familiar to millions

If you ignore the last scribblings that were effectively me practising some sports journalism, then the last update was me using this wonderful tool of writing as means to get my scrambled brain back to it’s usual, reasonably grounded state. In a way it has worked as one week on from there I have reached a much more relaxed state of mind, even starting to enjoy my own space and time alone once more.

I’ve spent the week that I have been in Ho Chi sorting my head out while rediscovering the beauty that is doing nothing. Well not exactly nothing, but you get my drift. I haven’t bothered doing any of the touristy things that are on offer everywhere here because I just can’t be arsed. Most mornings I haven’t got out of bed until way past midday. When I have finally crawled out of my rather comfy pit that is the Thanh Thoung guest house, I haven’t ventured any further than my two or three newly found local pubs. Here I have whittled away the afternoons and evenings drinking 30p beers while beating random Vietnamese girls at darts and German men at pool. Then, when the beer has done it’s job I’ve stumbled quite happily to one of three newly found local curry houses and feasted upon samosas, naans, curries and rice before retiring back to bed.

It’s turned out to be everything that I needed. Acting almost like a local, going to the same bars and restaurants that I did the previous day and the day before that. The barmaids remember my face when I walk into these places, while the curry houses almost have my favourite green label Saigon beer on the table before I have sat down. They ask me how I am, rather than the usual ‘Can I take your money, sorry I mean order’ that can become very tiresome when visiting a different place every other day. The young family that run Thanh Thoung have been so welcoming, it has almost felt like a home. My own space, my own room and plenty of familiar people to chat to if and when I choose to stop playing computer games or watching England lose to Australia on a dodgy stream website. It may sound like I’m not getting the most out of Vietnam – or at least as much as the average backpacker or tourist may do. But frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. The time here that I have been forced to spend whilst waiting for the Indian Embassy to issue me a double entry visa has been good to me.

So, have I come up with any answers to those many questions that were buzzing round in my head? Well in the short, yes. Just one or two, of which one it is probably the most important one in terms of my life in the next twelve months or so. I briefly mentioned that one of the questions that I had started to ask myself was whether or not I felt I could return to the UK and slip straight back into life as I knew it before heading off on this adventure. Well, after a week soul searching and doing what I have done here in Ho Chi, I’ve come to realise that it is partly the lack of stability in my life that is causing me to have all these irrational thoughts. I was happy with life in the UK prior to leaving, so certainly have no reason not to go back. I like Hereford – I have seen enough shit holes in the world now to have reconfirmed yet again that it is a decent place to live. For the first time since this trip started I have started to look seriously at lettings on the internet, looking forward to making a fresh start in a new pad. I’m delighted that this question I asked myself has seemingly been untangled.

Without a doubt watching people go home to friends and family after the cricket upset me. All I was doing was leaving someone I cared for deeply in Australia in Loz. I wouldn’t be seeing Mum and Martin at the airport and nor would I be catching up with my mates on the golf course or in the pub. There would be no gossip or ‘school night’ piss ups with Steph. I was moving into the unknown once again in travelling to Vietnam and without a doubt I was just not ready for that.

A week on and the second question that I have answered partly solves the unknown that was Vietnam. With all that was going on in the Ashes, and then with Loz, I had done no research into Vietnam other than a booking for three nights in Thanh Thoung. After clearing my head through the realisation that I was more than happy for the time being to go back to Blighty, I started to work out what I wanted out of Vietnam. I’m nearly at the end of my ‘do nothing’ stage here in Ho Chi, and I was getting to the point where I needed to make decisions. My lack of planning into Vietnam became an issue when I saw the distance between Ho Chi and Hanoi, of which I was naïve enough to think that I could travel overland comfortably enough in just under three weeks. It isn’t. Not without a mammoth thirty hour train ride at some point, or several stupidly long overnight bus journeys. This would also mean that I’d be doing what I did in those first seven or eight weeks on the road, which was spending nothing more than a couple of nights here and a couple of nights there. Fuck that, I’m still mentally exhausted from the Australia experience and the after effects it has had on me to put myself though that. So, all being well with the passport tomorrow I’ll be on my way from the airport to Hue on Thursday for the start of three weeks of reasonably easy travel. I’ll be heading back south overland to Ho Chi, stopping at several towns and cities on the way before flying back to KL on February 7th. I considered going up to Hanoi from Hue, which would mean I would get to see Halong Bay. But with the weather there being a rather chilly 10c at the moment, plus a longer more expensive flight to KL from Hanoi, I reckon I’ve made a good decision..

There are still some unanswered questions in my mind but I am determined to start fully enjoying Vietnam once I get up to Hue. Seeing as it is 2.10pm here I really should get out of bed and play some pool and darts while drinking dirt cheap beer.

It isn’t all bad.


2 Responses to “familiar to millions”

  1. 1 Donna
    January 18, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Wow…in my opinion that is another beautiful, open minded, heart filled and funny Blog Rich..I am delighted you are having what sounds like a solid bit of rest and that you feel, having seen so much of the world, that way about Hereford. I still think your writing, about sports or otherwise is much more than ‘amateur’ though… anyways…friendly faces, good accommodation, darts, pool, beer, curry, computer games etc…mmmmmmmmmm..nice…

  2. 2 andy mac
    January 19, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Hi Rich
    Love the electrics on the poles, its virtually all you can see of the streets, would’nt want to be walking under or around those when the monsoon’s start.
    Glad you’ve settled a few things in your mind.
    Main reason for the post …. without being heightist, just how tall was your mate in the piccy. Not the largest yourself, you are absolutely dwarfing him whilst bending down. I’m used to being tallest man in the Desh, SL etc ( Crouchy excepted) but you must be in the top 5 in ‘Nam. Enjoy it while you can.
    Take care.

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