As soon as we arrived at the hotel everything was completely perfect. We were greeted with passion fruit juice and were introduced to Vietnamese students. We were immediately introduced to the street food of Vietnam. I have to start off with the sugar cane juice!!! It is amazing, the fact that sugar cane sticks are grounded through a machine right in front of you is so unique. Watching the machine work is an experience in itself. We had a family dinner at the famous tourist trap Street Food Market. The market is heaven if I ever pictured it in my head. The different booths of various foods and smells just made my heart so full. We sat down at long picnic tables and were brought different Vietnamese meals, going from Vietnamese pancakes to spring rolls to vermicelli. The grilled fish was so buttery and flaky it melted in my mouth. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. The variety of food I experienced was impressive and I’m proud that I didn’t say no to trying different things.
During our trip to Vietnam, I decided to get a tattoo because it seemed to calm me in a certain way. The tattoo artist was a recommendation from our tour guide Louis (he is the coolest dude). Alvin and I took a Grab (same thing as an uber) to district 10, to the artist’s studio. The dude had the cutest little bunnies and was super understanding and chill. The whole process of getting the tattoo was one of my highlights of exploring Vietnam.
Exploring the Capital
Ho Chi Minh City completely changed my perspective on Vietnam, I learned so much about the history and culture within the four days we were there. We got the time to tour the Vietnam War Remnants Museum and it broke me down. It was crazy to look at all the things that the United States did when they were fighting a war that they had no business being in. There were so many violent and twisted crimes that occurred during this war that it brought me to tears. Hearing about Agent Orange is something that’s so disappointing and horrific that the soldiers should have been jailed for this. The chemical destroyed thousands of lives. I genuinely appreciated receiving all of the history information on the Vietnam War and history on Ho Chi Minh City in general throughout the trip.
The Last Day
On the last day in Vietnam, Hannah, Alyssa, and I spent our afternoon at a local brewery trying flights of different beers and talking about what we were most looking forward to once we got back home. My dad and I usually do a lot of brewery tours when I’m back home in Texas, so it was really cool to check out local beer halfway across the world. We also introduced Hannah to beer that day, which felt very sentimental to me. It was another highlight of mine on this trip.
Having the opportunity to travel with IBS abroad to Thailand and Vietnam was the best experience of a lifetime. I would do another trip with the same group of people no matter the destination. We went through this trip together as if we were family, looked after each other, ate with each other, and explored together. I absolutely loved everyone who went on the trip, we knew nothing about each other yet we seemed to click right after introductions. I spent a lot of time with Alyssa during the trip. She was my roomie in Thailand, and we were just inseparable, she even stayed behind when everyone went to the Elephant World to hang out with me on my birthday. To find people like this and to make the memories we made as a group is rare and hugs my heart. Exploring Vietnam helped me explore myself.