May 20, 2007
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam
Today is May 20, 2007, and we left Ho Chi Minh City this morning
for Hanoit. This had to have been one of my worst mornings
this whole entire trip so far. The day that we had to be ready by 6
a.m., would be the day that I sleep past 5 a.m. It was quite
frustrating, but we were heading to breakfast first so that kind of
cheered me up.
After I ate a lovely plate of bacon and scrambled eggs, it was
time for us to load the bus with our bags that seemed to weigh 30
pounds more than what we initially brought in the beginning.
Nguyen, our hostess, passed around a little book and had us all
write out our email addresses so that we could keep in contact with
her after the trip. As we reached the airport, we unloaded our
baggage from the bus and said our goodbyes to Nguyen. It was sad to
leave her behind because she has been with us the whole trip and it
felt like she was one of us. I’ll miss you Nguyen!
Since Hanoi was only about a two hour flight, I thought it would
be a piece of cake since, obviously, it was nothing compared to our
trip to Ho Chi Minh City from New York. Well, I was wrong. I walked
on the plane to see that the seats were extremely close to one
another. I am all legs and tight seats were not going to make for a
comfortable flight. So, I sit down in my aisle seat and my knees
are kissing the seat in front of me. This had to have been the
worst position possible. I extend my legs into the aisle to feel
more comfortable and the flight attendants are constantly tapping
me asking me to put my feet back in my row. The problem is they
won’t fit! When I looked over I saw our travel mate Duan at a 90
degree angle with his head nearly touching the seat in front of
him. But I eventually got over my lack of leg room. Coach Mario
wanted to recline his seat, which should have been forbidden on
We landed in Hanoi and were not greeted by a whole university of
students like when we landed in Ho Chi Minh. We were just greeted
by our tour guide. Lena [Yee] claims that his name is Bic
(pronounced bike), so that is what we have been calling him all
day. We got on the bus and drove an hour to our hotel. On the way
there I admired at the homes along the side of the road. They are
just fascinating. They are very narrow and tall, and varied in
color. As we passed the homes, I saw cows!! I suddenly began to
daydream and the cows turned into golden arches and the thought of
a McDonald’s near by made me quite excited.
We arrived for lunch at this restaurant that came out of
nowhere. I believe this was Coach Li’s highlight of the day. He
tried everything!! From spaghetti to cow feet, it was in his plate;
and his plate was practically licked clean. Everything that he
tried he threw in the phrase “If you throw in a cold beverage,
you’ll be in heaven.” I do not think a Coke and pig’s tail is the
heaven I look forward to.
After lunch we arrived at the beautiful Hanoi Horison Hotel. We
only had time to put our things in our rooms and come back
downstairs because we had a tour of Hanoi scheduled.
First, we went to the Temple of Literature. My teammates and I
wanted to explore the streets with Coach Mario, so we went to
different shops. The traffic is nothing like in Ho Chi Minh City.
We were able to cross the street with ease without being nearly run
over by a moped. We then went to the Hanoi Hilton. This is not a
Hotel. It was a French prison for Vietnamese political prisoners.
We were able to go inside the cells and see where the prisoners
were kept. Casie [Brooks] was caught taking pictures as if she was
an actual prisoner. A new hotel took over most of the land, and it
is said that when they look out the window into the prison late at
night, you can see the dead prisoners lying in this one
After we toured the prison, we took an hour bicycle tour to the
dinner cruise. This was exciting and scary at the same time. I felt
that I was going to get ran off the road by a moped or run over by
a bus that drove extremely close to my carriage. We finally get to
the boat and realize that four of our teammates are missing. Liz
[Austin], Lena [Yee], Alanna [Rutan], and Val [Kovaleva] are all
missing. As the boat is leaving the dock, I see my baby Lena
walking. She has this walk that you can not miss. She tends to walk
like she is tough, but she’s barely 5’2”. They get on a speed boat
and were able to make a celebrity appearance on the boat.
Well, it is late and I have to get this posted before I fall
asleep. Mom, Dad, Johnie and Soroya, I miss you guys so much. Mom,
sorry if you couldn’t see me on AIM today.
Thank you all for your support
Latoya Blunt #10