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Posts Tagged ‘saigon’

Home again?

January 9, 2005 Leave a comment

Here I am, safe & sound and significantly less hung over than when last we met…

Getting on the Thai Air flight from Siagon was a little strange. I was greeted by the flight attendant with “Sawadee ka” and felt instantly comfortable. I could’ve only felt in more familiar surroundings if I’d stepped onto a Qantas plane and met with a “G’day”.

Landing in Bangkok 65 minutes later was also a very cool feeling. It really did feel as familiar as landing in Mascot.

Getting through to the outside world, however, was a total balls-up on my past. Knowing you could get a visa on arrival, I then proceeded to follow the completely wrong process and delayed my exit from the airport by an hour. Grr… I then got a taxi but failed to factor in the Friday arvo traffic. Another hour to the guesthosue Jen was staying in.

Seeing the tuk-tuks, Golden Mount, Democracy Momument, Grand Palace, and yes even Khao San Road filled me even more with a sense of coming home rather than landing in a foreign country. And while there’s a lot more traffic than in Vietnam, it’s also a lot quieter. No vigorous tootling of any kind. :)

FINALLY met up with Jen, we talked, we laughed, we ate some great food, we spoke vaguely about our next move to Cambodia, and we slept soundly. It was the first bit of quiet I’d had in 18 days. Magical.

This evening after dinner we found a department store and bought a kettle so we can enjoy the Vietnamese coffee I bought in Hué. Then bought a few more things from a nearby supermarket. The whole time it kept hitting me that this felt truly like where I lived. It was weird, but very cool.

[yawn!] I suspect I’m still somewhat knackered from my Vietnam adventure. :) So I’ll head off and wish you all a good night.

Foolish behaviour in Saigon

January 6, 2005 Leave a comment

Well, to be honest, this sort of foolishness would have taken place wherever there’s a gathering of Aussies and sufficient alcohol. And some classic OZ music.

Last night I chanced upon a bar called the Blue Gecko, which I heard was rather a cool place. Staffed by some very cute Veitnamese girls and patronised by a bunch of Westerners. I walked in, ordered a beer and noticed a green & gold autographed cricket shirt on the wall. Then I spotted a VB coaster, a few Ettamogah Pub cartoons on the walls.

Bloody hell, I thought, and I asked the girl behind the bar, “Is this an Australian pub?”

“Yes,” she said. “Where you from?”

“Sydney,” I replied, and laughed at the fact that of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, I had to walk into this one.

Struck up a conversation with some blokes from Melbourne who are now living here. The place was breifly invaded by a group of teenagers from the Gold Coast. I played, and had my arse kicked in, a few games of pool. Drank. Listened to some Cold Chisel, Hunters & Collectors, Crowded House (Ok, they’re Kiwi but we claimed them anyhow).

The Aussies on this spam list would probably be familiar with a song that came out about 20 years ago by a band called Redgum. The song is called I Was Only 19 (A Walk In The Light Green). It’s about a kid who gets shipped to Vietnam during the war and sees one of his mates get killed, and how he’s struggling with life back in the world. It’s a powerful song, and I’ve not heard it in a long long time. Being half-smashed in a bar in Saigon and hearing this was for me quite a moving experience.

Then they played Khe Sanh, and all felt right in the world. :) They also played Holy Grail, The Boys Light Up, Reckless… it felt really good to have that kind of familiarity for a while.

I drank a lot with 2 Vietnamese guys who now live in the US. Turns out that one of them is a sales rep for Tiger beer, hence we had quite a few freebies. :) At least I can justify my feeling like utter shite that way. I only spend about 125,000 dong all night, quite cheap really.

I somehow safely navigated the streets for 3 kilometers back to my guesthouse. I can barely remember getting there, I must’ve woke the owners to get in. I do remember apologising many times to them.

I was actually prepared to not like Saigon, given how noisy and intense I found most of the rest of the country. But I have to admit that I really like this town! Kind of reminds me of Sydney, strangely enough.

I’m flying back to Bangkok tomorrow to reunite with Jen, and today I’m too hung over (and it’s now too late in the day) for me to do a few things I wanted to. But I’ll be back at some point. :) It’s just up the road from home, innit?

Not a lot of spirituality in Saigon from me, I’ll admit. But I’m starting to learn now that once you’re on the Path you never really leave it. You might stop and rest for a while, but it’s still the Path.

So… having a blast, love you all, take care, all that bollocks. :)

Cheers,
Karsoe/Paul C.