I have no idea how to start this post because it has been so long since I have done one of these. But the picture above was one of the first pics I took in SE Asia. This sign looked me in the face right when I stepped on my first train in Bangkok and oh how appropriate it was.
I hope everyone is having an awesome holiday! This post is about 7 months in the making. I don’t know what the hell happened. I landed back in the states June 1st and kind of felt like a lost puppy for a couple weeks. I couldn’t really believe I went to Southeast Asia for a few months. But nonetheless, I straightened some stuff out and got myself on track for whatever life had to offer me next. This has been a pretty crazy year for me now that I think about it. I realized that I am not built to work in an office, quit both my downtown Detroit jobs and headed to Southeast Asia, got back home and opened up a store booth to sell our shirts (Animals Doing Human Things), got a job as a tire delivery guy, decided I wanted to live full time in the mountains, made a house out of my stepmom’s van, went on an awesome road trip with my girlfriend, then finally settled down in Avon Colorado working my passion in hospitality.
I guess I have a lot to catch up on in this blog so I will try to be as brief as possible…pinky swear. So I left off hanging out in Ho Chi Minh waiting on Erica to explore the country together. We planned out our 10 day journey together while she was back home via the interweb. By the time she got there we had everything booked and ready, which was new to me. I was so used to just winging everything without really planning the past couple months. Although I was super pumped because we booked some extravagant hotels all across Vietnam. 5 star hotels and beach front resorts for about $80 a night or less. Yeah, time to spoil myself. And this was a great opportunity to spoil the hell out of Erica while still being as cheap as a Wissman. Finally a room without bunk beds and my own shower! The first thing we did when she got there was the Cu Chi Tunnels about an hour outside of town. I was sort of afraid of being American there so we told our tour group we were Canadians eh. There was a ton of history to be learned at these tunnels. Most of which was very disturbing. War is a terrible monster but I won’t get into that. Crawling through the tunnels and seeing how many Vietnamese people lived during the war was truly fascinating. Plus there were about a hundreds millipedes crawling around the paths so my dad would have loved it there. Our tour group leader (named Jackie Chan) was actually involved in the war and was one of the most interesting people I have ever met. Here he is explaining how one of the tunnel traps work…
After the tunnels we had one day of exploring Ho Chi Minh before flying north to Ha Long Bay. I was able to scope out the city before she got there so I had some ideas on where to take her. We went walking and experienced the traffic there which I think was insane. I made sure she knew that these cars/mopeds do not stop for pedestrians like they do in the states. If you think a car is going to hit you, keep calm and keep your pace, the car will go around you, but it will NOT stop. It takes a little while to realize that. We checked out the crazy Ben Thanh market and then went on a bender in the backpacker district where there are a ton of backpackers and a ton of bars with practically free alcohol.
After HCMC we hopped on a plane to Ha Long Bay to see the breathtaking limestone mountains in the sea. We stayed in the city of Ha Long which was pretty dead. Although the hotel we stayed at had an amazing buffet where I ate until I practically exploded. Apparently it’s better to stay in Hanoi then take a bus to see the bay, lesson learned. This place was surreal. These rock formations went on into the sea for miles. The boat tour we took also brought us to one of the mountains with a huge cave in it which was nice to explore and beat the 100 degree heat.
From Ha Long we took another plane to Phu Quoc island where we stayed for 4 days. This is where we had a couple beachfront bungalows booked and a plan to relax to the max. We rented a motorbike two of the four days and explored the whole island. Getting around on this island was interesting to say the least. There were about two main roads cutting through most of the island, with dirt roads covering the rest. Dodging giant potholes and monkeys crossing the road was the norm on the motorbike. While exploring the island we found a water amusement park! It was called Vinpearl Land and we planned to go there the day after we discovered it. We rented the motorbike, headed out towards the park and got caught in a pretty bad thunderstorm. We found shelter at what looked like a house party store combo. After the storm rolled past we got to the park and it was COMPLETELY empty. We had a whole amusement park to ourselves which was pretty awesome. All the workers there were pretty surprised to see us, a few were actually asleep at their posts. We went on this one waterslide that flips upside down (wish I had a pic of it). As we approached the top I started thinking about the dangers of a sketchy Vietnamese upside down waterslide, and being the gentleman that I am, I let Erica go first. It was one of those slides where you step into a tube and the bottom drops out as you fall into the slide. The worker at the top did the ole Vietnamese double check and tapped the floor with his foot to make sure it was working properly before Erica stepped on. She made it down safely and I was next. Now I have never experienced a slide like this before, especially not one like this in a foreign country. So as the floor dropped out I let out the most unmanliest American shriek that could be heard throughout the park. The attendant at the bottom and Erica were cracking up as I stood up and tried to regain my manhood. The next couple days were spent chilling on the beach, snorkeling, and exploring town center. Snorkeling on the west side of the island was fantastic. We even tried our luck at squid fishing with fishing poles fashioned as a spool with string. I experienced what a full grown sea urchin looks like in the water, nearly had a heart attack as the waves pushed me really close to them.
And so that concluded my trip to Southeast Asia (7 months later). It was one hell of time.
I plan on getting together another post where I can describe some crazy experiences left out in this blog, some tips/tricks/lessons learned, along with what happened between Vietnam and now. Too much to talk about in one post. I don’t want to bore you guys! I miss everyone and you are all welcome to come out here to Colorado to explore these mountains with us anytime!
One last pic for ya’ll. This one is the last picture I took overseas. It was on the plane to Tokyo from Ho Chi Minh. I’d like to think it symbolizes new beginnings. It’s simple, but I think it’s my favorite. More posts to come!