Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Going Home...

My afternoon flight out of Hue got delayed for a few hours, making it not worth the trip to leave Hanoi airport for one last venture off to town. So here I am in an overpriced internet cafe, catching up on web-life.

This is ok with me, as I'm probably about traveled-out. I realized this morning walking around the Hue citadel, part of the monuments that comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that I had little interest in taking pictures (although I did enjoy exploring the peaceful ruins, nearly destroyed by the Tet Offensive). This was a likely indication that I just wasn't that into it. I took some, but left earlier than I would have if my visit had occured during the first few days of my trip.

I miss Korea. I noticed Korean signs and companies everwhere. In Hoi An there was a tailor shop called "Kim Chi" and I became unnaturally excited. I miss my cats (especially after seeing strung up ocelots at Perfume Pagoda, prepped for consumption--eek!), my boyfriend (I found myself talking about him waaaaaay too much sometimes), my friends (so I don't have to start every single conversation with the same set of Where are you from? How long have you been in Vietnam? When will you leave? exchanges), having my own apartment (not that some of the hotels/hostels weren't nice... but it's not the same), swing dancing, having a regular schedule, taekwondo... everything. I even miss my job (but don't tell them that!). I miss the lack of a prolific tourist industry such that you can't trust people who talk to you on the street (this is a sad, sad reality of Southeast Asia--and I know I trusted people more than many other travelers here and perhaps got "taken advantage of" on some prices, but I had some really great experiences with people, too... not the least of which was the Moon Lady).

However, I was just checking the news... Um, thanks, Kim Jong Il. Let's hope I make it home.

That said, I have had such an amazing, wonderful time here in Vietnam. I've learned so much about the culture (and even a little of the language--hello, thank you, goodbye, beautiful, I love Vietnam--you know... the important things) and seen so much of the country in just a few short days. It's made me remember how much I want to live in at least one other new country for a year and do some longer volunteer work (1-6 months) in a couple other places before settling down for a bit (not that settling means no more travel--I want to do a LOT more of that).

I met a lot of other travelers here. Nomads living out of backpacks. Mostly they were interesting, great folks. But I don't think I like travel as much as I like experiencing a new country the way one does when they move there. Learning the language and customs of the locals. Making friends beyond a single day's conversation...

I'm glad I spent my full vacation in one country because I got a little deeper into the culture than if I'd done like some folks I met here and did three days here and three in Cambodia and three in Thailand. Whoa... that sounds exhausting to me. I'm still amazed I did three different cities here in a week and a half. Shoosh. And I can always go to Cambodia or Thailand next time around.

Well... ok. Japan in May, first.

Pictures and details will come over the next few weeks. I will be a little Vietnam-obsessed for a bit. But I'll try to make it worth it for ya!

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