08 5 / 2013
Time still at 7 in the morning when we arrived in Hoi An. Again, in another bus shelter. Not so a good first impression of the city. We tried to call An, our friend that will show us the city. Actually, I never meet her before. She just lent her hands to pick us up and bring us around the city when I put my request about Hoi An local’s guide in a traveler community called Couchsurfing.
Immediately, she offered me help and gave me her number. I was so lucky since it’s quite hard to find someone from Hoi An. Not because it’s a tiny city with less people, indeed it is, but because Couchsurfing always lead us to Da Nang, while we search Hoi An. Da Nang is another city that takes 3 hours from Hoi An. Not connected. Totally a different place.
After a bit confusion of the shelter address, we just knew from her about the old and new bus shelter in Hoi An, while she was waiting on us in the new bus shelter, actually we are stop in the old one. We wait for a while then she came with her motorbike. It’s not so strange anymore for me to see people in Vietnamese, man or woman, wearing pants or skirt, always ride a motorbike.
I can say from my first impression, she is still young and very nice person, love to smile also. After discussing what we’re going to do in the town, we decided to rent another motor bike so we can go around the city easily. Of course it wasn’t me who drove the motor. I just sat behind An, while Panda drove her own motor. I still didn’t have so much courage to drive a motor in the middle of crazy Vietnam street drivers. While they are going to the motor rental place, I tried the coffee of Hoi An. It is so strong heeee….
First stop was taking a breakfast of the famous Cao Lau. It’s so yummy, another different kind Bun.
Then we stop in An’s house. She said it was quite far from the city, but actually it wasn’t. And we were immediately falling in love with An’s house. It’s a place you can called as an authentic house of Vietnamese local people. Her house is big and very cold comparing to the heat outside. But actually, the weather in Hoi An, even it’s hot, not so burn as in Saigon and Mui Ne. Me and Panda already love the weather. It’s a real bright day, but we don’t feel the pain in our skin as usually we will feel if we forget to put sunblocks to cover our skin.
After taking shower and charging all the electronic devices we can charge such as laptop, camera, phone, and my tab, we both feel like in heaven after feel the water and know that our ammunition of electronic can get some energies back before heading to Hue. We didn’t spend so much time in Hoi An, because my stubborn head wants to go to Hue. I saw the Citadel and Royal Tombs that really make me want to visit Hue from Google. Even it’s a bit difficult to get the bus ticket or train ticket from Da Nang to Hue. The time is very limited. We need to depart around 3 pm to Da Nang train station by local bus and catch the train to Hue from there.
I feel a bit guilty because make everything in a rush that day, but as I said before, being on trip with so limited time, make me to stick to my itinerary before. I know traveler should be flexible and let themselves stay longer if needed, but for me, it can ruin all of my plan before. The misunderstanding schedule from Mui Ne to Hoi An already cut my time few hours. Now, I should stick to my plan and just leave Hoi An at 3 pm if I want to reach Hue in the same day. I read from many traveller blogs that they can’t make it to Hue because of the problem. For them, it’s better to skip Hue and spend time Hoi An and flight back to Saigon or Hanoi from Da Nang, rather than taking train to Hue and back again to Da Nang to catch their flight. And I don’t want to be a part of them. I don’t want to leave Vietnam before visiting Hue.
Sharply, we have time around 6 hours to see the city. And actually Hoi An is a small ancient town. Unesco recognize it as one of their world heritage site. It makes Hoi An leave as the way it is old times ago. They really keep all the building, the road, the interior like hundred years ago. I know there’s some cool places to see in Hoi An, such as Cham Temple that quite far from Hoi An town. But we skipped that one, because I heard it is like Angkor in Cambodia but more ruins. Even the father of An suggest us to go there, but we tried to explain we don’t have so much time and maybe we only wanna see the famous Japanese bridge in town.
It’s so cool because we were preparing our cooking together, even as for me, I only cut some vegetables because I don’t understand what they need or the next step for cooking. Also they said, I just make them confuse and they let me free without helping them anymore except cutting the veggies. So I try to entertain An with my travel story so far and the sight of Indonesia. So cool that An wanna see my country once she can travel. She also love to talk and listen which make me more interest to share my story even my story not so amusing, hahaha.
After the meals finished cooking and served on the table. This is my first time lunch together with the real family of Vietnamese people. Mom and dad was there. An’s dad just went home from teaching in University. He always come home and eat together with the family every break time. So sweet, because I can feel the close relations between the parents to An too as a family. I was feeling so welcome in their house, and don’t ask me their cuisine! It was heavenly yummy!! Actually a bit surprising me because as I can see, what we prepared mostly veggies, even a kind of leaves that I see in Jakarta as street vegetables. But here, they eat that, and I also try that and it taste so good. They called it Vietnamese salad, which the vegetables mixed together with peanut and some herbs (such as salt and garlic). Very simple but very yummy.
Also for the desert, the father of An just cut a pineapple, and we eat that with salt. Wow, they are very humble, healthy food with not so many fat inside from the coconut milk as Indonesia’s food also they enjoy food from the nature very well. Pineapple can taste so good for a desert. Now I know why Vietnamese people eat a lot and still slim, go figure out! They food is mostly from the nature rather than a junk food.
We went to the Japanese famous bridge. Again, it was giving me an odd feeling when I finally see a real place which I ever saw before from the google only. Now it’s in front of my eyes and I can touch it, feel it and step on it. Amazing!
The bridge built since 700 years ago. It is left that way as the first creation. I am a bit afraid it can be collapse with such of tourist step on the bridge. But of course not, hehee. In every edge of the bridge, there is a dog statue and monkey statue. I was questioning to An why the statue is dog and monkey. Do they have special power for Vietnam people? An didn’t know the answer. So we have smart idea to take a listen of a tour guide who was guiding some people there. Gladly he spoke in English, from him we know the dog and monkey statues were meaning to explain people that the bridge built from dog year to monkey year, hihihiii, simple answer.
Here, we tried another street sweet such as this Tofu with Ice and Ginger.
I love Hoi An already. Even they said it is nicer in the evening. But in the afternoon, it is still nice. It is really a small town which many old and authentic store with beautiful colonial interior. Panda bought some souvenir for her mom, I just enjoying the area while An always cover her head with jacket, too hot for her, I said to her “It’s far better than Saigon’s heat. Comparing to Saigon, I could say, Hoi An has a mild hot.”
We stopped in a coffee shop. I love the name of it. Tam Tam Jardin. A mixture of Chinese name and French. The cafe is so beautiful and make us don’t want just sit there but grabbed our camera and take pictures in many places as what usual teenager do, hihihii. There was not so many guest before. But exactly after we finished take pictures, there come another woman group which also do the same thing as we did. Taking many pictures of themselves in the cafe. Ah well, woman always same no matter what countries they come from, hihihii. I chose ice coffee while Panda and An order ice cream. The menu is so French, since they also sell some croissants and pain du chocolate.
Ok, we need to go back to An’s house and take our stuff. Our short moment together was so fun. Because the time so tight, we prefered to take Taxi from An’s house to Da Nang train station, not a public bus as our plan before. It takes 30 minutes before we arrived to the Train station. Da Nang, is really a well developing town! The building and huge tower are there to shouting to the world that probably Da Nang is the finest city of all in Vietnam. It’s make my sense now, when I remember my friend, Tra in Saigon told me that in Da Nang, you can drive a motor as you drive in Saigon. Police will bring you the jail, since they are very organize and discipline here. For An, it was so hot weather, but for me and Panda, the weather still ok.
After saying goodbye to An and her mom, since her dad already back teaching in the University. We left Hoi An and feel so much grateful because the rendezvous we had with An and her family. I always love the feeling of traveling when you can meet new people, feel their kindness and experience so many new things. Luncheon with An’s parents and their kindness, will I remember for the rest of my life.
04 5 / 2013
I was exciting with Sleeper Bus that we took from Mui Ne to Hoi An. I never been in a sleeper bus, so I am curious what will it look like. Will it be only a common seat which you can make a bit laying down longer than normally?
One thing that I notice in Vietnam, or maybe in another country as well, but not in Indonesia, that they have their own beer in every city. Such as in Saigon, they have Saigon Beer or Bia Beer. In Hue and Hanoi as well. But in Mui Ne, that’s an exception, as my experience I can’t find beer with brand “Mui Ne or Phan Thiet”. Anyway, I tried the Saigon beer while waiting for our bus to pick us in the hotel.
Drinking a cold drink in very hot day will be so fresh but beer not such really a good options for me, especially it’s too early for a beer. But the price of beer here is so cheap. Plus I have a big curiosity to try anything new. While Panda chose her favorite drink, a banana milkshake, I chose the Saigon. I can say I don’t really like this beer, hahaha. A bit bitter but taste like a water. Anyway, beer is a beer, no need any style or consideration to drink it.
Our bus come!
And yes, it is really a sleeper seat. A chair that you can make it laid down until very back like a bed. Very comfort. A 360.000 VND for one trip, it doesn’t matter at all, even I thought it’s quite expensive before. I took a seat near window, so I can see the sights while dozing off. A guy that seated next to me is a guy from Sweden with a funny red hair and eyes that always smile, actually, he was always smile toward me. I have no idea whether he was drunk or maybe he was just happy. Hahahaa. He offered me mango that already crumble because pressed by his bag. The bad thing about this sleeper seat, it may be a bit uncomfortable for those who has tall and big body such as western, they need to bend their legs to fit in the seat.
What amazing me because the bus stop for a while and take a Vietnamese guy who want to go with us while his motor also come along with us, and they put it in the bottom luggage place. Crazy!
The view was changing from Mui Ne, the sea, the sand dunes, the dry places to mountain, house of people, mountain again, lake, bridge, many. I enjoyed the sights while taking some pictures with my digital camera. I was expect that perhaps I will have some cool pictures from it, but what do you expect to get while the bus shaking you all the time and your fingers can stand still and click the shoot. The Sweden guy who was talking with me the whole journey asked why I take so many pictures, “For memories,” I answer simply.
He wanted to stop in Nha Trang and that’s the confusion started. He told me that we will arrive in Nha Trang at 7 pm, but I told him, that the lady who sell the ticket told us that we will arrive in Hoi An at 7 pm. Then, I found out that there was a mistake. Maybe what she mean is that we will stop in Nha Trang first at 7 pm only for transit before go to Hoi An with another bus. Oh NO! That’s mean the whole day journey with bus when I know that actually we will arrive in Hoi An in the next morning at 7 am. This pm and am sometimes can make a huge different while tell in wrong information. Period.
Then we stopped in Nha Trang. As my short view, I didn’t see the beaches at all while we were crossing the town. Not like Mui Ne which you can see directly the sea on your side. Here, I only see a common town with lots of young people gather around in a street cafe eating some meals. I wonder where is the Nha Trang famous sea? Well, because we also already arrived in the dark time, I might missing the sea or maybe they need to reach it with another transportation or the place that we stop not the famous sea area. After said goodbye to the Sweden man who immediately looking for hostels to stay. Me and Panda waited for the next bus in a restaurant while I ordered my noodle for me dinner. Oh well, I can say their fried noodle is not so delicious as I ever tried in Cambodia or Indonesia.
Finally the bus comes and the Bus Office crew, a man with one arm only, guide us to the bus shelter. Not so far from the office. Well, his face really look not so nice. Like a savage guy who has very funny English accent. He spoke to us just like screaming in not understandable English. Actually, it feels like we were going to a prison or something like that while he asked us to gather in one line and he started to calling us name by name and pointing his finger to let us know which bus we should take. My friend Panda made a joke of it and tell to other traveler that behind our line, “Welcome to the Jail, guys!” Hhahaa, yes, this man is so full with high tension and bring me to feel like we were in holocaust era.
Again I chose the seat in the window. Actually they have 3 rows, but I don’t like take the middle one because it makes me feel to falling down since there’s no wall to hold me. In front of us, there’s a couple from Russia, if I can recognize from their language. The tension Vietnamese guy started to asking for our tickets. The male from Russian couple insisted that the bus driver already asked his ticket while he put off his shoes on the door. Yeah, they asked us to put off the shoes and give us the plastic bag to put inside, to make the bus still clean, also it’s not polite to keep wear your shoes while you need to hike other head to reach your own seat.
The tension man still not believe in him and asked him to check his wallet, iPad and bag. The Russian guy started to increase his tone while explaining to him that the bus driver already took it from him. The tension man still force him to find again while he said many times with his funny English that bus driver wasn’t allow to take any passenger tickets. I watched their argument silently, I am admire how the Russian try to explain even I know he start to get mad, but he still remember he is in someone’s country, you need to keep polite if you don’t want something bad happen to you while you are travel. You are not in your home or in your family zone or culture. Vietnamese can be so nice and also dreadful if you remember how they can win the Vietnam War.
The situation finished when finally the Tension Man found the ticket from the bus driver. With his cool reaction, the Russian only told him, “See, I already told you so.” Without intention to prolong the argument or show who was right. Even after the Tension Man left, that Russian guy started to talk with his partner with their language, from his tone, I know that he felt irritated by how the treat of that guy. But good for them, because they speak it with their own language, which maybe none can understand.
I saw around and find out a western girl also watched the argument attentively. When the bus started running, there is also another absurd situation. Because the other bus that stand next to us suddenly in the same time running together with our bus. OMG, almost crashing while the bus driver keep talking. Fortunately he realized it and hold a brake. Me and her just gave a same ridiculous look and almost funny. This bus journey will be very odd, and yet, it was turned that way. Especially when the light turn on to Red and Blue, I feel more like in Discotheque than in a Bus.
The whole evening, I feel like flying from my seat. The Bus Driver is a young man that don’t know or don’t care whether honking all the time can make us wake up the whole time. He keep honking all the time whether there is only a motor in front or when none. My goodness! Not mention about how he drive that huge bus such as drive the small cars. I feel like moving easily from left to the right. It’s a bit nervous for me too because when I take attention to the surrounding, on my left is a huge stones wall that probably a mountain and on our right, is beautiful city light, which mean a cliff. Yes, we were crossing the mountain with a bus driver who ride like a drunk man.
Thank God when I finally can sleep and wake up, I can see the road already flat again. In fact, there is some rice field on my sight. My body not that tired even a bit sore, but it’s ok. Sleeper bus such a good option to go in long journey. My first experience with the sleeper bus not so bad. I actually wish in Indonesia, they also invent this kind of bus one day, so we can conveniently do a long journey.
04 5 / 2013
1 April 2013
I left the young guy who was smiling to me after I give him 100.000 VND ($5) as he wished as his tips. Me and Panda came inside the Jeep and we got ready to go to Fairy Spring. I have no idea what is Fairy Spring. A spring from the fairy tale or a spring of the fairies, the nymph. Anyway, this place has so many shocking and beautiful places. I just can’t wait to see it by myself.
After rode for 30 minutes from the White Sand Dunes, we stop for a while in the Fish Harbor, which a place for the highest and you can see many fish boats stop and park their vehicle there. A picturesque place and best view we can get because we were standing in the above. I can smell some fishy stink around in the air, but never mind, we didn’t spend so much time there, only take one or two pictures before go again to the Fairy Spring.
I still have no idea why they named the spring as fairy spring. Maybe they believe a magic story in the spring. Anyway, Fairy Spring is a little spring divides the red-clay slopes to the left-hand side and from the foliage to the right-hand side. This scenic stream is located in Ham Tien (Mui Ne Beach) and winds through breathtaking red and white sand cliffs from deep in the dunes, out to the beach. This is a great place to see some of the local wildlife as well, including birds, crabs, fish, frogs and many exotic flowers. I saw Ostrich farm in the area, really for tourist. It able you to ride the Ostrich. I never ride the Ostrich and I saw from my cousin pictures, they look so enjoyed riding them while they were here. But I heard the price is around 200.000 VND for 15 minutes. I was thinking hard and consider it. I know it’s my first time again, but maybe not now. I should save my money if I want to survive for another 7 days I have.
Actually the spring is pretty boring. I know it’s good adventure, while you need to take off your shoes since it’s all water, spring, it was said, wasn’t it? Hahaha… But it’s like one round to go. I should prefer you to enjoy the walk such make a meditation while not forgetting your hat. The sound of water, birds and outdoor sky bring a peaceful feeling and also.. hot. At least for us at that moment, since we arrived there around 12 pm. Time where the Sun proudly show her biggest and strong light. My friend, Panda didn’t want to walk further more. She said, it is same the whole round. So I agreed with her and we turn back to the entrance alley we went in.
It’s a worth place to visit. Since it’s also free. In the entrance, there is some locals and young boy that offer you themselves as your guide. But I guess, the spring itself is easy to walk, so you can walk by yourself if you want. For me, I tried to follow a western couple that walk in front of us, until reaching a spot that we decided to stop and turn around.
Going back, with our wet feet, we tried to not making our shoes wet and just walk the street bare footing. But OMG, the road is burning our feet. Rather than walking, we more like jumping from one step to another steps, hahahaa. I saw many pots that for me quite interesting. What catch my eyes is the form of that pot’s cover, I don’t know whether it’s a Vietnamese made or not, but the cover looks like the authentic hat of Vietnamese. So funny. Later on, I know that pots use for fermenting fish. That’s why the smell a bit revolving.
We continue our journey back to the hotel, since now almost 1 pm and we need to catch our bus to Hoi An. What a fantastic day in Mui Ne, they should be proud to have so many places to visit in that small clean town.
02 5 / 2013
Yes! Great! Today is April 1st. I won’t tell you a fool, but I want to tell you my plan for today! We will go to the sand dunes. Yippiiieee… I was so exciting.
We woke up by the sound of waves. The sound is so close to my ears. Oh, I had a good sleep, so great! This time, we wanna go directly to swim after eating some biscuits we bought last night. Great that I bought a can of coffee also, so I sat down on the terrace while enjoying the view of morning and take a dip of my cold coffee. After this short me-time, I wanna go to swim. Panda came and join me to go to swim. It was a nice warm water, not so cold, but the capo rite is too deep. So bad that I didn’t bring my swimming glasses, as you can guess, my eyes turned to be so hurt.
I only took few rounds before leaving the pool. We have another plan to go to the Sand Dunes! Yessss.. I already google for it since long time ago. That’s a bit weird about internet. Because you already found the information first, it feels like a familiar feeling when you finally meet what you dream for. An example is the hotel that we stayed and probably the sand dunes. I have a weird feeling that I was belong to this place only because I already google so much about this place before I finally arrived here.
As Panda recommendation, we were heading to a Kebab place to eat that as our breakfast. A Kebab in Vietnam is quite quirky right? But I wanna try everything. So I just followed her, since she really want to go there.
No one was welcoming us that time. The restaurant already opened but no one stay on the cashier to give us the menu. A bit weird. After sitting for a while, finally a woman just came from behind. I think from kitchen. She said the meals wasn’t ready yet. We have to wait around 30 minutes before our Kebab and the banana milkshake come.
Suddenly a phone came from our hotel reception. He just told us the jeep that we rented for go to Sand Dunes already arrived. He will wait for us and he said it’s better to be hurry since the weather will be very hot in the sand dunes.
It is amazed me how in Vietnam, you can meet a sand dunes along with the sea, lake and mountain. A natural wonder that really make me wonders. But that’s true, while our jeep crossing the street, I feel like I was in Australia or some places far away from Asia. Not in Vietnam. The road is so clean but also so long. You can see suddenly there is a heap of sands on your sides. While in the other is the beautiful sea. In Mui Ne, or usually Vietnamese called the city as Phan Thiet, they have Red Sand Dunes, White Sand Dunes, Fairy Spring, Little Grand Canyon and also a picturesque harbor of many fishes boats.
There is many tours that offered many options to go. But for us, it’s better to rent a jeep and just go to places that meet with our time. The cost for renting the jeep is around $25 for 5 hours, but actually we only use the jeep for 4 hours since at 1 pm we should be ready in our hotel to catch the bus to Hoi An. We bought the Sleeper Bus ticket in Hanh Cafe for 360.000 VND/person.
I was so exciting to see the dunes. First we acrross the Red Dunes, but the White one is more beautiful and popular. Also on our way go to the White Dunes, we saw the lake full with Lotus flower and a place called Little Grand Canyon. But we didn’t stop. I just skipped some places to the place I really want to see.
Arrived in White Sand Dunes, it was around 10 pm. Still in the morning right? But the heat is so terrible strong. I feel so dizzy but my excitement to see the White dunes and capture it with my camera was defeating the sun above my head. I took the motor bike rent for 300.000 VND (around $15) for 20 minutes. Gee.. Traveling is costing lots of money. Also you wanna do anything the place offer you because you might not come to that place anymore. Riding 250 cc Big Motor was a new and first experience for me so I just close my eyes and take the money out from my wallet. If you forget, let me remind you what I told in my first article, that I forgot to bring my atm card, so I only had $ 500 for my present whole trip, which 10 days in Vietnam and 1 day in Singapore. I should be wise to spend my money and return back to Jakarta safely.
The owner of Big Motor just approached me cheerfully, I know from his face that my presence should be like a money money money, hehee. No need to speak lots of words, I already want to rent the Big Motor and drive it. As usual, he thought that I am also a Vietnamese from my face. As usual, he spoke with me with Vietnamese language before realize my stupid face who didn’t understand any single word at all.
It was a good business for him I think, because I saw many Big Motor ready on the parking space. But that time, there were not much tourist who come. Only me and another couple that looking so swelter. They also want to leave. The Jeep driver told us a crazy person because now the sun is so hot. Usually people come there to catch the sunrise or sunset. Because of the heat, Panda chose to stay in the cafe while I go around with the motor. She also already been there before, so she said it’s better to her to avoid become a melted meat, hahaha.
And as my dream, this is such a huge desert. In the first ride, the motor bike driver, a young man, let me to drive the motor while he sat behind me. Ok, I accepted the challenge, but driving the 250 cc in a wilderness such not a good idea, or maybe good, but I wasn’t capable on it. The steer went wild to the left and the right without such a straight direction. Gave up with my disorientation and panick, finally the guy told me for he better to drive. I gave up easily without any comments. Barely I sat behind him, he just force the gas and hike the hills of dunes, OMG, I was so shock but exciting as well. I feel like flying with the motor and I hold him a bit tight while our motor reaching to the top of dune. Duuuh…
Yeah yeah yeah… Finally I was there. A great view from the top. I leave my sandals and bare footing walk on the sands. Oh my, don’t ask! Yes it was so HOT. I took some moments there before we heading to another place, now the lake with some cows trying to find fresh grasses in the center of dunes, and they found. It’s really a natural wonders!
We were stop for a while in a beautiful lake. There’s also a cafe to stop and take a break. It was so funny because suddenly the young man obviously asked me for a tip. Oh damn! This is what I don’t like in a trip. And I was there alone. So I just said yes, don’t worry. He asked for 200.000 VND and my reaction was, “Huhhh? Are you crazy?? Do your boss pay you enough? Do you know that I pay 300.000 VND for the vehicle, how come I should give you 50% more of the renting cost?” But his English wasn’t so good, so I just say yes yes and yes, until I finally arrived in the place where Panda waited for me. Then before I said goodbye to the owner and him, I just gave him 100.000 VND, I was such in a good mood.
02 5 / 2013
Arrive in District 1, Saigon, in a place of tour and travel that we booked the bus for going to Mui Ne, a small incident happened that actually make me a bit bad mood. We were arrived to that place before 3 pm. The schedule of bus leaving to Mui Ne will be at 3 pm. Then Panda told me to wait there while she wants to take money in the ATM machine which is supposed to be closed with the place.
Before 3 pm, the bus already intended to leave. I was quite shock and asked them to wait for my friend who is still in ATM machine. But they didn’t want to listen to me. I can understand actually because the road is too narrow so it might blocking the street. What I can’t accept is the way of the lady told me. She didn’t want to listen at all and only saying that the bus should leave as the schedule, I almost scream to her that now it’s not even 3 pm yet.
Luckily for me because the second lady approached me. She is wiser than the first one. If the first lady throw my phone after talking with Panda through my phone, the second one was talking again with Panda but give us the solution. She suggested Panda to just directly go to another office of them, because they want to pick up some people also there. Because I can’t understand what were they talking about, so I just follow the guy who instructed me to go with him with the bus. Then I understand that Panda will come to meet me in their another office.
Thank God she made it! I waved my hands while she enter the bus. We both sat nicely while the bus ready to go to Mui Ne. Almost the whole journey, Panda open her laptop and talked to her husband. It was so cool because she keep make herself online and able talk to him as she can. How sweet! I know it’s kind of hard to be in long distance relationship, need an extra effort and an extra sacrifice.
It took 4 hours from Saigon to Mui Ne. We were taking one break to go to Toilet and take something to eat in the Rest Stop. Around 7 pm, we were finally arrived in Mui Ne. The first impression when I saw Mui Ne is I feel like in Bali. It’s only a long road with cafe on the one side and the other side is the sea, as I can hear the wave sound break the water. Then we arrived in Bien Nho Resort, a resot that Panda booked for us because she ever been there. The place is nice and it has a direct view to the pool. Too bad we were arrived in the evening, so it a bit cold to swim at night. Another good thing because directly in front of our pool, it’s the sea. So I can hear the wave sound. So peaceful.
After took a rest for a while, we were planning to bike around by the bicycle from the Hotel. Gladly they allowed us to use it. We rode our bike to find a place for dinner. Then we stopped in a street seafood restaurant. It just on the side of the beach, so we can smell the sea and salt on the air. The surprising thing that I saw that time is they selled a crocodile meat. Actually, it was a complete crocodile as you can see which meat do you want to eat. OMG. They also have shark, fin or the body. We chose to eat squid, shrimp and fish. Normally what we did order is too much for the two of us, but we were terrible hungry that time, so it’s ok.
After full and enjoying our night, we were heading to our hotel after took a glass of Mojito in a Bar which Panda ever worked before. While she said hi to her friends and re-united for a while, I was enjoying my dip of Mojito while listening to an upbeat music in the bar. I love my vacation!
01 5 / 2013
I haven’t continue my story in Vietnam since few days ago, due too another trip, sick and bed rest at home, then busy with work, now finally, I can spend a bit time on my lunch break to continue writing about it.
Maybe you ask me, why should I need to write about it? Maybe nobody read it.
Well, I don’t care whether ones read it or not. For me, writing such bring me an happiness. It can ease my mind, and also I could record my own history by my writing. Who knows that maybe years ago from now, the life of a person named Dea Sihotang can be searched by so many people who want to know her, hahaha.
As you remember from my previous article. I already arrived in Tay Ninh, at Panda’s house. In her house, I met with her mom and grand ma. A sweet mother that can’t speak English at all but cook for us a very delicious food for dinner. This is my first time eating a cat fish that really huge! Almost as big as my fist. What I love on a traveling is not only about seeing things or places, but also when I can make friends along my way. I can meet with many new kind of people, many kind of behavior and character, I can learn from them as long as perhaps they learn a bit from me. So tonight, I learn another story from my strong friend, Panda. She is a kind of person who able to lift up your mood and motivate you to keep believe in God no matter what situation you have, in this case, my situations :)
We were waking up not so early, since we both so tired last night and Panda assure me to sleep in and take my time to have a good sleep. Another different that I face is because (I guess) people in Vietnam love to sleep without bed. It was confusing me before. They just put a blanket above the surface of floor and sleep. So I follow them, and I can sleep really well, maybe because my body also dragged me to take a rest and relax.
Around 9 am, we went to the local market to find our breakfast. Panda wants me to try her father pancakes actually, her parents are selling pancakes in the local market. But too bad because the pancakes already finished since it’s very sale able. So I chose a bun to be ate for us. The bun is so cheap actually and contain so many pork. It was so delicious even it looked not mixed together so well, just raw vegetables and noddle put together in one bowl, but once you mix it, it tastes so yummy! Also very normal for Vietnamese to eat raw chilly, without blend it as sambal, so usually in their table, they put a small plate with raw red small chilly inside. While I chose the fried Bun, my friend chose the soup Bun, I taste it also and it was so yummy too :) My heaven was so completed after closing the meals with a sweet treat for my self, a Vietnamese Coffee and a glass of ice with sweet beans and peanuts.
Place in the market which sell the Bun
Back to Panda’s house, we were waited by Lucky, her puppy. Lucky is so active puppy. He always want to bite anything, whether our stuff or our parts of body, such as legs, arms, feet, fingers, anything he finds interesting. It is very common if you need a time to find your sandals because Lucky just hide it somewhere.
Panda’s house is so nice. It has a straight view to the rice field and still surrounding by nature. Even in the evening, it could be so dark. Tay Ninh is a town that probably around 90 km from Saigon. As I can see, there are some churches in this town. The church is different interior with Roman Catholic, it’s more influenced by the interior of Cao Dai, I mean, the colorful and style. After said goodbye to Panda’s family and able to make a picture for memory with her mom, we were going to Sewing Course place. Panda learned how to sew for fulfill her dreams. She wants to make a beautiful long dress and Vietnam long dress is so famous. But for now, the teacher wants to make a beautiful long white dress for her baptism day, so we came to that place to measure Panda’s size. Surprisingly she also wants me to measure my size cause she wanted to sew one long dress for me and send it to Jakarta. How sweet!
Tay Ninh Town around…
In Tay Ninh, there’s also a famous mountain called Black Virgin Lady Mountain or in Vietnamese it called Nui Ba Den. I don’t know why it called like that.
I try to find out the story, and here is what I found :
Legend has it that prior to 1700, when Nui Ba Den was still in Cambodian territory, a Cambodian chieftain lived on the mountain with his son and a 13 year-old daughter, Nang Denh. A Chinese Buddhist monk, wandering through the region, came to the chieftain and asked for a place to live and spread the teachings of Buddha. Nang Denh’s father built the monk a temple called Chua Ong Tau (Chinese Monk’s Temple) whose ruins can still be seen on the foot of the mountains Eastern slope.
The pretty, young daughter in time became a devout disciple of Buddhism and when her father proposed her marriage to the son of a neighboring chieftain, the girl went into hiding on the mountain. Soldiers dispatched to find the girl eventually found a section of her leg in a stone cavern on the mountain’s slope. Having vowed herself to the Buddhist non-acceptance of married life, the girl had apparently killed herself rather than break the vow.
Years later, a priest who practiced Buddhism on the mountain for 31 years claimed to have seen her walking on the mountainside. He built her an altar, the Shrine of the Black Virgin, which still stands on the mountain’s slope today…
So probably the Black Virgin Lady supposed to addressed to the girl who kill herself in that mountain.
This mountain also play importance roles while the war as a battle ground.
In the present, people can hike the mountain or take the Gondola Lift because sometimes the trail can be dangerous while wet or in rainy season, because I also see there’s so many huge stones on the mountain. There is also a beautiful temple you can see her after pay the entrance ticket. I didn’t do that since our time is limited and we need to go back to Saigon to catch our bus to Mui Ne at 3 pm.
We leave the Black Virgin Lady mountain behind, with it’s secret and mystery.
25 4 / 2013
Today, after consulted to my doctor, she said I need to get rest for 3 days. Bed rest. Oh well, at this moment, I could say I really love to heard that statement from her mouth. I feel so great, hahaa, even in other side, I feel so sick, deep in pain. My tonsil is in pain. Worse! Can’t handle it when I woke up and feel like a bunch of stones with needle on my tonsil. I can’t even swallow my own saliva, it feels so hurt. Terrible!
There’s so many reason why I finally catch this illness. First, I might drink so many ices in a terrible hot day – as I remember, I did that on my trip to Thousand Islands, last weekend – which was not a wise decision. Second, I might so tired after in a row did traveling and working, I could say I never get satisfy and can’t stand still in one place for a moment, as my feet always want to move on, so do my brain, I always think, what else can I do to bring some pleasure in my life. And yeah, I should admit, my body has a limit, it needs my attention, so now dear, I am yours, and you are mine, let’s take a rest in a proper way, hahaa.
PS : this is not taken when I am sick now, hahaa, my appearance now is terrible than it looks in the photo :D
A 3 days bed rest I could say is very perfect. Indeed tomorrow I have a big meeting which I should be there to arrange everything and as usual, keep the record of the meeting and make sure everyone can able to do the plans of actions afterward. I feel so bad because I can’t be there tomorrow, but honestly speaking, I am really feeling overwhelmed about it. The stress in my working place right now is one of thing that I want to avoid recently. When I told to my friend about what doctor told me, she just wisely said, don’t be worry about work, just get your rest. Oh well, the meeting and works still can happen normally, without me there, a hard truth but very true, hehehe. Anyway, I was so happy after that. I can continue my sleep without a guilty feeling. And maybe read some books while I can’t talk well with my sister because of my tonsil.
I love to do my job as the best as I could, but lately, it feels so hard from many sides. I lose my passion to work on my desk, which I suppose can’t be that. In a battle, in a dangerous moment, I am more respect people who realize the condition and just tell to each other honestly about the situation and maybe give some motivation to hold on the situation, but if they are pretending, that attitude makes me feel worse than it should be. I can’t pretending. And yes, we are in danger now. Well, at least maybe for me personally, honestly, it ruined my motivation at work. Gosh….
I spent 8 hours or more in my work, so working for me is importantly thing to do except my other daily activities. I am a perfectionist and want my things to be done in perfect way. But sometimes, it is so tiring, hiks, especially now, at this moment. I am so glad because my colleagues is a perfect people. We bound together very easily and warmly help to each other, for me, they are a great team work I’ve ever had.
As I ever read in someone’s book, “your job is not your career”, or I can humble added, your job is not your whole life, not your whole dream and not your whole passion. Deep inside my heart, I have so many dreams that contradiction from what I do at work, or maybe not, maybe what I do in my daily work can help me reaching my dreams in my heart now. I learn a lot how to meet with many kind of people character’s from my work, and my dreams also regarding to meeting with new people in the future.
If I can roughly quote from Lady Gaga said, “If you‘re wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn’t love you anymore.” I might agree in a note that your career is not supposed to be your job now. It can be more, it can be far beyond what you do today, it’s depend on your deep passion. Your career doesn’t mean not your job at this moment. You can be whatever you wanna be in the future. That’s your career.
I always believe what I do today, can be used for my next level, for what I wanna reach in the future. So if I do my best in every possibly chances I had, I can automatically help myself to shape my works, my talent, my capability in doing things I really want to do. In a right time, all I learned from now on, will help me a lot one day.
So that’s what I do when I lose my passion in work recently. I still keep in mind, I still remember, I can do anything I love to do beside my obligation of works. On my spare times, I can do anything I want. I can shape my hobby by doing that a bit everyday. I can pursue what I am imagining in the future by building step by steps since now, little by little, slowly but sure, I believe I will be in my right path one day. Today, what I do now, what’s on my hands now, will be used to reach passion that lies deep inside my heart.
A conversation with my best friend yesterday, remind me about this thing, that’s why I wanna write it tonight. As I take a look back on my past, I really amaze how can I be what I am to be right now. All my dreams such like accomplished one by one. I know, life can be so perfect, no one has a perfect life, life is a struggle things to fight for, life is a hard battle that should be done by strong people, and yes, we are indeed stronger than we know, don’t be worry about that. We are just need to press our strength to live this life to the fullest. Press a bit, and you will be amaze that you are stronger than you know.
Again, I am so grateful I am alive now, even now I need to bed rest for 3 days. Having a bad tonsil is not a great way to spending your times at home. But I see it in a positive ways, I can gain some energies, be healthy and still do my another passion while leaving the papers of work on my desk alone. You know guys, this life is far joyful beyond your understanding, this life is far greatest beyond what you do daily, this life is having so much things to be offered that you can explore, and being alive, having this breathe on our lungs, that’s mean we are still have a chance to explore it to the fullest, to the latest drop of blood we had. So, be positive, it depends on you to see things that might approach you now, be positive, no matter how hard and bad your conditions now :)
And yeah baby, after my rest, promise me, I will have a bunch of spirit to do my jobs :*
21 4 / 2013
30 March 2013
Continue to our journey to the Tunnels, the scenery along the way was changing from city to villages. As I can see, on our left and right sides there was rice field and people houses. It brought me to remember about my own country. For me, this kind of scenery is more interesting and peaceful than the look of a big city. I can’t understand the Vietnamese language even they always think I am one of them, so when my friend, Panda, asked in which place we can stop to reach the Tunnels, the Bus Driver, a young guy, answered her without such a good manner. Maybe it was his habit or maybe he wasn’t had a good day, but he mocked to us because we don’t know the way. Inappropriate! I don’t understand, I just sat there and waiting, but from their tones, I can tell, the man said something nasty, and Panda mad because of that. Fortunately for us, there were some Vietnamese guy who told us about the right place to stop.
After 1 hour on the bus, we finally make our stop. We saw a small store that sell some groceries and meals. I saw they also sell the Durian. Wow, I can’t escape for my desire to try Durian, especially Vietnam Durian, hahaha. So we stopped a while, buy the Durian and drink some waters. The Durians are so sweet and yummy, but you have to buy it in kilos, and they measured the weight of Durians including the skin of it. Hhahaa, a weird transaction, but if you count it, the price is not so expensive, quite same as in Indonesia, which usually we sell it by one piece of fruit, without the skin. It was sweet, yellow and smooth. Heaven! But the taste can not compare to Durians from Sumatera, which contain so much alcohol on it, make the Durians taste so strong.
From the owner of the store we know how to go to the Enter gate of the Tunnels. It was a terrible hot day. I felt like the Sun exactly above my head. My T-Shirt, was easily to getting wet. We walked to the Ben Dinh entrance and paid for 90.000 VND/person to enter the Tunnels. From the entrance to the real tunnels, it’s quite far. Actually the Tunnels have 2 entrance, you can choose from Ben Dinh, more for tourist or Benh Duoc, more for locals. At that time, we don’t know, so we just enter to the nearest gate from the Bus stop. I think, it was the Ben Dinh gate entrance.
Before arrived to the first place to start the tour, we saw a huge temple. My first time to see their real temple. I felt amazed and a bit scary at first, since it’s so vast and there’s no one at that time. So quite and the carving of their dragon, bring me to my nerves. But I thought, I should conquer my fears and come to inside the temple. So I made it, while Panda wait for me in the terrace.
Inside of the temple, you can find huge statue of Ho Chi Minh. Every Vietnamese that come to enter the building, make a pray first, before come inside. You have to take out your sandals/shoes, and give respect to Ho Chi Minh. Ho Chi Minh is a real hero for Vietnamese people, not only a good president, but he gave them an example to fight for their freedom. He was waking up the ardor of Vietnam people to live in free and develop their own country with their own strength. I have a strong passion to know great people, I always amaze how they have such big influence to so many human lives. After my trip to Vietnam, I saw and can feel, how Vietnamese respect to their first president, Ho Chi Minh, I can understand their feeling.
We continued our walk to find where is the Tunnels. It’s a big area. Of course it is, hahaha, it was a forest, wild forest, but because now it’s to showing to the world how they survived in their tunnels from the incursion of US armies, they build a road and make a pretty street to walk. You also can find some restaurant there, even when we were there, many are closed. I wonder why, because today is Saturday, it supposed as a busy day for services company, but the Tunnels is not so many tourist, maybe because it’s quite far from Saigon, or mostly people come early morning or late afternoon to avoid the sun.
Finally, there’s a sign of the starting point to the Tunnels. They also served you with tour guide, so you can understand the story of the Tunnels. Before we arrived in the starting point, we saw a place with loads of guns and pieces of heavy equipment such as tanks or planes or bomb that already broken to the pieces.
The Tour guide that lead us to the Tunnels wore an army color clothes, the green navy. With such a Vietnamese original hat. He leads us to one place for another places. He showed us and dare us to go with him to the Tunnels. We crossed the street, a simple road they built to easy tourist come and follow the Tunnels’s track. After walked for a while, we arrived in Cinema room. It’s a room to introduce us what happened in the Tunnels, and how people made it. It gives us a short information, why they built it and how it worked. It was a good moment for me to take a break and have a nice sit after brought my heavy backpack around.
After 10 minutes watching the video played in small television, we continued our tour. The guide had a simple English. Good for me that I was accompanied by a Vietnamese friend that fluently speak English. She helped me a lot to translate the story and actually, you can understand a bit by seeing their tunnels and the function for every tunnels.
We reached a short tunnels and the Tour Guide dare us to go inside. Wow, it’s so small hole. Only enough for Asian figure as mine. That’s the purpose of created that small hole, so The US Army can not come inside to the tunnels, because they have a big appearance. But don’t underestimate the Tunnels, it looks so small from surface, but once you come inside, you will amaze how the tunnels has a big room underground. Usually, they cover the door of the Tunnels, by put a huge stone upon it and give a small hole for breathing. Sometimes, it doesn’t look at all as the door and they cover it with some plantations so enemies can not find their secret entrance. Not only they covered the door to the Tunnels, they also made some bobby traps inside the Tunnels, if Strangers come inside and don’t know the area, they also can fall to the bobby traps which having sharp wood or iron that ready to break your flesh.
Be careful when you visit inside, because there are bats sitting quietly on the rooftop. It will be dangerous if you’re get biting by them, cause their bites are poisoning. And don’t be afraid to get yourself a bit dirty, that’s the fun of visiting the Tunnels. You will see they planned the Tunnels very well, from the meeting room, the kitchen, the bedroom, the operation room, even the small cinema with a room that lead them directly to the lake, so they can swim or had shower, it’s all there, on the underground. I was so amazed imagine how they need to digging step by step and take out all the soil inside to create a huge room under, without modern equipment, only by manual equipment, such as wood, bamboos or by some hoes. Amazing how they have the spirit to finished it and make a safe refuge and shelter for their people.
Finished with Tunnels, we were heading to Cao Dai temple. The temple located in Tay Ninh, Panda’s hometown. We took a cheap bus which lead us to a very long journey in bumpy road. Panda had to stand up along the way, and I can got a seat few moments before we finally arrived in Cao Dai temple.
Took this bus also another story. The bumpy road made one grandma feel so terrible. She often put a face who easy to vomit, and yes, she was vomit finally in a plastic bag. The Bus crew who asked us for the ticket money, appeared to have been prepared many plastick bags. Make me sure there are many passengers who vomit in the bus because of the bumpy road. I didn’t know the grandma, but I try to massage her back once she finished vomit. So sad, she looked so terrible.
Came a old man to the bus. From his breathe, I can sense he just drank so many wines/alcohol. What made me shocked when he come inside the bus and let his fingers stand still in the Bus’s door. Just a minute before the door closed, I pulled his fingers from the door. If not, I can’t imagine what will happened to that fingers if squeezed by the door, ouch. But he seems not so realized what was happened. He smiling all the time like a dumb person, and another minutes, he spoke with loud to other Vietnamese, which I can understand what happened, but later on, there’s an argue inside the bus. Even the Bus crew, that old lady, scream to him very loud! Panda explained to me, that he just told a nasty thing so made people angry. I really think he wasn’t realized what he did, poor drunk man.
It took around 3 hours from the Tunnels to Cao Dai, actually it shouldn’t be that long. We were taking the public bus which taking the long route, we mistook the number of the bus, so we have to be in that bumpy road for 3 hours, which really made me and Panda so tired. Almost 6 pm once we arrived to the temple. A bad luck because they have service at 6 pm, and possibly will not allow us to come inside the temple. Again, my friend Panda was trying so hard to let them allow me to see inside of the temple. After a tough conversation, finally they allow me to come take a quick visit inside of the temple.
I was so happy also a bit scary. The temple is unusual temple as I ever saw before. It’s very colorful, pink and many bright color, looks so cheerful but in the otherside, also look so mysterious. The dragon relief and the big eyes, an eye they believe can see all direction, bring me in an eerie feeling. I should admit, I was a feeling scare but also awesome. I amazed with their art work, I amazed with their culture, I amazed when I see many people sit down nicely with their with long dress waiting for the service hour. They all looked at me when I come inside, especially because I was wearing a short pant. I shouldn’t be allowed! I felt a bit ashamed, but the rush permission made me can’t change or even cover my legs before come inside.
A priest came to us and showed us the temple. We did the quick one way around the temple. And he told me where to stop and take a picture. OMG, I really can’t speak anything. I know it was made by human, but for me, this is so awesome and freaking scary. An unusual temple such brings you a feeling of beautiful and hideous. It’s prohibited to take your own pictures once you are inside of the temple. My friend told me that it can bring bad luck to you. So I didn’t take any picture of mine, I also a bit hard to take a picture of the temple with that walk in hurry that we did. I can understand, because in another minutes, the services will be begun. And only because of me, they need to delay it a bit.
I am really curious about Cao Dai sect, so I google a bit about them and want to share it with you ;
Cao Dai is a syncretist Vietnamese religious movement that incorporates aspect of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and even Catholicism. The temple was built between 1933 – 1950. The faith is named for its supreme being, known as Cao Dai (“High Tower”), a Taoist epithet for the supreme god. Cao Dai is seen as the same God honored in all major world religions, but the chosen term avoids gender, personality or other earthly attributes.
Caodaists believe that all religions are the same in principle. CaoDai.org explains:
“The noble effort of CaoDai is to unite all of humanity through a common vision of the Supreme Being, whatever our minor differences, in order to promote peace and understanding throughout the world. CaoDai does not seek to create a gray world, where all religions are exactly the same, only to create a more tolerant world, where all can see each other as sisters and brothers from a common divine source reaching out to a common divine destiny realizing peace within and without.”
Cao Dai’s pantheon of saints includes such diverse figures as the Buddha, Confucius, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Pericles, Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc, Victor Hugo, and the Chinese revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen. These are honored at Cao Dai temples, along with ancestors.
Cao Dai followers strive for inner peace and harmony in the world and try to gain religious merit and avoid bad karma. Cao Dai encourages obedience to the three duties (those between king and citizen, father and child, husband and wife) and five virtues (humanity, obligation, civility, knowledge, reliability) of Confucianism.
Followers are expected to participate regularly in worship services, practice vegetarianism at least ten days per month, purify their body and spirit and avoid killing living beings.
After finished visiting the temple, we were heading to Panda’s house. I met with Lucky, her puppy that so active and welcome us around. Our body so tired and just after clean myself and have a bit conversation, I went to sleep while Panda still talking with her husband through Skype.
Good night people, I will continue the story tomorrow morning :)
17 4 / 2013
30 March 2013
It’s my 3rd day in Vietnam. Today, we wanna go to Tay Ninh, a hometown of Panda, my friend. But before we will stay over in her house, we will stop to see the famous Chu Chi Tunnels and Cao Dai Temple. I was so happy, cause I ever read in so many testimonial that going to Tunnels and the Temple need 1 day trip and it’s quite far from Saigon. I haven’t planned to go there, because we want to visit Panda’s house, so I can get a chance to go there. So happy!
We woke at 7 am. We didn’t get so much sleep since we just arrived to our hotel at 3 am and we sleep around 4 am. But I was so exciting for the real trip we will make, out from Saigon. We had an appointment to go breakfast together with Tra. It will be my last time to meet her. She came to us with her beautiful long skirt. We were meeting up in Du Bac Church, the Notre Dame. I haven’t seen inside so I wonder how it looks like.
It looks alike with church in Paris! Even it a bit smaller and the painting not so glamor as in Paris, but still, the church is having French culture. Panda took her time to prayed when I saw around.
After that, I told Tra that I really want to try the street food. I am so lucky because I come from Asia continent. I used to eat any kind of food, from the very dirty street food to the five stars restaurant. I don’t get any stomache problem. And all street foods I saw in Saigon, really tempting me a lot. So we went to one of the street food, finally I tried their famous French Bread Sandwich! For the drink, I chose the passion fruit juice while my friend wants the orange juice. The bread sandwich looks so ordinary, but the taste is so yummy. Again, they fill inside the bread with pork or jambon, as French called it, ummm.. yummyyy… For the passion fruit, it’s quite simple one. They took one passion fruit, open it, put all the inside of the fruit to the plastic, then put water and sugar. Voilaaa… Very nice sweet sour juice, with the crunchy of the seed you can eat :P
For the orange juice, it’s totally different with I used to taste in Indonesia. It tasted a bit sweet and sour, sour as take from orange’s pickle, not from fresh orange. We want to try the Vietnamese coffee but we think me and Panda should go now if we wanna go to the Tunnel and Temple. It was so nice to meeting up with Tra, I hope she can make it to go to Europe this year, as she told me her dreams.
Going around with bus in Vietnam is another story. That’s quite true it’s easier to backpack in Europe due to their transportation system, than in Asia country. Most time, you need to take taxi, which so expensive, rather than to take bus. I have no idea where you can find bus and what number the correct bus, since not every one speak English in Vietnam, I said again, not every one. So I was feeling so lucky to have Panda accompanied me to that trip.
Actually, there’s so much places to visit in Saigon, such as Ho Chi Minh Museum, the Post Office, another museums, another museums.. But I haven’t went to that places, since I was more enjoyed to do what I can do, such as lunch and dinner with friends. Btw, I am thinking I gain so much weigh after return from Vietnam, hehehe. My time also so limited, even comparing to 2-3 days trip in Saigon, usually people already went to many places. But traveling taught you to be flexible with your destination, even honestly to say, I wanna go to every places, I wanna to see the city in details, I wanna see their pride history.
After hop to one bus and arrived in a bus station. I forget the name of it. We took bus #79 and go to the Tunnels. It was confusing me a bit, because I saw so many buses with Chu Chi destination. But the bus #79 is the right bus to go to the tunnels. Bus in Vietnam is quite cheap, cost you around 5000 VND/person (0,25 cent). What amaze me is their habit to throw the garbage in the trash bin? There’s always trash bin inside of the bus, and people will put their garbage there. Small action, but I don’t find that in Indonesia. Usually, people who will ask you for the money, is old lady and wearing a hat, a long sleeve clothes with long pants, which for me, between the motives there’s not match at all. I don’t say it in arrogant sound, but I found it interesting how they don’t care whether they use flower shirt mixed with polkadot pants and use funny hat. For them, clothes is just clothes, to protect you from heat and dust. And it’s totally right, don’t you think?
Some snacks seller come inside the bus and I was curious about one kind of snack they sell, it was a rice paper snacks, but you have to make it by yourself. Now I understand, the hobby of Vietnamese hehehe, they love to roll something, hahahaa… Well, we bought 1 pack and Panda showed me how to make the snack, first put the rice paper on your lap, then put some peanut there, roll it, and put it to the spicy sauce which made of brown sugar, water and chilli. Eat that! It was a bit hard, the rice paper already a bit dried, so I need some extra tooth to bite it, but it tasted nice and of course very fun to make our own snacks, hahaha.
Wanna try to make that snack? Hehe, come to Vietnam ;)
14 4 / 2013
What could I say about Vietnam?
My impression from one of famous city in Vietnam, Saigon, can not be counted as precise impression about the whole Vietnam. I agree that Saigon is crowded city. The motor bikers worst it, but I really feeling strange if I saw how the craziest motorbikes riders there, then I heard from my friend that the accident in Vietnam is very small. Wow!
If I can compare them with my own comparison, I can say the riders of motor in Vietnam same like the riders of Bajaj here. Only the driver and God who know where they want to go. Whether they want to turn left or right, or just suddenly turn around. It’s only God and the driver who knows it. Believe me!
I put my shock and surprise behind my pocket. I try to enjoy the riding when my friend brought me around with her motor, and it was so surprisingly weird because I started to enjoy it and get used to their driving habit. Also it was making me amaze how they can ride the motor, talking with me, wear the skirt, sometimes mini skirts and heels, without being clumsy. It’s remembering me about how Netherlanders ride their bicycle with mobile phone on their hands, using their boot heels, and riding without any fear or confusing. Great people! Hahaha.
If you compare apple to apple between Jakarta and Saigon or Hanoi, you can see a big gap between those cities. First, Jakarta is extremely huge comparing to that both famous city in Vietnam. Second, in my humble opinion, Jakarta is more organized and luxury comparing to Saigon and Hanoi. But the charm of these famous city, can’t comparing to Jakarta. Saigon and Hanoi have so many beautiful and unique building because of French influence to them over 100 years. It brought me a feeling that I’m walking in Paris than in one city of Asia. A Paris with the taste of Asia. For me, it’s very unique! Saigon also a clean city in some areas.
Honestly to admit, in this country, I learned how to eat everything, well, in this case, I could say such as vegetables. I eat so many leaves that I never eat before, and some I knew but I never tried it in Indonesia, and it felt so good. Delicious. Not only that, the food itself, always so great. This is my first time I ate so many pork, since in Jakarta, I don’t really like pork, no matter how they cook it in delicious ways. But in Vietnam, I ate that without hesitate, yummy!
In Vietnam, you also can find fruits as your snack. I really think, that’s why women in Vietnam always look so slim and pretty. Because they eat many vegetables and fruits.Not so many junk food here, they have delicious cuisine, they don’t need junk food :P
If you are in Saigon, and feel bore, it’s so easy to go to the Bar and find your own good time by tasting their cocktail and listening their nice music. That night, we just walk from one bar to another bar after had a great dinner in a boat.
There was another story for our nice experience on the boat. By eating in the boat, we can enjoying Saigon city at night. It was so beautiful. The food itself so many. Not only food and the evening scenery you will enjoy, the owner of the boat restaurant is working really hard to entertain their guest. Suddenly, in the middle of our dinner, there’s a performance of a girl. A dancer. Dance from R & B Music and suddenly take off her jacket and pants, then only bikini and she made a dance performance with ring and fire. Quite entertaining, even I feel a little bit confuse with that such a performance in a public restaurant with kids watch it.
But that’s Saigon, that’s Vietnam, comparing to Jakarta, they are modern in the way of thinking and appearance. If in Jakarta, it’s such a big problem to showing up with bikini in public area, in Vietnam it’s not a problem at all. Hahhaa.. People can express themselves with anything they want. As long as it doesn’t cross any laws. I really think, after seeing another countries beside my own country, that belief and religion can influence the culture people have.
After that great evening dinner, we continued the night by hop from one bar to another bar. I can say, another thing which is different between Jakarta and Saigon is their bar. If in Jakarta, you need to pay quite expensive for go to luxury bar, in there, just small bar from outside can be so cool inside. And from one bar to another bar is so close which you can reach by feet.
We chose to go to Sheraton Hotel, on the 23th Floor, there’s a cool pub that’s quite grand. From here, you can see the city of Saigon. What a nice view!
After Sheraton, we went to another bars which I forget the name of it. But as I remember, we also went to Beirut Garden, a nice place to chill out and had a good conversation or just joking. Our famous and unforgettable joke is when we were teasing Ben to dance naked, hhahaa, which absolutely he didn’t do it. If he do, I will upload it on Youtube, lol.
Me and Panda, my other Vietnamese friend, stayed in one nice cheap hotel in District 1, a famous road for backpacker area. Why I said it is nice? Because comparing to other cheap hotel in Saigon, it far much better. It has a clean bathroom, a shower, hot water, Air Con, and clean bed. Oh so happy! Before we found this place, Panda and I went to a place that Panda knows it’s very cheap. Such $7/night. When we arrived there, we know why it’s cheap.. There’s no window, so the room is dark and clumsy. We both not agree for that room. Thanks God that we finally found place much better! Even it’s more expensive, such as $10/night, who cares? We want to sleep well tonight. If you want to go to this hotel, I can recommend you, it’s a good hotel ; Hotel Xuan Dan, 63 Nguyen Cu Trinh Q1 - Ho Chi Minh, phone : 8365491 or 9205872.
Time is almost over. The sun soon will shine. Time for me and Panda to go back to our hotel. After laughing so many times that night, a combination by the effect of cocktails and a happy evening and nice people to hang out with, we both walked to our hotel and go to sleep.
Another adventure waits for us on the next day.
12 4 / 2013
Still… 29 March 2013
After a long walk around in Reunification Palace, I walk across the park in front of the Palace.The park is famous with young people gathered there to just sit, listen music or having a chit chat with their friend. I also saw some people do the picnic there or just sitting and eat something.
For me, the park itself so cool. I wish I can stop a while and enjoying the surrounding, but instead of stop, I continue my walk to a building that color pink out there.
That was a Notre Dame, or what Vietnamese called as Duc Bac Church. This original name of a place always make me confuse and distract the conversation with my Vietnamese friends. They always mentioned it as “Duc Bac Church” when at the same time, I only remember the name is Notre Dame. So I always said ; “Where is Duc Bac?” and they always asked me “Where is Notre Dame?” …. Language oh language…
I didn’t stop in Notre Dame, cause the heat pushed me to find an Air-Con room and calm my self first before taking another step to see the city.
It was a very hot day. Even for me, a Tropical girl, I can’t stand on it. I feel so thirsty and sweating. I’m looking for an Air Con room, I’m sorry my Traveler soul, I need a comfortable space right now. Then my eyes saw a building with name I am so familiar with, The Coffee Beans and Leaves! Yuuhuuu… I ordered one blended Oreo and Cookies Frappuccino… I feel so relieved! That sweet cold drink made me feel much better. Now I can breathe. It is so nice to be inside of cool room, while outside is so hot like an hell. I am a little bit feeling guilty myself, hahaa, cause I always consider to choose local food or local drink when I am traveling comparing to eat western food. But this time, only this time, let me entertain myself with that sweet temptations cold drink in front of me.
I was waiting for a friend. She lives in Tay Ninh, 2 hours from Saigon. It’s really a cool thing how we both know to each other. As I said before in another article, I was planned to go to Vietnam since year ago. But I canceled it. When I plan to go to a place, I usually try to find local friends first, so I understand the country a bit before I arrive. Then, we already contact for a year. We’ve been chat and added to each other in Facebook but never meet face to face, until today. She will come in the next few hours and we will go to the trip together to some cities in Vietnam. I was so exciting! It felt like meeting with an old friend. Then Tra joined me in the Coffee Shop then Panda came.
After got some breathe, we were heading to a restaurant for lunch. Again, it was Tra’s idea and her choice always brilliant! She brought us to a place that really beautiful!
The decoration inside it looks so hommy and old, but clean and the food? Don’t ask me… Again, Oh GOSH!! I love Vietnam food!
I forget the name of those meals. I really can’t understand Vietnamese, even I always considered as Vietnamese from my look and eyes, but believe me, I don’t understand their language. They have so many accent or punctuation mark on their words so make me difficult to pronounce their words, even their name.
After that very delicious food, I think, as I remembered, we paid around 300.000,- VND for the three of us. We shared the bill and I thought it can be considered as cheap for eating a lunch as that.
Me and Panda continued the journey to visit the War Remnants Museum. It was built on 1975, after the Americans gone. Located in District 3, if you are a bit confuse how to get there, grab taxi. Mai Linh Taxi is the expensive one but trust able comparing to others. We paid for 15.000 VND/each, and the museum is opened until 5 pm. This museum is counted as the most popular museum in Saigon for Western Tourist.
I didn’t expect the Museum will turns me so sad after visit the place. Inside of it, there’s some rooms that generally divided as 3 floors; in first floor, you can see the children section such as the children drawing or activities when and post the war time.
Then we were heading to the up stair. There, I gasped on shock when I see the pictures in the wall. It was tearing my heart so bad. The Museum tells you a lot about the Vietnam War and what happened at that time. There is so bad to see from pictures how the Americans spread the toxic through their mission such as Agent Orange, Agent Pink, Agent Purple, etc, to destroyed some villages and cities in Vietnam. I was moving in heart when I see it all with my own eyes. There’s also some pieces of the bombs, the guns they used, fractional aircraft, mask and things that collected to be remember of that era.
As I can quote from the statement in their wall, here’s some brief introduction of the Museum :
“In the war of aggression in Vietnam, the US not only used conventional bombs and armaments, but also chemical weapons to wipe out surrounding natural resources and prevent the forward march of the Liberation Army of South Vietnam. In the 10 years from 1961-1971, toxic rains poured down continuously on Central and South Vietnam, defoliating mountains, plains and crops, destroying clean water resources and upsetting the delicate ecological balance.
According to US Defence Department data, from 1961-1971, the US Air Force sprayed 72 millions litres of toxic chemicals of various types on Vietnam, including 44 millions litres of Agent Orange containing 170 kg of dioxin. In a study by scientist at Colombia University (New York) published in Nature magazine, the total volume of toxic chemicals that the US sprayed over Vietnam amounted to approximately 100 million litres, and the content of dioxin reported was double that of previously announced figures. According to the study, 3,851 communes suffered direct chemical spraying and the chemical directly affected between 2.1 and 4.8 million Vietnamese people.”
I don’t understand why after Ho Chi Minh as Vietnam’s president declared Vietnam as Independent Country after colonialized by France for over 100 years, in Hanoi 1945, then suddenly America came and tried to make safe Vietnam but it made them worst and suffered!
”.. Vietnam has the right to enjoy freedom and independence and has really become a free and independent country. The entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilize all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their liberty and independence.” - Ho Chi Minh, 2 Sept 1945
I tried to google a bit, then I think, this opinion finds me good ;
“From 1946 until 1954, the Vietnamese had struggled for their independence from France during the First Indochina War. At the end of this war, the country was temporarily divided into North and South Vietnam. North Vietnam came under the control of the Vietnamese Communists who had opposed France and who aimed for a unified Vietnam under Communist rule. The South was controlled by Vietnamese who had collaborated with the French. In 1965 the United States sent in troops to prevent the South Vietnamese government from collapsing. Ultimately, however, the United States failed to achieve its goal, and in 1975 Vietnam was reunified under Communist control; in 1976 it officially became the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. During the conflict, approximately 3 to 4 million Vietnamese on both sides were killed, in addition to another 1.5 to 2 million Lao and Cambodians who were drawn into the war.
No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now. —Richard M. Nixon, 1985”
It teared so bad when I saw the effect of that chemical. Not only it can killed people immediately, but worst of it, it effects the next generation. There are so many babies born around 1990 above that still effect by that toxic.
I learned a lot from the pictures I saw there. I see the positive energies of Vietnamese people through the pictures. It was so true what I read from a Travel Book before I departed to Vietnam. I ever wrote it on my Facebook wall;
“…. Lucy Forwood (Discovery Channel) has lived in Vietnam since 1992 ; “If there’s one spirit that you can’t escape in this country, it’s the irrepressible optimism of the Vietnamese. And it’s so infectious, I guarantees that when you leave, you’ll bring something of that optimism home with you.” - a good statement to starting plan my trip :) FEEL IT!! Yayyyyy!! :) #Vietnam ….” March 25.
And it is so true. Their eagerness of living and passion to live their life to the fullest touched my heart. If you see this photo below, you will understand how I feel.
I remember how I sometimes complaining about my own life. I know I am not an angel, we are not. But saw their pictures make me realize how lucky I am and how beautiful my life is. I should never complain and never give up. I should live my life to the fullest as how they cited to me.
No matter what the reason is, never never NEVER brings RIGHT and HAPPINESS. Too many victims, too many suffering, too many savage from war. It’s never right. NEVER.
Once you finish see inside, go to the yard, near to the Exit Gate, there is another room for showing us the TIGER CAGES, a special cell for the detention of political prisoner considered as “stubborn” by the Saigon Authorities. Again it is so sad :(
I wish peace now over Vietnam and other countries in the world, as Jimi Hendrix ever said ; When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.
10 4 / 2013
29 March 2013
I woke up feeling a little bit weird.
Where I am now?
Then I saw a girl sleep next to me. Tra still felt asleep and now the sun already rose above us. I can hear some noises made by motorcycles out there. Once I finally woke up, she’s wake up too. Then I went to take shower first. Then both of us heading to her office first, before went to eat breakfast in a cool place, she mention to me.
Tra works in a cool company. An international company which has some branches world wide. Lucky for her. I was waiting for her a while out side and take a look to daily life of Vietnamese people. It was Friday. In Indonesia, on Good Friday, we have a National Holiday, but not in Vietnam, they are still go to work. OMG, I saw the electricity cables is so crowded! So that’s true what people said about the cable electricity in Vietnam. I have no idea, how the Public Electricity Workers can understand which cable if something broken and need to be fixed.
Once Tra appeared, we both go to eat Pho. Yiiipppiiieee! It will be my first Pho in the Pho’s Country – Vietnam! Yeahh!! It was too big for us. The portion not fit for a breakfast, more as lunch. But the taste is so heavenly delicious! Tra also ordered a sweet desert for both of us, yoghurt with black beans. It tasted sour and sweet. I love it.
The place itself is so cool. It decorated with the atmosphere of outside. Make you feel like you are outdoor, not indoor. The walls they painted with houses painting. They made the floor also look like road street, with some lamps to complete it. Cool idea I think, I haven’t seen this kind of restaurant before.
After our very satisfied breakfast, we went to buy a simcard. Many thanks for Tra who found me the simcard and make me connected to Internet and Blackberry Messenger. It’s good for me to keep in touch with my family and friends in Indonesia. I paid for 80.000 VND (Vietnam Dong) for getting 7 days internet package and some credit to make phone and calls. I feel relieved, we live in modern society, can not live without internet on our hands.. that’s a truth.
Then she dropped me in Reunification Palace, which is located in the heart of Saigon city, at Ben Thanh. After promise to meet up again for lunch together, she went back to her office and I was continue enter the palace. I paid for 20.000 VND ($1) and the place is open all the week from 7.30 AM to 11.30AM and 1.00PM to 5.00 PM. I saw before some people want to enter the Palace but it’s already closed. They are quite strict with the opening and closing time. Guided tours in English are also available. But I didn’t take that :P Getting there is extremely easy by taxi, motorbike or walking, as the palace is so well-known and right in the center.
It’s a huge building which make you understand how the way President use to lived before. When I was there, some children also come inside with their teacher, I think they were in a school tour. A bit noisy, but remind me of my childhood also. They were running from one place to another place. If you’re not get use to noisy, please be prepare with it. For me my self, I wait a bit to visit the places after the kids see it, so I don’t need to throng around with them. It was a extremely hot day, sweating a lot, and won’t be so nice if you jostle with other people in small room.
Reunification palace known as Independence Palace before the fall of Saigon to communists. First built in 1962 as a former Presidential Palace. It consist of 4th floor, and I went to all of them. The palace bombed on April 1975 by the F5E fighter plane. And crush by tank 843 which let to the final assault through the palace gate. You still can see the tank and the fighter plane on the right side after you come enter the gate.
This palace was as home and command center of General Nguyen Van Thieu, Head of a Military Junta who came to power after the first President of South Vietnam was assassinated in 1963. In underground area, you can see many rooms use for commanding, making strategy, telephone or spread communications and information, controlling the war and the army. I guess General is so busy, cause I saw a bed in one of the room underground.
The opposite of dark, mysterious and busy underground area, you can see the first until third floor as place for President to meeting, handling guest or even for pleasure. I saw there’s a playing room and cinema also, very cool! The glamor dining room also bed room and some conference and living room.
On the top of it, there’s a huge hall and an uni-helicopter model made in US. A copy plane to let you know what General Nguyen Van Thieu use when he went on tours of inspection before 1975.
It’s a worth visit if you are in the city of Saigon!
09 4 / 2013
28 March 2013
It was a hot day in Jakarta. In early morning, I already packed and checked again my stuff. In total, I will bring 3 bags. Quite inconvenience I know, but one is my backpack, one is the camera bag and one is my hand bag. On this small body, I always feel kind of amazing how can I get that muscle to carry it all. Anyway, with my sister bring me to the road with her motorbike, I try to stabilize my balance, since I also need to bring my laptop and put there on my office desk before leaving the Office for Vietnam.
Trip from my home to the office is took 2 hours, with inconvenience bus and a public car. My body was starting to sweat and I am so dizzy to lift all those bags and trying my best for not disturbing other’s passenger in the bus. Finally I took the taxi after reaching Rambutan Shelter, I can’t stand on it anymore. Can’t imagine if I need to go with 4 bags on my hands using that troubled bus I usually do every week days.
Arrive in the office, actually my mind wasn’t there anymore. I always saw the clock waiting for my break time. I already asked permission to go on break time, I submitted 5,5 days off permission, and my boss approved it. In total, I will be in Vietnam for 11 days.
Ahh yes! Finally time to go!
After said goodbye to some of my colleagues, and put my laptop on the rack. I was heading to Lebak Bulus Shelter. It took 30 minutes from my office to arrive there. Time still 11.30 pm but I already eager to go. I was afraid the traffic can be so bad, since today is the long weekend. Tomorrow, people will celebrate Good Friday, so some people I believe also go to other cities as well to get a vacation.
We have a convenience bus to go to the airport. It quite cheap. Cost 25k Rupiah and the bus has big seat, AC, adapter for charging your phone and if you are lucky, a good music! It called DAMRI bus. Just as my assumption, the traffic was quite bad. Traffic everywhere, luckily I decided to go a little bit earlier. After plug my Blackberry and Tab to the charger, I sat nicely and felt into the sleep once the bus went on.
My flight will be on 4.35 pm from Jakarta, and reaching Ho Chi Minh at 7.40 pm. At 1 pm, I already arrived in Soekarno Hatta International Airport – Jakarta. For International flight, you have to be there at least 2-3 hours before departure, to manage the check in – luggage – immigration process, and everything. Glad I was arrived on time and still have so many times to wait in the waiting room.
Oh well, I was so exciting, nervous and feel so happy. A friend that lives in Saigon will pick me up from the airport. She was so nice and gave me so many information. I was so glad I can meet her. Maybe I was too exciting so I didn’t catch sleep so properly, that’s why I feel a little bit sleepy. I saw two Foreign Traveler slept, one on the floor and one on the chairs. They don’t care with anything at all.
I tried to sleep on the chair with my backpack as my pillow. Then I move to another chair to seeing the information board easily. I don’t want to miss the flight. Maybe when I was move, my Ipod felt down from my pocket. That’s the second silly things I did in this trip, except forget bring my ATM card as I said in my previous article.
A little bit disappointed with my own self because losing the Ipod, I heard they called my flight. I stand on the line, I decided to not ruin my mood by feeling bad because the Ipod. Anyway, I still have 10 days to enjoy life, being on vacation and seeing new things. I was away from my working desk and can do whatever I wanna do or experience. I was so EXCITING!
Promptly at 7.40 pm, we reached Ho Chi Minh, the Tan Son Nhat airport. As our conversation, Tra, my new Vietnamese friend will wait me in the building with BIG Canon ad on it. I tried to ask the airport crew, but their English quite bad, so I prefer to find out how to go there once I saw the ad. I remember what Tra told me to ask to young people, they know English better and mostly can speak English. That’s true. I approached a girl, and she told me how to go out from the airport and go to that building.
As I haven’t bought any local simcard yet, my phone still roaming and soon my credit was gone when I received call from Tra. Don’t you think it’s quite annoying to have the different phone provider, why don’t they make it all same as same adapter in every where, so we don’t need to buy Traveler Multi International Charger which so expensive for me (around 40$/each). After some short confused, finally I met her! She rode her own motor bike, with beautiful polkadot dress, long hair and heels. Can’t you imagine?! How amaze I am seeing the Vietnamese easily ride their motorbike with their heels and skirt!
What shock me on my first impression about Saigon is, how so many, I say again, so many motorbikes on the street. Crazy!!! They have opposite system as in Indonesia, which make me a little bit dizzy at first. Motorbikes can turn left or right without any sign at all! Look like Bajaj in Indonesia, hahaha, only God and them know which direction they wanna go. Another contrast that I saw is Motorbikes Riders only use simple helmet. Not the full-face ones, which in Indonesia, if you wear that kind of helmet, police will catch you and drop you to the jail. But I guess, rule in Vietnam is different with one had in Indonesia, they are ok with that kind of helmet.
Another fascinating observation I had is when I see so many street foods every where. OMG. I wanna try it all! What is quite funny for me is the chairs they had for eating in street foods. It’s not like the normal chair, it’s quite short and small one. I even saw women with skirt and boots eating comfortably in that kind of chairs. Very funny for me all this distinction.
You know what another odd thing for me? How they number the motorbike while parking. The parking man will write the number on the motorcycle seat with white chalk. Hihihiiii… Simple but for me it’s so exciting. Maybe because I tend to see in details to observe some differences we had between Indonesia and Vietnam.
We ate our dinner in beautiful restaurant. I was so hungry because I skip lunch in order to eat Vietnamese food. Tra brought me to a very nice Hoi-An Restaurant. As it name, this restaurant serve you the Hoi-An cuisine with Hoi-An decoration. Honestly, I can’t recognize which one is Hoi An decoration, and which one not. In my general opinion, the decoration look like Japanese. But I remember, there’s also Japanese bridge in Hoi-An. A coincidence? I don’t know.
Quickly Tra ordered some food for both of us. I told her I can eat anything. And I trust her for my digestion, hahahaa. She is from Hoi-An province, that’s why she love to bring me to this Restaurant. I was glad so, because I have the idea what Hoi-An cuisine looks like. She ordered the grill fish, banana flower, fish on the pot plus rice paper for us to make our own spring roll and squid. All was soooooo delicious!
Immediately, my belly fill with those amazing food. This is heaven. This is what I know and always listen about Vietnam, their food are so yummy and be ready to gain some weight! We close the food with hot tea. Oh well, the taste of tea is quite different with I used to drink. It contains with seed of something, which I don’t know. Taste like the Sunflower seed or something, but it was so nice, very fit with the seafood we ate that night.
I was so exciting learning to make my own spring roll, even Tra showed me how to make it, but still I can’t fold the rice papers as good as she did. Poor me!
The Banana Flower, a veggie that I know before but don’t want to eat in Indonesia, because I think it’s bitter, amazingly taste very nice. After time reached to 11 pm. We went to Tra’s renting room. I was so lucky to meet her and can stay in her place for one night. I brought one of Eiffel’s painting for her, cause I know she wants to go to Europe one day, maybe this year. We had a good conversation before we sleep. I met with her brother, a shy guy that actually can understand English but ashamed to talk.
My first night in Saigon is so great. I believe another days will be exhilarate. I can’t wait for another adventures coming tomorrow.
Now I said goodbye to the world. I was closing my eyes in the sky of Saigon.
09 4 / 2013
28 3 / 2013
I love the question because it’s tickle me a lot.
For me, I was starting to travel since years ago. Hahaha, not that so long actually, but my travel at that time still in the definition : Traveling with family, friends or boyfriend. At least, I have to be with someone and can’t go with strangers or alone. How very narrow I was. Or maybe, it’s normally thinking for some normal people.
It was a pretty fun when I found out myself as not “normal person” - hahaha, don’t get me wrong, what I mean here, because I find myself always like to get something new, not afraid of standing in different line and confidence enough to decide my own life. It’s not just happened so casually, but I think the situation also force me to be who I am now.
Started by my first trip backpacking alone in Europe, different culture, lifestyle, system, language, from what I use to in Indonesia, I conquer my fears and nervous and trust me, it felt so GOOD!
Even I honestly say, sometimes I was feeling so terrible afraid and scare with all the new things I found out and face up, but later, it brings me such an ecstasy. It made my heart delight, and now, after my first trip solo, I am so ready for another adventures called travel.
For some people, spending money to travel is a stupid things. They prefer to buy fancy car, nice house and gold, which ok, I also agree with that, maybe because my money not that so much, so I prefer to spend it to seeing new things, different countries, meet people. As a statement I ever read, “Traveling is only thing that you buy and make you richer.”
I will tell you something, as a traveler, you should be flexible and enjoy everything you meet or happen to you. Like a bumpy road, terrible jerk, bad beer or handsome with blue eyes as your short crush for few hours. Anything can be possible and that’s make everything so fun to do. But apart from that, you should allow yourself to make silly things, such what I did just now, hahaha, I forget to buy my Rupiah (Indonesian money) because I only bring my dollars, then I remember, I still have to paid for the airport tax in Soekarno Hatta Airport, and I check my wallet, my ATM is with my sister, oh gossshh! Then again I have 2 options : change my dollar into Rupiah again (so stupid) or borrow money for paying the airport tax from my colleague, I chose number 2. Glad he is a traveler too and understand with my nerves to go to Vietnam. Hahahaha.
So here I am now folks, I am so ready for my today’s trip to Vietnam! This time I am departing alone from Jakarta, but I won’t be lonely because there so many nice people I will meet on my road there. I believe so!!
Wish me luck!