This is episode 3 in a series where I’ll be taking you on the journey I had that started in the fall 2016, lasting over a year and going through four different countries.
I make my way from the plane and I’m greeted by humidity. This thick, hot, and wet blanket hits me as I exit the plane. It’s one of the gates where you have to take a shuttle bus to the airport and as I make my way down the stairs it feels like I’m swimming through the air. I’ve never felt humidity like this, coming from Canada we don’t really get wet and hot summers, so it was a bit shocking to experience this at 2:00 am.
I look at my watch and it’s already 2:30. I emailed the guest house I am staying at before I left Canada to set up a shuttle from the airport. Giving too much faith in the estimated time of arrival, I told them I’d be in at 1:30 am, so I hope this guy is still waiting around for me. I don’t have a SIM card and the internet at the airport isn’t allowing me to connect. I have no way of contacting my guest house if he isn’t here to pick me up.
By the time I get my bag it’s 2:45, I’m thinking this guy has left and I’ll have to get a taxi to the guest house. As I walk out from the airport I see tons of Vietnamese men standing around holding signs with the names of various travelers, for whom they are supposed to be picking up. I scan the crowd while making my way towards the taxis before I see a man holding my name on the card. Hallelujah! He waited for me and I don’t have to try and pronounce the name of the street I’m staying on.
The van pulls in to a busy side street with lots of colourful neon signs reflecting off the mirror like wet ground. People bustling, street food vendors feeding the hungry patrons of the night, and scooters running up and down weaving between the cars and people crossing the street. I sit in the van and think to myself about what it would be like back home at this time. There wouldn’t be such an active night life like this. The busiest it gets is on the weekend when all the drunk people leave the bars, stumbling for the nearest pizza-by-the-slice shop, on their way home after a long night of drinking. Here lots of different types of people are out having a late snack at the vendors and driving around going from place to place.
I give the woman my passport to sign in, she hands me my key, a small piece of paper with the WiFi password on it and tells me my room is on the 3rd floor. My legs feel like jelly from my sleepless journey and of course there isn’t an elevator.
I get upstairs and open my door, put my bag down on the ground, close the door behind me, and get undressed. My eyes gloss over as I fall towards my bed, my head hits the pillow and sleep can’t come any sooner. I’ve finally arrived in Saigon.
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