Leaving Vietnam...hello Laos!!

Trip Start Jul 08, 2009
Trip End Aug 31, 2009

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I just don't understand. I was getting ready to board the train and wanted to buy some fruit. There is this pear/apple tasting fruit that really good so I wanted to buy one. They wanted to charge me 20,000 dong which is $1.10 I walked away. Then shes like 10,000 dong. That was a decent price so I said OK. Then I wanted to buy 2 baguettes. They wanted to charge me 20,000 dong. When I was in Dalat 2 baguettes were 5,000 dong. So I walked away and went to someone else who also wanted to over charge me. Finally I paid 5,000 dong. I just don't understand. There is such a difference between North Vietnam and Southern Vietnam. Southern Vietnamese are nicer. I've heard that before but they really are. They don't want to take advantage of you and are more honest. People in the North want to take advantage of you. Given 50 cents is not a lot, but its the principle of it. And it happens with everything.

So I was really look forward to sleeping in my soft seat. My ticket said to board on cabin 9 seat 6. So I did. When I bored it was hard seats. They are pretty much like a park bench with a back that goes straight up. I double checked with the train conductor and hes like get on. So I did and it was soooo uncomfortable.  Since this is the cheapest seat they load people onto the train. Even though there were two seats on my bench, we had 4 people sitting there, 2 on the floor and 3 people across from me. Leg room... what's that? The train took 10 hours and we finally arrived to Hanoi at 5am, it could not come fast enough. It was so hot in the train, and between the sweat, the bugs crawling around on the walls, people eating, smoking, laughing... I could not wait to get off. The last hour we had AC... a whole lot of it too. I was freezing.

I arrived back at my hotel, banged on the gate for someone to let me in and passed out. But the room they gave me had no electricity. I woke up early because I was suppose to go on a tour today but because of my lack of sleep I skipped that and asked for the electric to go on so that I can turn on the AC and slept for another 4 hours. I enjoyed the rest of the day getting lost and rooming around Hanoi.

Today, I went to see Ho Chi Minh's body. That's right, his body. I would have taken photos except all bags, phones, and cameras had to be turned over before entering the area, not even the building, where his body is. Ho Chi Minh was the Prime Minister and President of Northern Vietnam.  He died in 1969 and even though his will states that he preferred cremation because it would be "more hygienic than burial and would also save land for agricultural purposes". By building this mausoleum, the succeeding Communist government violated Ho's wishes.  His body is stored in a glass case and has seven guards watching over his body and guide local and foreign tourist through the room where his body is stored. He looks more like a wax figure than a real person though.

This afternoon as I went on a search for a cheap lunch (I only had around $7 USD on me), I went past these two women on the street.  They were selling these cute bookmarks that I've seen a few places in Vietnam and then I saw a sign that DEAF. I turn to them and they sign Deaf. AHHH!!! Yay! Finally I met some deaf people! We talked for about 20-30 minutes. They knew some American Sign Language (ASL) and some Vietnamese sign. She had said a deaf person from America came over and taught them ASL. She said that there's around 20-30 deaf people who make these bookmarks and cards in a shop not to far from where we were. She showed me some of the local signs for towns and talked about the area of Hoani.  She told me that the government does not help people who are deaf so they are forced to come up with another way of earning money.  She was so sweet. I understood most of what she signed, but every once in a while she would sign a local Vietnamese sign that I had no idea what it meant. It was so cool meeting them. So of course, I spent $5 of my $7 that I had left and bought some bookmarks. haha. So my very light lunch consisted of soup and sticky rice that I bought off someone for dessert. haha. Good meal! I have an hour and a half before I leave for the airport and catching up on some emails.
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