Friday, 27 March 2015

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside...

We've just spent the last few days in Phan Thiet and Mui Ne, little towns that are next to the coast of Vietnam. This experience has been a world away from that of being in Saigon. The pace of life in these rural towns is more relaxed, people taking their time doing what they need to do. However long something takes to do or cook or whatever, is how long it takes, the sense of urgency has gone. This, combined with being by the sea, has had quite an affect on me.

I love the seaside, always have done. Being next to the sea makes me feel connected to the rest of the world, rather than trapped in my own little one. It reminds me how utterly insignificant I am compared to the universe at large, it gives perspective... But I'll come back to that. My experience of the beach back in the UK was always significantly different. In the summer we would go to our gran's caravan in mid-Wales and usually make one or two excursions to the beach. British summer being what it is, it was mostly freezing and swimming in the ocean meant standing in the shallower bit until your whole body went numb with cold which would then allow you to swim about without too much trouble. Eventually our parents would call us out of the water either because it began to rain or we had been in long enough it was reasonable to assume that hypothermia would be setting in shortly. This never stopped me or my sister swimming because, swimming in the sea is still awesome, no matter how cold it is, and I loved those holidays. But the beach here... Wow. Just wow really, I've never seen anything like it. It's paradise, to me, or as near to it as I'll see in my little life, I'm sure. Warm sand, warm water, and the memory of swimming about in it while the sun sets will stay with me for a long time, hopefully forever.

Friday, 20 March 2015

A stranger in a strange land

So, I've been quiet for a time. The reason for this is that I was packing up my life to move to Vietnam for a while, to travel and work. Exciting yes, terrifying, yes. The last few weeks have passed in a blur. There has been so much to do that I've not really had chance to process any of it fully, I've just been working down a great big long to do list. The list was so long that not only did I struggle to get through it but things dropped off the end of it, because I just ran out of time. And now here I am, three plane rides later, in Vietnam.

The first few days we spent in Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon) and those days passed in a whirlwind of frenetic experience. Many people who have visited Vietnam advised me that HCMC was their least favourite place, so I was not sure what to expect, but my experience of the city was exceedingly positive.