During the last couple of days I’ve felt more and more tired and run-down. Yesterday, when I got to Saigon, I hit a wall and was exhausted. I went to a favorite pho spot around the corner from my budget hotel and on my way back to my room grabbed a beer from the lobby fridge to settle in for the night. The manager laughed, reminding me that it was VERY early. It didn’t feel early at all!

I had a lazy night full of good American TV re-runs such as Dog Whisperer, Glee, and other favorites. At about 9:00 I fell asleep in front of the TV and woke up today at 6:30 feeling better, but wondering why I was so tired.

This morning I looked at the date: June 13 – one month ago I landed in Singapore at 2 a.m. I’m now about 1/3 of the way through this trip. WOW.

This morning a fellow guest at my hotel asked me about my travels. I listed the places I had been in the past month; his eyes were wide as he also said “Wow!”

This realization has prompted me to review my journal and doings in the the last month, as much for myself as for my readers. I also realize I’ve left out photos of some great sights and places. This will give me a chance to share those as well.

May 14: Arrived in Singapore at 2 am. Spent the next day “recovering;” the day after that sightseeing.

Chinatown was cool and quite close to my hotel.

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The Marina Bay Sands Casino is truly amazing.

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Singapore was beautiful

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And quirky.

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And the “surprise” Dali exhibit was spectacular.

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I loved Singapore and look forward to spending more time there – when I have ALOT more money to spend:) Actually I’ll be traveling through several times in the next few weeks.

May 16: arrived in Ho Chi Minh City. Stayed at great inexpensive hotel in the “touristic” part of District 1. Spent a few days sight seeing, scoping out the town and what to do once Tom arrived.

Saw some amazing Vietnamese Art at the Fine Arts Museum.

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May 19: Tom arrived in the morning. After declaring himself “not jet lagged”, he passed out for most of the afternoon. We spent the next day walking/ touring. Saw the War Remnants Museum (formerly the Museum of American War Atrocities), which was mind-opening.

Also observed a plague of cockroaches escaping a downpour.

One of Tom’s favorite things to marvel at, besides traffic, was the massive octopi of power lines that dot almost every corner of Saigon.

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May 21: Went on a tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels which was also quite an eye-opener.

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May 22: Tom and I boarded a tourist bus, headed for Mui Ne for our 19th anniversary. Grace Hotel was gorgeous. And even though there wasn’t much beach where we stayed, swimming in the ocean as well as the pool was quite nice.

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Mui Ne was pretty quiet and very relaxing after the hustle and bustle of Saigon.

May 26: We boarded another tourist bus, headed for Nha Trang.

Nha Trang is also a beach town, but it’s more of a city with a lot more going on than Mui Ne. We mainly just chilled here:

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But we did see some cool Cham Towers

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Met some Coors Girls

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And played a fun game of “jumbo” Jenga

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We enjoyed Nha Trang so much that we stalled out there until June 2nd, when Tom left.

June 4: I finally tore myself away from Nha Trang and had a very scary overnight bus ride to Hoi An (see blog).

I didn’t write a lot about Hoi An because, well, I didn’t do a lot. I did go see the girls at the shop where I had boots and a purse made last September. They remembered me because they had dragged me and friend Kristina out to karaoke on our last night there. I learned that one of these bubbly young women is getting married on the 25th of this month. I’ll be sad to miss the wedding, as I imagine if would be quite a party!

Two new observations in Hoi An:

1) tourists should not ride motorbikes in crowded streets. I saw a group of two almost take each other and a few locals out. That would have been bad.

2) when a restaurant serves “duck,” said duck is bought live at the market and transported live to wherever it will meet its demise in a plastic bag, many times slung over the handle of a motorbike. I only know this because a couple of times in Hoi An I was “quacked” at by ducks in this mode of transport. Makes me think about being a vegetarian again 😦

I spent quite a bit of time on Cau Dai Beach, which was heavenly – tranquil and peaceful.

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I also went on a tour to My Son – Vietnam’s Angkor Wat – and got so sick of the heat that i decided to go to Dalat for a couple of days.

June 9: I sadly departed Hoi An for Dalat. Dalat is definitely “bizarre-o” Vietnam, especially because the temperature is almost always 68-70 degrees. I enjoyed the respite from the heat, but didn’t have the right clothes for much. I took a motorbike tour, and on my foot tour the next day saw some crazy paddle boats.

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One night I met a friend of my new Vietnamese business friend, who introduced me to a fun group of expats and other various foreigners who have made Dalat home. And finally…

June 12: I headed back to Saigon, to my same now favorite hotel, where I am relaxing in anticipation of some business meetings this afternoon. Crazy times!

Tomorrow I leave for a short stay in Singapore before I take a ferry to Bintan, Indonesia, on Thursday to start teacher training.

This trip has certainly been a whirlwind so far – I can only imagine how interesting it’s going to get teaching teachers in a country so completely new to me. I’ll keep you posted!

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