In Can Tho

It’s Sunday and I’m in Can Tho in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.

The flight to Saigon was hellish. In retrospect, booking a seven hour flight two hours after a 13 and a half hour flight was not a brilliant idea. My butt, four days later, is still sore! I thought it would be my back, but it’s my butt. I’m old.

I arrived in Saigon about 11:20 pm. Went through customs easily. Bought 3,000,000 dong (about $150, BTW, I love the unfortunately named Vietnamese Dong, it makes for endless adolescent jokes at Herr. Steil’s expense) from an ATM and walked out of the terminal where there were probably a couple thousand people waiting to greet arriving passengers. Very strange. Four thousand eyes on me as I exited the terminal. I felt like a star. (I thought maybe there was something going on, but now I think this is just the norm.)

That’s probably the defining characteristic, in my mind, of Saigon. There are masses of people everywhere. That was certainly true of India as well, but Vietnam feels altogether different. Much more affluent. Vietnam is not a rich country, but it also doesn’t feel like a poor country. Very few beggars. In India it seemed we were constantly harassed by beggars. Here you’re much more likely to be harassed by vendors, though it isn’t oppressive. They give up fairly easily if you politely decline.

This morning we went to the floating market. Tomorrow to Ha Tien.

Buying my Tortuga carry-on backpack is proving to have been a great idea. I love skipping the whole checked bag thing and its size forces you to focus on what’s important and jettison the rest. Despite its carry-on size, it fits a ton. I love it.

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