Sunday, April 10, 2011

Another Successful Border Crossing

Well, we made it to Vietnam and although the begging and harassing has eased slightly the heat is still stifling.  We crossed the border today and waited in a building that was out of the sun but cooled by only fans in the 91 degree heat.  We stood in a line attempting to stay cool while we waited to hear our name from the customs officer after he successfully stamped our passport.  As I stood with my 20 kg (44 lbs) backpack on my back and my 8 kg (17 lbs) backpack on my front I could feel the sweat dripping down my face, back and even my legs.  It was very uncomfortable and constricted by my own belongings I couldn't do much about it.

Crossing the border into Vietnam
I probably waited a total of 30 minutes but it felt like much longer.  When I finally reached the air conditioning on the bus (and my belongings were once again stowed underneath) I was so overheated that I couldn't even talk (I'm not a fan of the heat).

This evening, as I sat in my air conditioned hotel room talking to my dad about where he was stationed here.  I mentioned that we were heading north as soon as possible to get out of the heat.  He reminded me that he was very familiar with the heat in Vietnam.  I foolishly realized that I actually had it quite easy today.  I wasn't trying to do drills in full camo with heavy packs on my back in the direct sun day after day.  It could have been much worse.

But I guess that's the good thing about time moving forward...after all, if it didn't I might be taking a trip across the hot Kansas plains in a Conestoga wagon instead of in somewhat modern vehicles in Southeast Asia.

Next up:
  • Walking tour of Ho Chi Minh City including the History museum, Botanical Gardens, War Remnants Museum and other sites
  • Tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels which were used during the Vietnam war
  • Overnight train ride north to Quy Nhon Beach where we spend just a day before hopping on another night train and heading farther north to Danag and Hoi An
Things to be thankful for:
- My bug bites are no longer itching
- Making it safely into yet another country on my list.  Just one more border crossing left into a new country for me before returning home

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