Good Morning Viet Nam

Saturday, October 30, 2004


I know it has only been 2.5 hours since I last checked in, but a lot has changed since then. Just got back from a bike taxi tour of China town and almost had a nervous breakdown. What in the hell am I doing here?! I totally started doubting my latest pipe dream while being shown the wonderful dirty streets of Saigon. I am so overstimulated here it's nuts. Everyone says Saigon is better than Hanoi because Hanoi is much more controlled. But I am having major issues dealing right now. I keep spending money, but don't have anything to really show for it. I could be taking loads of inspiring pictures, but I am not motivated to do so. I have gone to some of the pagodas and sights, but can't retain any information because I am not in the zone. I have stopped trying to use Vietnamese and speak only in English. I am missing my own space and feel as though I can't escape. I know this will soon pass. I am going to stick it out for the month and then see how I feel. I am totally missing clean air and beautiful landscape and a physical challenge. I am missing my Outward Bound experience. I felt so at peace out there, more so than I ever have in my life. But feel so far from that peace right now. I don't know if I will ever find that again. Don't be alarmed. I am sure I just need some sleep. Ciao.


Yo people! Happy Halloween! Hope everyone celebrates in style with some killer costumes! I'm donning a killer costume that all the natives and expats dig because it is so damn hot here, me in the buck. Okay fine, I'm not sitting here naked in the internet cafe due to the heat, but rather due to the fact that I have no more clean clothes. Someone remind me why I only brought 6 pairs of underwear? Mel, I should have listened to your sound advice more closely. But no worries, my nakedness will not last for long as I just went to the market yesterday and am getting some shirts made. Was kind of overwhelmed by the whle process, so many fabrics and styles to choose from, but hopefully this will be the beginning of a great new investment! Always looking for those.

My first week has definetly been one of adjustment. But now that I have finally recovered from jet lag, although I still wake up each morning around 5am!, I will give you a synoposis of my adventure thus far. Let's start out with what I dig about Saigon...

Riding on the back of a motorbike. There is nothing like it! Its the only way to experienceSaigon. Have made a friend with a bike, Yemi, and we have ridden around loads. I find it is the only time in the city when I feel completely relaxed and carefree. I feel really safe and invincible on the back of her bike, even though the last time we went for a ride we came inches away from getting creamed by a bus.

I like the fact that there is a very high potential to get run over by a motorbike when you are crossing the street. So much better than a cup of coffee in the morning to get your senses going. As you all know, I am up for any challenge to prove myself. And this is definetly one of the scarier ones I've attempted. But so far so good.

There is nothing like feeling the film of smog and dirt on your face all day long.

I have a entirely new appreciation for anything clean. What is clean anymore?

My class is a great mixture of assorted fruits and nuts. Everyone is very nice and we all get along very well. Have gone out with a couple friends from New York, Matt and Carrie, after hours every night. Beer is beginning to taste like water to me. That's all Idrink here. I thought I was going to lose weight on this trip! Maybe I will just go on Atkins. I don't know what I would be able to eat here, even tofu has carbs. Crap, I guess I will actually have to exercise. The easiest thing to do would be to run, but that is so overrated and I only do that when chased.

That is what is driving me crazy, the lack of physical exercise. It is so deceiving here because I sweat so much that it makes me think I am getting a really good workout. But just sitting outside with friends in complete denial that it is so damn hot doesn't quite use up enough calories. Carrie and I are going to try to find a yoga studio this week. So that will be good.

Like Saigon, but don't forsee myself staying here beyond the month. While the smog along with the strong possibility of losing my life as I cross every street is very stimulating, I find it too stimulating. Everything here is in your face and in fast forward mode. Haven't really had any time to process or plan ahead. But I am making the most of my time here. Last night we went to a pagoda and had an awesome view of the city. And today am going to go on a bike tour of the city as well as a few museums.

Better run, the police are actually wanting to enforce the law over here. Guess communist rule is not down with nudity. Off to do laundry.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Delinquent Blogger

All right. I have been hemming and hawing as to how to actually blog my adventures to my electic group of fans. So fuck it, here it goes. Have had a wonderful week thus far and have already made some friends with the natives. Talk about luck, I usually never talk to anyone on the plane, but thank goodness I had someone chatting my ear off on all three flights, quality peace of mind at a time when I was really wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into. The last leg of the flight, I sat next to a gent originally from VM who has lived for 10 years in AZ. He is on a vaca from his job in the nail salon. At touch down in HCMC, Them, pronounced "Tim", kindly invited me to his house for lunch with his family. I couldn't have asked for a better introduction to such a foreign culture and graciously accepted.

When I walked out of the airport I was confronted with a heat that is beyond damn hot. Indescribable yet always present. We were out in the heat for only a minute before catching a cab. But as you all know, I am an instant sweater, thanks dad!, and already had a speckled shirt. The taxi ride was absolutely surreal. First I couldn't get over the number of bikes that swarm around the streets. Then I couldn't get over how there is some method to the madness of traffic here. I said an instant prayer for a million bikers who I thought were going to run into our cab. But miracously, not one did. I could literally reach out and touch people two bikes deep from the cab. That is how close they ride here. And the motorbike is the SUV of Vietnam. I've seen families of 4 or 5 all along for a Sunday ride. Talk about tetris or holding on for dear life. And the drivers only look straight, expecting whoever is behind to not run into them when they veer right or left. So insane.

And this is just the beginning of it all. Hope you all are well.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Houston We've Made Contact

Hello! Wanted to give a quick shout to say that I am alive. Survived the plane trip thanks to my plane buddies. Amazing how chatting can make anything go faster. Going to keep this brief because I am beyond exhaustion, but have already plunged into the culture. So much for making a slow transition. Have already drunk the water and eaten some authentic food, and so far so good. Maybe I have some superpowered immune system, here's hoping. Good Night.

Friday, October 15, 2004


Hello All! Thanks for checking in and welcome to my blog. Things are busy in my final days in KC. I can't believe that I will be leaving in a week. It will be a very tough good-bye, but I am looking forward to the adventure ahead. Speaking of, to get updated on my latest adventures on the other side of the world, just click onto this link and enjoy the stories. I will do my best to record all of my adventures. I will be keeping my yahoo account. You can send me an email through this page as well. Regardless of how you do it, I would love to know what is happening in your lives. I wish you all the best this year and look forward to our future communications. The next posting will be coming from Viet Nam, most likely on the 25th. Ciao.