Nothing Day

23 October

I wished Duy goodbye before he went to work. I would be gone before he returned from work. After some back and forth texting with Phuong, I arranged my schedule to meet her at 3 in the afternoon. I departed Duy’s apartment around noon. As I did, the lunchtime rush to afternoon classes at the University of Economics was in full swing. I had to wait in line to get a banh mi sandwich from a street vendor.

Duy’s place is not the best located place. It is in the city, but whether I wanted to go to the beach or downtown, I would need to either grab a taxi or walk for 30 minutes. I chose to walk, because, at this point, the sun was shining and I thought it would be cool to cross the Han River on foot. While I was in the center of the bridge, I attempted to take a photo of the dragon bridge. Remember, I warned you that I was a terrible photographer.

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U-Turns

17 October

My alarm went off at 6:15 am. All of VASCO’s flights back to the mainland were scheduled for the morning, and I had selected one of the earlier options. The early departure (8:10 am) would provide me ample time to transfer to the train station to grab my ticket and board my 12:05 depature for Nha Trang.

I hit snooze and woke up 10 minutes later. Thus began the most needlessly expensive day of my trip.

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Cages

14 October

In a repeat of the previous morning, Kalaya woke up late and was in a rush. She said goodbye to me in the guest bedroom and we hugged. I had given her a Washington DC shot glass as a gift the previous night.

There was much I wanted to talk to her about, but her rush, reminding me of so much of my own typical morning routine when at home, did not allow the time. So, I wrote it in couchsurfing.org’s messaging system.

Really, it is better that way. I’m far more thorough when writing than I am when discussing things in person. First, I thanked her for opening her home to me and apologized for the phone situation that did not allow us to connect on Sunday. Then, I moved onto the meat.

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Transfers

4 October through 8pm

Shuttle > Bus > Shuttle > Taxi > Airplane > Rail > Foot. That was the plan that would take me from the Mekong Delta to my hotel in Thailand’s capital city. And, for the most part, I stuck to it.

On Friday night, I asked the concierge in the hotel to schedule a shuttle and bus ticket for me back to Saigon. I had told him I preferred at 9am departure, but what he managed was a ticket on the 7am bus to Ho Chi Minh City. That meant I had to be ready for the shuttle at 6am. Once again, I was taking the marvelous Futabus. While Futabus is not the cheapest, it is not substantially more expensive either (you can find Vietnamese intercity bus schedules and prices on vexere.com), and it seems to be the locals’ go-to bus for intercity service. Neither the concierge nor Binh’s family in Ca Mau ever asked me whether I wanted a cheaper carrier. They knew to get me Futabus, due to its reliability and shuttle service.

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