My friend, Vicky Ann, arrived with the rain and cooler temperatures. It would be a week before she saw the sun in Vietnam, something I’d spent months avoiding. For someone who has never left North America, I am so impressed with how well she has managed here. Then again, anyone who knows Vicky Ann would not be surprised. It is fun watching how even the smallest things (like laundry hanging from a balcony, a man carrying bread, a woman wearing a hat, or anything involving electrical wires) continually amaze her. I am seeing Vietnam through new eyes and enjoying every moment.
Before leaving Hanoi, I had to finish up some work, visit a school, say goodbye to friends, and I had a chance to be a tourist for a change. Vicky Ann came along for the ride with an open mind and sense of adventure. We had a long bus ride on a “disco bus” with blaring music and a disco ball, got lost in a province three hours away, rowed through caves, ate pho on low plastic stools on the street, met many people, and walked miles and miles every day in the rain. I even lost her on a tour of a pagoda complex. The guide warned us to stay with the group, but Vicky Ann ran ahead and wasn’t found for nearly two hours. After that experience, she won’t leave my side!
Now that we’ve moved on from Hanoi, we have had a chance to enjoy the beach (thought she would never leave) and are learning about everything else Vietnam has to offer.
As we wander through Vietnam, we are constantly approached as husband and wife. Being older than your mid-twenties and unmarried is practically unheard of here, so we are used to it. It doesn’t take long for my travel companion to whip out her phone and start showing pictures of her grandchildren and all the snow at home. It doesn’t matter if the Vietnamese don’t understand her, she keeps talking and making friends wherever she goes!
If you want to see more photos from our trip, I have introduced Vicky Ann to Instagram and she is addicted. Follow her here: @vdeledda.