Even though Rach Gia was not as vibrant as Can Tho, it was definitely more happening than My Tho, so we went out to check out our new surroundings. However, still we had a difficult time finding anywhere to eat dinner and so we were grateful when at last we did find some local street food. Unfortunately, it was one of those situations when there were no vegetarian options and I was absolutely starving, so I had to just deal with it and eat a little bit of pork of all things. Read the rest of this entry
After Ho Chi Min City, we took a bus to My Tho, a medium sized city on the Mekong River. The first stop included a super weird bathroom experience and something I had never seen before in any place. I waited my turn in line and when I went to walk into the bathroom, all that I saw was a wet floor single in a small, single bathroom. There was no toilet, so I suppose everyone just goes on the floor and washes it off, which is pretty disgusting if you ask me! Read the rest of this entry
After Phenom Phen, we took a bus to Saigon for just $10USD. Fortunately, we arrived early in the afternoon and easily found a guesthouse. Some little old lady found us at the bus stop and she took us down some labyrinth like streets to a place where rooms were $8USD a night. She and about a million other ladies told me NOT to carry a purse there. Indeed I had heard the worst about purse snatching in Vietnam, but I was still a little surprised that so many people said it to me. Yet I have pretty much nada in my purse these days anyhow. Seriously, half the time it is just a very small amount of cash and toilet paper since you never know what you will get in public bathrooms in these places! Still, I took their advice and hardly used my purse because I learned my lesson in Chiang Mai! Read the rest of this entry
We took the local bus to Phenom Phen and although the ride was somewhat long considering the fact that the distance is really not that great, it was certainly an experience! Taking the local bus is always an excellent ACAP (as cheap as possible) option to get a little cultural experience. For example, along the way we stopped at this restaurant where there were an abundance of edible insects. Besides learning more about Cambodian culture, Juho has been giving me some Finnish lessons, which is super cool since I have connected with some of my Finnish family in this past year. So I learned a few new words along the way and then we arrived in Phenom Phen. Read the rest of this entry
Juho decided to come with me to Siem Reap, which was very cool since it was an extremely long trip. Of course it was a little strange as many of these journeys have been lately. First we took one bus to the border. Along the way, a guy came to collect our passports and cash for the visa. Unfortunately, we handed over our stuff and then thought about it afterwards that it probably would have been cheaper to do it ourselves. Yet they call Cambodia “Scambodia” for a reason and we got a little scammed right away, but it was nothing serious. After hours on the bus into Cambodia, we changed to this local bus for probably five hours or something. There was some kind of Cambodian MTV playing on the bus, which was hilarious because I always like to see music videos and stuff from other countries! This French guy on the bus kept asking me when the bus was coming before it arrived and he kept complaining all night as the bus was about two or three hours late so the whole thing was really hilarious! Read the rest of this entry
Once I arrived in Paske, I took a taxi to the city center and I must say that I did not like what I saw. Seriously, the guy dumped me off next to a main road that was all torn up and told me to just go walk around to find a guesthouse. So I walked for a few minutes and decided that I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. As I walked, I talked to a few other travelers who all said that there is not much to do there and it just didn’t feel like a place that I should stay. Luckily, I found a place to buy a bus ticket and I left an hour and a half later to go to Don Det.
After Luang Prabang, I had to pass through Vang Vieng again and decided to relax for a few days since it is a fabulous, tranquil place with pretty cool people. So I saw some people I had met my first time there and also made some cool new friends. My last night there, I hung out with a Parisian guy who was staying at my guesthouse. Go figure, it took me about an hour to find an ATM that was working. Along the way, I met a cool Dutch guy who finally showed me where a working ATM was. Then when I got back to the guesthouse to finally pay, this Frenchie was checking in and we ended up hanging out and going to dinner. At dinner, we met another French guy and a guy from the Czech Republic and ended up going out with them after to some random bar where two people from Michigan work. Needless to say, it was a super fun night and I met a ton of super cool people from Sweden and some other Czechs, too.
The very next day, I had plans to travel to Pakse. Since I am making my way south, I figured that it would be a decent stop along the way. Some people I had met told me it was a cool place to see so I figured why not? First I had to take a bus to the bus station, then a bus to Vientiane. While I was waiting and eating at the Vientiane bus station (which was probably the dirtiest, most disgusting bus station I have ever seen), in walks Emil, the Dutch guy from my trip from Pai to Vang Vieng who I had also recently seen in Luang Prabang. So of course it was hilarious for us to meet up again in Vientiane of all places, where thirteen days prior we had sat and hung out next to a pile of garbage by the side of the road at that random place they had told us to wait for two and a half hours!
At last we got onto the bus, which was a sleeping bus and my first experience with this type of bus. Unfortunately, everyone has to share each bed of this weird bunk bed bus. The places are assigned by numbers written on the ticket. I had almost thought I was going to get super lucky and get the whole thing to myself when this guy comes over saying, “This is my place. Is it ok if I am here?” I had been talking to a couple from Montreal who was across from me and they were just looking at me laughing. I almost got so lucky, but at the very last minute had to deal with this!
To make matters even more obnoxious, this guy was an American AND in the military, so obviously someone who thinks MUCH differently than a nomadic person whose biggest wish is to continue residing outside of the States! Even more annoying was the fact that he sat across from me and totally wanted to talk. At first he told me about Vientiane and how great it had been. When I told him I had passed through twice and not stopped to do anything there, he said that it was a “BIG mistake” and I “REALLY need to go there.” Then he insisted on showing me his photos of the city and really emphasizing the Arc de Triumph that they have there, which is nice and all, but I was just living in and will soon return to the place of the original Arc de Triomphe! I had told him that most people had told me to skip it, and since I was relying on the information of other travelers because I had not had very good Internet to do much research, I had listened. He continued on saying that I should not listen to what other people say about places and it was all really just a non-issue to me as even the small while I had been there in transit had NOT made me want to spend any time in that city!
Then he continued to talk to me more and more about even more irritating subjects. Honestly, I even told him on numerous occasions that I really wished to just agree to disagree and not discuss this stuff, but he kept persisting. He asked me so many questions, and yes they are the usual questions that people ask me, however, he had some of the most negative responses ever. For example, when I told him I wish to continue residing outside of the States, he proceeded to try to come up with ideas of places in the States for me to live. He also told me I should go get an office job. What excellent, creative advice, especially since he was pretty young, maybe twenty-five or something if I remember right? He was probably the most arrogant person I have met in all of my travels. When he asked me what I really want to do, and I told him about my blog and the book I am working on, he told me it was a terrible idea. He kept saying I should just go back to the States and get an office job. Seriously, he was so weird and if nothing else, he is motivation for me to stay living outside of the USA! Eventually, he spilled water all over his side of the bed and so he went and sat near the driver or something. So I finally got to go to sleep and be done with him. In the morning when the bus dropped us off, he even asked for my blog information, how hilarious is that? Maybe he will read this and see that he should keep his unsolicited, narrow-minded advice to himself!