I felt a twinge of excitement in my heart when I arrived at Taipei International Airport. I was excited to be back in Asia. Surrounded by a sense of new adventure and familiarity. It was fun to order Taiwanese foods and rediscover items in the convenience stores while I waited for my flight to Vietnam.
And then I felt a thud in my heart when I exited the Saigon airport into the roaring humid mass of Ho Chi Minh City. The “humidity”, my term for the number and density of pedestrians, helped me rediscover the human crush of Saigon. The hot, bright, and loud intensity of the place reminded me of the energy that I had felt when I first arrived two years ago. It was wonderful to return to Saigon and feel welcome and expected.
The week in Saigon was a mixture of meeting friends and rediscovering the city. It was great to see how the city and my friends have both changed and retained their character. Seeing Saigon again broke through my romantic nostalgia and dusted off the memories locked within. All that I had remembered was awake again in front of me.
I will let the photos speak the ineffable happiness and appreciation I felt with my friends and host family in Vietnam.
Andreas and I spent four days in Luang Prabang, Laos. Luang Prabang is a relaxed tourist destination in a mountainous region of Laos. It was a good time to relax and see Laos’ slower pace of life. Luang Prabang reminded me of a Laotian Disneyland, because the relative wealth of the town is based solely on tourism and we tourists walked through a town that exists only to provide for us. I like Luang Prabang, but I couldn’t say I have been to the “real” Laos.