Cruising the Mekong
Now I really understand how Dorothy felt when she clicked her shoes together and found herself transported into a different dimension. Our seventeen-hour flight to Narita (Japan) didn’t compare to Dorothy’s instantaneous experience and then the additional six-hour flight to Saigon gave a new value to the appellation “road warrior”, If Dorothy only knew. After going through customs in Saigon the sultry, humid climate hit us. It was late December, we hit the good weather. Customs seemed interminable, but it also could have been my anxiety when I saw the huge crush of people waiting to go through customs. The relief of getting off that plane probably mitigated my enormous crowd anxiety. I was probably catatonic and didn’t notice when the guy stamped the passport. I emerged from Saigon customs with renewed energy, anxiously searching for a friendly face. The “what ifs” were starting to bombard my inner state. I just did not want to figure out how to get to the hotel, that’s’ when I saw out of the corner of my eye a sign “Amawaterways” a broad grin broke out on my face, ok no glitch here It was a seamless transition to the hotel where our luxurious room at the Sofitel embraced me. .
This set the tone for the eighteen-day adventure from Saigon, up the Mekong Delta and ending the trip at the spectacular Ho Long Bey (The descending dragon). I’ve got to admit I love River Cruising. Especially with a company that provides the seamless transition to adventure and cultural immersion. After this trip, I am a definite fan of AmaWaterways. We walked down this hallway to our cabin.
The ambiance set the tone. This was one classy ship. I loved to hang out here and watch the life along the Mekong as I sipped on my favorite libation. I have to tell you, I’m a true septuagenarian, I love to discover, I love adventure, and I like being a tourist. And I like traveling in style. What I don’t like about traveling are some of the misadventures that can ruin your whole trip. I like to have in country professionals take that part out. Once I understand the rules of the country, then I will explore on my own. This is just to set the stage for our first cultural bridging adventure.
CROSSING THE STREET IN SAIGON
Yeah you read this right, “ crossing the street in Saigon” “Ho Chi Mein” City.
If you can imaging the sound of bees swarming maybe increase it by a factor of 100 and then visualize a whole population on mopeds replacing those bees, you will have a sense of the traffic noise, congestion and two stroke motor oil. The fact that no one is going over twenty miles is a mitigating factor. Now your instructions are as follows. “wait until the traffic is at its lightest and then cross the street.” What did he mean by light traffic, less than a million………????Before I could put this to the test, I needed to witness this phenomenon. It didn’t take long. I watched this elderly man start off from the center of the block to cross a four-lane street, traffic thick, I watched his first step off the curb, one motorcycle after the other break, swerve, dodge the old man, one after the other, it looked like he was magickly parting the seas. I was suitably impressed. He arrived at his destination unscathed. Now it was our turn. My wife and I emulated our hero, only I tried looking straight ahead, it didn’t work. I stared down each potential lethal threat and did what seemed like a perp walk. They stopped, swerved, banked, braked and magically we arrived on the other side unscathed. It got easier after that. We are now veterans.