Saturday, May 2, 2009

Kerplunk and Ho Chi Minh City


I’ve hardly begun and the arse has fallen out of my trip. Tonight I got a text from Sabrina saying that she had scored herself a job in Darwin and would not be accompanying me to Melbourne. Bugger. Not quite the expletive of choice before the downpour of tears, but it is what is.
And so. Desperate phone calls to the girl and the folks, all of whom have reassured me that I will not be left stranded in the outback.

Mum and Dad were fantastic. It was absolutely lovely to hear them being so supportive, and in a way, validating my choice to spend this time finding what it is I want and what I am going to do. Mum has told me that if it’s going to be photography, I need to take photos, which I can’t do well if I’m not enjoying myself.

I completely agree. Having them offer to support me so I can continue this journey is so, so special to me. I hugely appreciate it. And so. To the new plan. Not even sure it’s worth making on, they don’t seem to be working out to well, but here goes.

And so, still unstimulated by K Rudd, tomorrow I will get INTO (not on!) a plane and make my way to Ho Chi Minh City. I have started to get excited. I am much more a traveller now that ever, and am taking my traveller’s eyes with me, as well as my photographer’s eyes. I am excited to see things that are new in a city I have visited twice before.

I am meeting up with Jackie and Mike (remember them? I met them at King’s Canyon. We had excellent chats, they shouted me a beer, we laughed as a frenchman’s swag was eaten by a dingo, and then we hung out in Alice together) when we get there. We’re planning to hit the markets on Day 1. I also would love to go to Cholon, the Chinese district. I’m a little intimidated of it, though I have been briefly before, and think having a bloke along for the ride will ease my mind. Also I think sometimes in a place like HCMC, you can become very overwhelmed by everything when you least expect it. Having friendly faces around always helps!

As yet we have no other plans. We have booked the first two nights’ accommodation, but beyond that, are free to do whatever we like until we leave. I have no idea about Sabrina’s plans, but I have been looking into catching an overnight train to Nha Trang, a beach town on the east coast about ¼ of the way up North. It’s about $21 for an air conditioned soft sleeper, and I think it’s an overnight train, so it will cover a night’s accommodation. Then lay on the beach drinking cocktails for a couple of days, before heading back to HCMC.

I would also like to go back to the Mekong Delta. Anything that will take me to markets will be ace. Markets can be the most confronting places. In my time at markets I have seen chickens being slaughtered and bled. Skinned frogs. Cooked pig’s heads. So many fruits and vegetables that I have never seen before. And some faces that I’m sure if I spoke the language, every line would tell a fascinating story. It’s also an awesome chance to try some local food, often egged on by the locals, who can’t wait to see the white girl eating deep fried [insert insect name here] or hard boiled fertilised eggs. So yes. Markets please.

And home again?

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