Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016
Since I wouldn’t be spending it with him this year, I wanted to send my Dad a postcard for his birthday and it gave us the opportunity to admire the inside of the beautiful Saigon Central Post Office.
The Notre Dame Cathedral was across the street, so we took a look inside before grabbing coffee at “Cong Caphe”.
We both ran around the corner from our hostel to grab a Banh mi Thit Nuong (grilled pork sandwich), to quickly scarf down before waiting for our bus to take us to Da Lat.
After waiting a long time and sitting through another couple getting picked up to go to a different location, I started to wonder if something was amiss. I went inside to inform the tour company about our scheduled pick-up, and he told us we were at the wrong location. I panicked! The guy shut down shop, told us to follow him and to hustle a few blocks away to the minivan company that would take us to our sleeper bus. It may not happen all the time, but occasionally you’ll run into the kind stranger who goes above and beyond to help out another. People like this restore my faith in humanity. We made it to the sleeper bus just in time!
I tried to get settled in after I removed my shoes and put them inside the given plastic bags (a requirement on every sleeper bus), but soon discovered that my seat was broken and wouldn’t adjust properly. At least I was about to enjoy some nice scenery outside during the ride. Or not. Both people on either side of me soon decided to close the blinds and go to sleep, leaving me in the dark.
We stopped at a couple rest stops throughout the long ride to Da Lat, but the remainder of the time I tried to nap. An arduous task through the ceaseless phone calls with the various, blaring ring tones that would scare the be-Jesus out of me every time I’d start to nod off. On top of it all, I was feeling a little germaphobic since at least half of the patrons on the bus were hacking and sneezing non-stop. If that didn’t do me in, the lady sitting behind me started vomiting in a bag. I was sitting scared, hoping it all made it in the bag and none of it spattered on the back of my head. This was the second time since my short time being in Vietnam that I’ve had someone behind me start puking on a bus. If you couldn’t tell by now, I was not a huge fan of sleeper buses. However, when it came down to convenience and budget-friendliness, they were tolerable.
One thing we weren’t used to was not having to worry about haggling for a ride to our hotel. When our ride was over, we had a free minivan trip to “Hotel Hai Long Vuong,” whose slogan was “Come as a customer, leave as a friend.” We would totally endorse this statement after our stay with the incredibly friendly and helpful owners. Dien, her husband, and their very adorable baby would make our stay incredibly enjoyable, but more on that next time. Once we made it to our room, we collapsed.
Jump Back to Part 4: Travels with Charlie Through the Cu Chi Tunnels
Jump Ahead to Part 6: Man’s Best Friend (or Food?) & Crazy House
Start from the Beginning at Part 1: Busing Across the Border to Ho Chi Minh City