SAIGON, for one night only!
Actually, we're not in Ho Chi Minh City anymore, but since we're a day ahead of the sleepy land you call California, I can use that line anyway because where you are, maybe we still are in Saigon... I don't know; strange things happen when you cross the International Date Line.
The trip has been amazing so far. I can't seem to say anything without it coming out trite and cliched. Aw, what the heck, cliches can be useful sometimes, so why not? The people are so friendly and wonderful. The drivers are intrepid and insane. There are a zillion scooters. Street vendors with two pots hanging on either end of a balancing pole over one shoulder sell delicious(-looking; I wouldn't know because we haven't been bold enough to eat at one just yet) food that you eat while sitting on a little chair next to their "restaurant," or more accurately, "patch of sidewalk." The parks all contain American fighter planes and helicopters, on display as war trophies. It pours rain in the afternoon and then, after the rain stops, within moments the city has forgotten all about it because it evaporates that quickly in the intense tropical heat. People wear pointy straw hats. Everything has been really, really fun and interesting.
We left HCMC today and flew to Danang, and then we took the scariest cab ride through the pouring rain to Hoi-An. Scooters, bicycles, buses, taxis, trucks all sharing one little tiny road. We've only been here a few hours, but I've already ordered 3 pairs of trousers, 2 pairs of jeans, a skirt, and 4 shirts from the tailors. I go back tomorrow for my first fitting. We're staying in an incredibly luxurious hotel that is criminally cheap. Never in my life have I felt this rich. It's downright bizarre and feels rather colonial....
I'm trying to stay up until 10:30pm to get on a regular sleep schedule. The jetlag hasn't been that bad though because I slept surprisingly well on the plane. Tomorrow we hope it doesn't rain because we're planning to sit by the pool, which is so beautiful it feels like a work of art. Vietnam is the kind of place you want to recommend to everyone and no one. Spread the word or keep it a secret?
Anyway, I'm loving it so far. I won't be checking email but will be reading comments. Love to everyone!