To Saigon I Go
In my last post, I revealed how I decided (somewhat on a whim) to take a trip to Vietnam. It seemed like the perfect adventure to fill the space between jobs.
Louise (better known as Lulu, these days) and I began to plan excitedly about what to do, where to go, and how to do it on a tight budget. We were trying to decide how we could explore Ho Chi Minh and Phú Quôc during my short visit, while Louise could still get some work done. We were back and forth about how long to be in each place, but ultimately we were ready for some major island relaxtion.
This past year has been the busiest of my young adult life. The transition from college to full time work wasn't so hard (thanks to the co-op program at Northeastern, I've already done it twice). What was most difficult was finding the balance for my business and my personal life with that full time job and the restrictions that come with it. Since it was my first year in the role, I had very limited time off. With the addition of American Field and other shows for Studdly, I was facing 60-80 hour work weeks from July through December. The hours dedicated to Studdly would range from 2-6 hours on weekdays and 10-20 hours on weekends. I was also training for the Chicago marathon until mid-October. Needless to say, I haven't had a real "day off" since March of last year.
When Louise suggested a 6 day stay in island paradise, I graciously accepted. We booked out round trip flights from HCMC to Phu Quoc for $57, and Louise searched for some great options for accommodations.
So that was it. The planning was done. Flights were booked, potential hotel reservations made, and the rest was left up to fate. I left Boston on Monday at noon, traveled for 24 hours until reaching Saigon, where I landed just after midnight. Despite the Visa process being a complete disaster, I got through in quickly and went outside to see my best friend waiting for me with beers in hand. Damn, it was good to see her. It had been since 5 months, so we squealed and hugged and danced while the entire airport welcoming area stared at us.
My first sights of Saigon were of the late night, bustling streets, even on a Tuesday. We weaved and bobbed between the motorbikes before arriving at a small shop near her apartment, where there was a crowd still up drinking at 1am. We had a quick beer before heading to bed. We got up early for some breakfast pho and my first cà phê sữa đá (which was INCREDIBLE). We walked along the river admiring the temples and flowers before heading to the airport for our flight to Phú Quốc.