. Either that or someone stole my camera and did lots of stuff without me.)As I was only in the country for four days, I didn’t really see too many sights.
After all, I was kind of busy eating stuff.
And going sightseeing meant I would need to cross the street. Which didn’t sound like a particularly good idea to me as traffic in Vietnam was even crazier than traffic in China. And I didn’t even know that was possible.I did manage to make it to the Reunification Palace on my first morning in the city. Which luckily didn’t require much crossing of the streets.
The Palace was the home to the president of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It also happened to be where the War ended, when a tank from the North Vietnamese Army busted down the gates back in 1975. Hence the whole “reunification” thing.
The Palace was kind of like the White House. That is if the White House had been decorated by the Brady Bunch. Which meant it was all kinds of awesome inside.
And there was a hallway full of random dead animal parts. Because every powerful world leader needs his own collection of elephant hooves.
But my favorite part was the underground war room, which looked exactly like what you’d think an underground war room would look like.
There was even a control panel with lots of mysterious buttons on it. I’m pretty sure if you press the big, red one, you’ll blow up Greenland.
But, whatever, who needs Greenland?Vung Tau, which is located only about two hours away by ferry from Saigon.
The town makes for a popular weekend getaway with its pleasant, if busy, beaches.
And its delicious seafood.
And its bizarre assortment of statues.
Because really what says “seaside getaway” more than a giant Jesus statue?
Of course, Jesus wasn’t the only statue in town. In fact, the city was jam-packed full of statues.
There was this pointing dude.
Which I felt the need to replicate.
And there was an entire restaurant bedecked in naked David statues.Which I, luckily, did not replicate.
But I did pose inappropriately with a number of them.
And there was a random statue of boobs. On the beach. Because, why not?
And, okay, maybe I posed inappropriately with them, too. But I’m pretty sure the boobs totally started it.
We also hit up a few swanky places for coffee. The kind of places where the people are fancy. And don’t go around making out with statues.
I attempted to look refined.
Which is hard to do when you’ve got crazy in the eyes.
But then I just ended up groping statues.
I’m blaming Barbara for this.
And the fact that I have the maturity level of a twelve-year-old.
But mostly Barbara.
Photos of Stuff I Ate (Either that or someone ate a LOT of food without me. Which really doesn’t seem very nice.)Besides all the photos of me stuffing my face full of food, I also have a lot of photos of myself assembling my food.
I loved this about meals in Vietnam. There was usually some element of assembly required. You know, so you really felt like you deserved to eat a dozen spring rolls since you’d put the darn things together yourself.
On the table, there was often a big huge pile of leaves and herbs.
You could throw these into your soup.
Or top them off with lots of yummy stuff — preferably something delicious and deep-fried so as to balance out all that green stuff.
Or you could stuff all the green stuff into wrapper with other fixings and roll it all up burrito-style.
And then you’d dip everything into a sauce and shove it into your mouth. Because, hey, all that wrapping and stuffing and dipping takes energy. You must be hungry.
Not that I can remember many of the dishes that I ate while I was in Vietnam. But I’m pretty sure everything was awesome or I wouldn’t have so many photos of me stuffing it all into my face.
Even the stuff that I didn’t think was going to be delicious was surprisingly delicious.
Like, softshell crabs.
I’m usually pretty apprehensive about eating anything that still has its shell on and all its legs attached.
But, obviously, that wasn’t a problem for me with the soft shell crab.
I also ate snails. Which, again, I didn’t think were going to be delicious.
Because they’re snails, you guys.
But I learned if you cover anything in butter garlic sauce it’s going to taste like heaven. Even if it looks like a gross little worm. Because it kind of is a gross little worm.
In fact, the only food I can remember not particularly enjoying was this oyster. Which Barbara dared me to eat.
And the only reason why I can remember not enjoying it was because the thing was swimming in wasabi so the trauma of eating it is still etched in my brain.
Again, totally Barbara’s fault.What’s your favorite trip that you can’t remember? Or are you one of those people who actually remembers stuff? Planning a trip to Vietnam? If so, you must book a street food tour with Barbara. And stay in her beautiful home. So basically you can take the exact same trip that I did. And then email me and tell me why I loved it so much.