Two weeks to go!
Seems unbelievable but in two weeks I fly to Vietnam. I left over a year ago and wondered in Day One and perhaps on some blog when and if I would come back. I kinda discounted the whole “if” thing because I knew at some point I would go. A year in Mexico was a good thing for me. It let me puzzle whether I would just move to Belize, Costa Rica and Panama awhile. Panama has a really nice retirement visa scope too. Easy to qualify for and I could have done that with a bit longer stay in the US. But then Cambodia opened up with visa on arrivals and stuff. I also knew I would not return to the US after this last trip for some years. I had decided leaving Mexico I would have what I needed or wanted to just live again in Cambodia.
But now dear reader. Now is now. And now is 2 weeks to go. I get a month there to do a subset of things I would normally do. It used to be I would get the three month visa and wander around as I wanted. Often starting somewhere like Saigon or Da Nang. I really never cared for Saigon much after living in Hanoi but it was easy to just get there and stay awhile and get a bus ticket from there to Can Tho from Lily. Or fly north to Da Nang or Hanoi directly and often meet Lily in Hanoi.
This time there is not the luxury of slow movement which has always seemed the salve and ointment to things for me. I remember before just going to Vietnam when things seemed difficult. I could always find this welcome and smile getting there. It did not matter where really. One time I just bailed to Da Nang and spent a few weeks there wandering the sights and sounds. Another time I decided after disliking Manila to get back to Saigon after a Christmas spent in KL. I took 10 days from about Christmas to New Years. Always a respite and always time to wonder and wander.
But now I go back and it is not like the other times. This time it is not really like going back. There is no real “back” to go to. This is a new Vietnam for me. And I get 30 days to go find it. I’ve managed to reach a number of friends there and hopefully will see them scattered between Saigon and Hanoi. Lily will come up to Saigon from Can Tho to be with me. I thought I would not get to see her. Then up to Hanoi like and unlike so many times before.
I can’t imagine the feeling putting my foot down on the ground in Vietnam so to kind of bridge the gap, I’ll be sharing my fictional 5 part accounting of going when I thought there was no going. It was a fun series to write because it really let me blend truth and fantasy while carefully changing some of the names of the people to make it seem fictional. The places are real. I’ll post the first one soon and then the final four parts. Fun times!
Just to grow the mystery, here is a photo of Vietnam. Do you know where from? It is not Halong Bay although they share some characteristics. I have a Vietnamese friend that lives there I will not see this time.
Stay tuned for my five parts of a fictional accounting of an old retired guy going to a Vietnam that only partly exists.