Hey Everyone! It is finally here the first big post from Vietnam. We finally got in to the hotel last night around 5 am after some more than minor delays at the airport. We were initially scheduled to depart around noon, so we boarded plane just after 11:30 and got settled. After waiting on the plane for two and half hours, we found out what they thought was a flat tire, turned into a flat tire and a cracked wing (which was actually pointed out by a passenger). So after de-boarding the plane we were all given meal vouchers and told we would depart again at 6:30.In true airline fashion that was quickly moved back to 7:30. However, without too much more delay we were finally in the air. The flight was long, cramped, and about the most miserable I have ever been in transportation. I could not for the life of me manage to get comfortable enough to sleep., this made the flight faaaar longer. Luckily we did not have to worry about missing our connecting flight as it was the very plane we were arriving on. We were in the Hong Kong airport for less than an hour before we were right back on that same plane. Luckily this time, I got the seat next to the emergency exit and some much enjoyed leg room. Before we knew it we had arrived.
The bus ride from the airport was only 30 minutes and quite uneventful as the city was still asleep. The group is so large that we are actually at two different hotels, one right across the street from the other. The Dong Do, one of the hotels we are staying in – but not my hotel, had a big sign displayed that said, “Welcome Augustana College to Vietnam.” This made all of us really excited and further cemented the fact that we had arrived. In order to combat jet lag a group of us decided not to go to bed. Instead we settled in, showered, called family and met for breakfast. (Pictures to come). This is when it finally hit, we sat down at breakfast and had a view of a totally unique city before me, major hotels and run down shops right next to each other on my left and the river to my right. It was a really exhilirating feeling. After breakfast we took a small walking tour of the town, spending extra time learning how to dart across traffic without getting run over. The goal is to look ahead and walk steady, don’t play chicken, don’t make eye contact, show intent and let them drive around you. It can be nerve wracking but really once you commit to crossing the street there is little to worry about.
Overall the weather is far nicer than I expected it to be. The humidity isn’t that bad, and it really is nice to be rid of snow. The one thing that reminds you, you are in a different country (aside from all the foreign type on street signs) is the staring. Everyone is looking at you, and for once you are definetely the minority. As much as its noticeable it really isnt a bad thing. Most people we come across look and smile, or even say hello. We have been shown nothing but kindess and it really has made the adjustment quite easy.
More posts to come!