5.22.08 - 5.27.08
Nha Trang turned out to be a fun trip, though we missed Patrick who came down w/ a little stomach bug before leaving and stayed home. Leaving on the sleeper bus @ 7:15 in Tam ky, we arrived in Nha Trang around 6 in the morning. I hadn't known exactly what a sleepr bus would look like, but it was quite cool & comfortable -- 3 rows of bunk-bed style reclining chairs. I sat directly behind the driver in the top bunk, which was fortunate since I got his air conditioning as well as mine. I was also next to two extremely cool Swedish girls who were heading to Da Lac... just one of their many stops on their 4 month long southeast asia journey. They were awesome, but we didn't start up conversation until about 11 and this caused the driver to dramatically pull over the bus to a complete stop -- only to turn around & tell us w/ one finger up to his lips, "Sh!" And then we were off again.
Nha Trang's beaches were truly beautiful, and its restaurants and shops seemed to be a little step up from those we found in Hoi an. Our hotel was called "NICE hotel" and it was verrrry niiiice (borat voice). After enjoying an ocean swim in the pouring rain, we all took advantage of the 10 dollar parasailing -- Carrie and I went up together. The next day we took the cable cars over to "Vinpearland!" This was an island who's name was pasted to the side in a very hollywood fashion and that contained the ultimate amusement park -- waterpark, dry rides, and an arcade. The last day was a bit of a pamper day... I received my first full body massage. Both nights we went out to the beach and met a couple fun english/irish/danish people. Once again... not so much a weekend focused on culture but it was a great little vacation. On the bus ride home, we were the 1st on the bus, so the 5 of us filled the beds in the very back top row making it a very cozy ride.
Back in Tam ky is when I realized how soon I have to go home and leave all the beautiful faces I've come to love here. It's a stomach sickening feeling because they have brought me so much gratification this month. I almost think that if I were to stay longer, it would be more for selfish than selfless reasons. It's not that I feel that my presence here doesn't matter, but I do feel that it has done more good for me than the children.
Yesterday at the Home of Affection, we brought along a boom box and Danielle's pump up cd. Initially, the kids were hesitant to dance and watched us with embarrassed smiles as us volunteers danced around. However, within a few minutes they were all up and jumping around. Some of the older boys began break dancing and I'm not gonna lie.. they were pretty darn good. They told Tam they learned it on TV.
It's been getting hotter here.. the last couple days have almost been unbearable. Maybe it's a good thing I won't have to suffer through a Vietnam June.
I don't know if Vietnam is the most beautiful country, but I have certainly seen in that way. I think it's beauty is found in smaller places... not in its landscape or architecture or fashion. It's difficult to put into words. As a foreigner, I notice even the most minute glimpses of everyday life. One such occassion occurred during one of our first night bike rides in Tam ky, as we pedaled past a woman praying. She was old, a lighted stick of incense pressed between her hands, and her light blue robe matched the flurescent blue of the walls behind her. She faced the road as if on a stage -- her open home standing out of the darkness which surrounded it -- and yet she was so utterly unaware of her audience. She simply stood there, which such a stillness and her lips seemed to spell peacefullness.
I won't forget those kind of moments. I'm not sure if being a complete tourist in Vietnam would have given me the same impression of the country.. and for that I am thankful to have experienced the country in the way I did. Somehow as a volunteer, I felt just a little bit more a part of everything. It was never really about the sites... and I'm not sure if it ever is, really. Hopefully I'll get one more entry up before leaving... but otherwise, I'll be home 5 am on the 1st and meanwhile will be trying to fit in as much as I can in the next 4ish days. I love you all, and thanks so much for caring and taking the time to read this thing : )