Okay, today I had an honest conversation with myself, most of it out loud as I was fuming in the fumes. While fighting my way back to the hotel I came to the conclusion that I don’t like Viet Nam. Oh, I like Viet Nam, I just don’t like being in it. I’ve been here for over a week, in four cities and I just can’t seem to get the attraction.
There’s nothing pleasant about just strolling around; if you take your eyes off of everything moving around you for one second it’s over, totally over. I’ve found absolutely no way of relaxing here, even lying in your bed in the hotel room you can hear the meep, meep, meep of buzzing motorized vehicles (like gnats) careening toward some unsuspecting German outside.
No. For the ten thousandth time, no, I don’t want to buy a cap with a red star on it. No. I don’t need a motor bike rental or a cyclocab. No. I don’t want to buy a hammock. No. I don’t want to buy counterfeit tour books. No. I don’t want to come into your shop. No. Grabbing my elbow is not going to change my mind. Yes. I do want to learn how to say “just leave me in peace” in Vietnamese. “Where you going?” “Where you from?” “Hallo” “Sir, sir!” I am so over it. “Ma’am, your pointy straw hats are nice. And yes, I am impressed that you have one with “Las” Angeles embroidered on it. But NO! I’m not interested.”
The air quality is abysmal. I long to go back to Bangkok where it was relatively nice and fresh. Really, this place has so much to offer a tourist, especially Hoi An and Hanoi. It really does, and I was frustrated that I couldn’t allow myself to enjoy it. But as a visitor you can’t help be feeling preyed upon. I know, I’m easy to pick out. I’m the pale-faced guy, dressed in Columbia from head to toe, constantly consulting a map from his travel bag. With those kind of credentials I’m fair game. But Mr. Cyclo driver, didn’t you just witness me telling the one 2 feet from you that I wasn’t interested? I still holding out for the lady that walks up to me and says: “Mista, come see my laundro mat.” That ‘s what I really need. I wish that I would have majored in marketing rather than accounting and finance.