The next morning we drove 4 hours back to Phnom Penh and then Dara and I packed my entire room in literally less than 10 minutes because we were catching a bus to Vietnam that afternoon at 2. It was very rushed and I was sad because I didn’t really get to take in the fact that we were leaving Phnom Penh. The bus ride to Vietnam wasn’t too bad but felt like an eternity because we had already spent 4 hours on a bus that morning. We got into Ho Chi Minh at 8:30pm and grabbed a quick dinner and then went to bed. We have Vietnamese classes every morning and then spend the afternoons teaching classes. It’s a lot of work and I go home every night exahusted but it’s definitely better than the classes we were taking in Phnom Penh.
Man is updating this thing harder than I thought it would be!
I’ve been getting a lot of comments/questions about the food here. Originally this was supposed to be a food blog and so far there hasn’t really been much about the food here. This is mainly because I am not a fan of Khmer food. I love Cambodia but the one thing about it I would change is the food. In Phnom Penh I was basically eating fried rice and noodles everyday and to be honest…they weren’t even that good! There is very little flavor in Khmer food, ZERO salt and not many ingredients. It’s hard to get a daily serving of vegetables and the flavor of the meat is not one that I like. I got quite a bad case of food poisoning last Thursday in Phnom Penh and spent most of the weekend at Sihanoukville in my hotel room instead of venturing out to the beach. It has now been over a full week and I don’t have a fever anymore and my body is starting to gain back strength but my stomach is still killing me. I can’t wait till this thing is finally gone. You don’t want to know how many different kinds of drugs I’ve been on this past week but NONE of them worked. The other night Hien, a Vietnamese woman who works at LanguageCorps, got me some Chinese herbal medicine wrapped in a piece of paper and the sketchy, unlabled pills I took seemed to cure me for a day but I definitely still have some kind of disease.
I have now been in Ho Chi Minh City since Sunday night and am very busy taking Vietnamese lessons and getting in a lot of practice teaching. But more on this later…
Let’s go back to Cambodia. My time there flew by and I do miss it a lot. My housemates just ran into Anthony Bourdain at the Russian Market and I am beyond jealous that I was not there for that. Unfortunately my being sick ruined my last night in Phnom Penh and I didn’t get to enjoy a last night out in the city. But I am already thinking about going back, maybe for the Water Festival in November, so I’ll definitely have more chances to spend time there. Even though I was deathly ill during the beach trip and we got maybe 10 minutes of sunshine the entire weekend, I did have a lot of fun. The LanguageCorps crew spent a lot of time just chilling around the hotel and getting some much deserved rest after a long week. One afternoon when I was feeling OK I went down to the beach with my Khmer friends Dara, Trea and Lana and we kicked a soccer ball around, lounged on couches on the beach and the three of them went into the water. The beach next to our hotel isn’t very touristy so we were the only ones there which was really nice. I can imagine that place being like paradise when the weather is sunny. Our last night at the beach the entire group went out for a barbeque dinner at a restaurant literally 10 feet from the ocean. My stomach was still killing me so I didn’t eat much or drink but we spent the entire night dancing, drinking $2 whiskey buckets (literally buckets you would use to make a sand castle at the beach) and setting off $1 fireworks on the beach. It was a really fun last night with everyone.
Ho Chi Minh is wild. After being in Phnom Penh for two weeks Saigon seems like New York City and there are motorbikes EVERYWHERE! It’s a major city and there is so much to do here. The area we have been spending time in (District 1 and District 3) has a lot of shopping, restaurants and bars. I think most foreigners visiting the city hang out around here. Since I’ve been sick and busy with teaching I haven’t explored much but I plan to do that this weekend. I think it will be a good place to live. I’m going to start taking pictures of the food I’m eating so my next entry will be about food!