Monthly Archives: January 2017

HCMC, Vietnam–Duck Foot In

They might be on to something…

When Ryan’s aunts came to visit us in Mexico back in November, Aunt JoAmy noticed that I walk slightly duck-footed.  This was news to me.  Still, I didn’t give it too much thought until my mom pointed out the same thing.  This was a few weeks ago in Portland.  I was trying shoes on in preparation for my journey.  That was when Mom noticed that my right foot is turned out more so than my left.  Strange right?  And she insists that this is a fairly recent development.

Now that I find myself in the midst of rushing Ho Chi Minh City traffic, I am concerned that my duck foot is going to get run over.  I feel that this is a valid concern.  The traffic in Ho Chi Minh City is a sight to behold, espeically for a small town girl from Wyoming.  Ryan and I arrived two weeks ago.  We have been staying right downtown in the heart of the city.  Traffic is loud and bustling and the narrow sidewalks are so overrun with parked scooters that pedestrians are forced to walk in the street.  Cars and scooters zoom by with only inches to spare, and less so, if one of your feet is turned out, no matter how slightly.

I have become very much aware of my duck foot and what it is doing, especially today while I was braving my way along Bui Vien, one of the busiest streets in District One.  I had to keep an eye on this rogue foot (which happens to be the right) to be sure that it was pointing straight ahead.  This slowed my progress and eventually gave me the giggles.  Ryan finally decided we should walk on the other side of the street where my duck foot would be turned in away from traffic.  So, duck foot IN it was.

To make matters worse, I caught a glimpse of my reflection in a store window and saw that my hair had grown outrageously fuzzy from the combination of the high humidity and drizzle of rain.  I was the fuzzy duckling and I was waddling down the busy street, splashing my way through the puddles.  Of course this only made me laugh harder.  It was a wonder I didn’t get hit!  Luckily I survived and lived long enough to tell the tale.  Tomorrow I’ll be doing it all over again and I’m going to have to learn to procede with extra caution.  This fuzzy duckling is just going to have to get used to her new self and remember to either walk on the right side of the road, or to keep that duck foot turned in.


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Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam–Hello From Tomorrow

Sidewalk or parking lot? They seem to be one in the same.

I’m not going to lie.  So far our new adventure has been a little overwhelming.  Not only is Ho Chi Minh City huge and PACKED with people, but all of the sights, sounds, and smells are rather assaulting.  I hate to use such a strong word, especially one with such negative connotations, but it’s the truth of the matter for me, thus far.

That being said, my husband is in love.  He finds the energy of the city to be especially appealing.  We are staying right downtown in the heart of the city center in District One where there are endless culinary possibilities, among other things.  One of his New Year’s resolutions was to try one-hundred new dishes/drinks this year and we’re already making a commendable dent.

Banh tom (crispy shrimp fries). If you look closely, you can still see the little guys cocooned inside.

I am giving it a valiant effort, bumbling my way through yet another language barrier (I never thought I’d miss Spanish).  I often remember, albeit a little too late, not to cross my arms or point to things.  I try to pass money (here called VND or dong) with both hands, instead of one.  Still, I could not feel more out of place.  In fact I feel like a downright fraud surrounded by other travelers who seem to be naturally embracing this great city’s energy.  This includes my husband and good for him.

Ca phe (iced coffee). He can’t get enough of the stuff.

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s nice that we are surrounded by other travelers–we are in backbackers central, after all.  Yet I can’t help but wonder with more than a little envy how they make everything look so easy!  They (referring to the worldy women) even wear stylish dresses or flowing elephant pants while day in and day out, I continue to sport my active wear.  I’m more prepared to visit Machu Picchu than to mosey down the street in search of some fresh spring rolls.  Still, my clothes are as fast-drying and functional as I was hoping they’d be, so I suppose it should be kudos to me.

Giving it a go with the chopsticks…

One of the most difficult things for me to get used to, besides the wet bath (the entire bathroom is always wet!), has been the time difference.  We are fourteen to fifteen hours ahead of our family and friends in Wyoming and Portland.  This means that when I call my Mom in Portland, I’m technically calling her from the future.  Her today is my tomorrow.  Although this is pretty cool, it serves as a strong reminder that I am in fact half a world away from all the people that I love, with the exception of my husband.  Vietnam is the farthest I’ve ever been away from home and I’m already a little bit lonely.

Chilling out in a cafe behind the pros. I tried eavesdropping to pick up on their accents, but the street was too noisy.

But chin up.  Like all things, my new adventure is just going to take some getting used to.  This may be my first Asian rodeo but it’s certainly not my first time on a horse.  (I know, I know, but I couldn’t resist.)  I’m sure I will find plenty of things to fall in love with.  The bubble tea has been a great start.  Until I’m feeling a little more at home, I’m just going to try to keep my eyes and ears open.  I’m going to keep trying new things.  Most importantly, I’m going to keep breathing.  Just so you know, this is more obvious to some people than it is to others.  So hello wide world.  Hello big bustling city.  And to all my family and friends that are still somewhere out there, hello from tomorrow.

Bubble tea is the best thing ever!


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