Why Vietnam?
Why Vietnam?

Why Vietnam?

Why Vietnam?

The first time we ended up in Vietnam it was by the process of elimination or as I prefer, good fortune.  

Our friend had recently returned from Thailand and we really wanted to go there but award tickets just weren’t working out.  We decided to stop trying to force Thailand to work and expanded our search  to other countries in Southeast Asia; Vietnam rose to the top of the list.  Getting award tickets was a piece of cake (kismet!) and we started planning right away since we had about six weeks to figure it out.  As usual, the planing process energized and excited us and we couldn’t wait to get there.

Decisions and Logistics

Vietnam is a long, slender country that shares land borders with China, Laos and Cambodia.  The South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand bracket the rest.  While there was so much that called to us, we quickly realized that it didn’t make sense to try to see the whole country on one trip so we decided to focus on the Northern half of Vietnam focusing on Hanoi, Hue and Hoi An with side trips in each of those areas. 

First Glimpse

After a twelve-hour layover at  Narita we arrived in Hanoi around midnight and processed through immigration and customs and were ready to try to find our driver.  

The exit doors opened and Vietnam rushed in around us.  First impressions were the humidity, the activity and  the voices. It was after 1:00 a.m. and throngs of people were waiting as the crowds exited.  We glanced at each other and smiled, then we started looking for our driver.  Aside from being fatigued we were practically vibrating with excitement. 

Quick sidebar:   Graeme  is the guy you want in your corner when it comes to making the arrangements for the details that matter……things like hotels, drivers, cars and such.  Important things, right?  Do I ever make that a priority?  Nope.  This is a perfect example of our complimentary skill set.  I love that he always has someone waiting for us wherever we go.

A Feast for the Senses

Ok, back to leaving the airport…….we were looking for our driver.  All of my senses were engaged……I smelled incense, fragrant, yet unfamiliar food and possibly wood smoke; I heard the spoken words of the Vietnamese language; I saw the endless crowds of people; I felt the humidity and my own sweat as the terminal air-conditioning faded from memory. 
In that very moment, I believe Vietnam  became my soulmate country.  I was in love.