Saturday, March 5th, 2016
We grabbed chicken and beef Pho at “Pho Thin” for breakfast before returning to our room to sleep in until noon.
After our extended power nap, we waited in the lobby for our bus to pick us up and take us to Quy Nhon. Remembering past regrets, I tried to race the clock to grab a Banh Mi to-go, and began to panic when I saw a bus heading towards our hotel. We ran as fast as we could, hoping it wouldn’t leave without us only to see it stop at the hotel next door. We were safe.
A minivan would eventually show up to take us to the bus station so we could climb aboard a sleeper bus. This time there were assigned seats, which I wasn’t aware of until a couple informed us that we were in theirs, pointing to the numbers on their tickets and the matching ones above the seats. We apologized, then located our own. Mine was posted next to a man who decided to bring his large, new television along for the ride.
I attempted to nap, until Trevor poked at me so I wouldn’t miss out on the mountainous scenery, succeeded by rice fields and fishing harbors. In between it all, we stopped to eat dinner at a rest stop. I got noodles and Trevor tried to order eggs with toast, but they were all out of bread. That seems to happen often in Vietnam.
When we were finally dropped off and got reacquainted with our backpacks, we were bombarded by “Hello! Hello! Hello! Motorbike?! Hello! Hello! Motorbike?! Hello!” I used the proper hand gestures to ask the eager crowd of drivers to wait a second, which they completely disregarded in the heat of competition. I still didn’t even have my shoes on, and my iPod was still out of reach so I wasn’t even able to tell them where we needed to go.
Once I was situated, I showed one of the guys the address and asked him how much. Confusion ensued. A younger guy who understood and spoke more English than the others was waved down, and translated for them. Then they all began arguing over who was taking us. I stood there half asleep as I waited for them to come to an agreement. Both Trevor and I ended up on different bikes, and I started to get worried when we lost sight of one another during the ride. Fortunately, we both ended up at the right place in the end.
Our struggle with language barriers continued when we tried to get checked into “Hotel Hai Huong.” This was clearly a place less ventured by Westerners, but after a little patience and a game of charades, we managed to get checked in.
We were put in a room without a connecting bathroom. I was confused and thought we were sharing the bathroom across the hall with the whole floor. This stressed me out since the door didn’t seem to lock. The following day I’d be relieved to uncover that it was our very own bathroom, and our room key would lock it for me. I was partially asleep and cranky upon arrival, so my brain wasn’t exactly processing information adequately. Just when I thought sleep would finally be coming my way, our neighbor kept standing outside our door smoking a cigarette and whistling. The stench of the cigarette smoke would combine with the one emitting from my pillow, which strangely smelled like soup.
Jump Ahead to Part 10: Sand, C-Mart & Heavenly Fare
Start from the Beginning at Part 1: Busing Across the Border to Ho Chi Minh City