that travel thing

[Weekending] Hello from Hanoi.

Hiya friends!

I’m coming at you live from Hanoi this gorgeous morning! Amir has work here for a few days & then a long weekend at the end of this week, so we thought we would make a trip out of Vietnam and do some exploring. Ever since we moved to SE Asia, Amir has had Vietnam on his “must visit” list and with the timing working out so perfectly, we finally get to make his “Good morning, Vietnam” dreams come true!

On Saturday morning (yep, again with that ridiculous 4 am wake up call & 7 am flight stuff), we hopped up out of bed and made our way to the airport so we could get to Ho Chi Minh for the weekend.

As many of y’all know Ho Chi Minh played a heavy part of the Vietnam War against America and I’ll be totally honest right now to say that I just don’t know much about the history of the war because I have never been a history buff. That being said, being in Ho Chi Minh for the last two days was a seriously humbling experience.

Having learned American history and always knowing that side of the story, it was very interesting to get the perspective from the other side in the war. The amount of machinery that was available to our military vs what was available to the Vietnamese is crazy and to hear the gruesome details of what both sides went through just makes my heart heavy. So many casualties, so much destruction and yet somehow, at the end of it all, Vietnam & the USA have been able to build their relationship and move past the terrible things they both did. It’s all mind-boggling for me.
Amir & I were staying in the Backpackers Area on Bui Vien at this super cute hotel called Duc Vuong which had this awesome rooftop bar / restaurant! Since we were kind of dead tired by the time we arrived in the morning, we figured a trip to the rooftop for some coffee would be a good idea before we were off for the day!

I think I would like to drink Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk every single day now and only in that way ever again. Haha.

After getting our coffee fix and settling in a little bit, we decided to do a little exploration of where we were staying and we happened to come across a bunch of tour stands! If you’re going to go to Vietnam and book a tour, check out those little stands first, y’all. We realized that the tour we booked through the hotel was overcharging us and we were able to go back with much cheaper quotes from the other companies which were just minutes from our hotel and get ourselves booked on something that did not end up costing us an arm & a leg! 
We had a bit of time before the tour and since we hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast, we figured it was time for a round of Pho & Bahn Mi ๐Ÿ˜‰ 
Now y’all KNOW that Amir & I love to eat and half the fun we have when we travel is trying out the local foods and this time was no different. The pho was so incredibly good and we were both sweating our faces off with the spice from it, haha! Mmmm and now I’m craving pho at 10:30 am. And that Bahn Mi…holy yummy French baguette with crisp veggies. Droooool. 

Once our stomachs were sufficiently stuffed it was time to get dressed and head out for our first tour! The first place on our list of places to see were the Cu Chi tunnels which are the underground tunnels (stretching over 30-40 kms) that were used by the Viet Cong during the war with the USA and also during their fight with North Vietnam. The tunnels are about a 1.5 hour drive from Ho Chi Minh and once your group bus showed up, off we went. 
The tour was incredible & gut wrenching all at the same time. It was hard to see the gory and gruesome details of the war torture, but it was just as interesting to hear how the tunnels were used by the Vietnamese for their survival. 
Left // Types of bombs that were used during the war. 
Right // A bomb crater that has been left in the forest the way that it was after the bombing. 

Left // The guide got into a hole that shows how big the hiding spots were for the Viet Cong to use during the war. The spot was so small I still can’t believe that people could actually be in there for minutes, hours or days at a time. 
Right // Amir got to go into the tunnels (some of which have been altered to be bigger for tourists) and go 120 meters to see what the Vietnamese had to deal with. He said as the tunnels went on, they got smaller and smaller and eventually Amir got to the point where he had to sit on his butt and scoot himself through. Crazy! 

The tunnels and the information that we learned during our trip was so interesting. It absolutely blew my mind on the tactics and the skills that were used by the Vietnamese to survive. 
The next day was another early morning and we decided on another group tour, but this time we chose to do the Ho Chi Minh city exploring tour. It was another amazing & humbling day and we got to cover the War Remnants Museum, Chinatown, the Independence Palace, Ben Thanh Market, the Post Office and the Notre Dame Cathedral. 
Left // Photo of the “Napalm Girl” who was burned with a bomb. She recently came out in an interview to say that she has forgiven America for the torture she endured. 
Middle // War medals received by a US Veteran which were offered to the museum as a keepsake. Engraved into the shadow box is a marker that says “I was wrong, I’m sorry” 
Right // Pictures of a protest that was held around the US asking for America to get out of the war. Also a picture of the inquiry that was done into the US to determine the war crimes. 

Left // Chinatown 
Top // Independence Palace
Bottom // Ben Thanh Market 

After getting home that evening, it was time to shower, get dressed and make our way out of Ho Chi Minh and head off to Hanoi! 
And that’s where we are now, folks! Another successful, crazy weekend in the books and more fun headed our way during this next week / weekend ๐Ÿ˜‰ 
Cheers lovelies! x
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  • Reply
    August 31, 2015 at 10:45 AM

    Love that you guys took the opportunity to visit a place you've had on your To Visit list! Looks like it was a great trip! You had me drooling over that coffee this weekend when I saw your photo! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Kerri Taylor
    August 31, 2015 at 12:35 PM

    that trip looks incredible. nice you can just visit for a quick getaway for a weekend too! i love all the history and i would def agree that seems like a humbling experience to learn all those things! cheers to amazing food while traveling – ugh now i want some pho ๐Ÿ™‚

    xoxo cheshire kat

  • Reply
    August 31, 2015 at 10:38 PM

    What an amazing experience!!! Sounds like it was both enlightening and fun for you guys! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

  • Reply
    September 1, 2015 at 2:14 AM

    It's so wonderful that you guys have this opportunity to live overseas and explore so much more of the world than so many people get to. And even more amazing that you're humble enough to really get a great experience out of it! Looks like a wonderful and moving trip!

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