Thursday, July 12, 2007

Honeymoon Volume IV (Final Instalment!)

Finally! I've made it to the end of honeymoon adventures. So much has been going on in my current life that I haven't had time to finish this. I feel like I'll never catch up to real time. Anyway, here goes.....

June 24

We found out that our "discounted" rate meaning we didn't pay the full $320 for a hotel room didn't include breakfast at the hotel in the morning. Interesting how a $15 hotel can include that and a very expensive one is too cheap to toss in the free breakfast. It was still just standard eggs etc. So we went and found a bakery and ate a loaf of fresh french bread for breakfast, then meandered over to an internet cafe since our oh so fany hotel also made us pay $1 every ten minutes and the cafe was $1 for an hour. The $15 hotel had free internet access, sure it didn't have soap, but given a choice what would you choose? LOL, ok ok so I did enjoy the Caravelle Hotel, I just felt like we were treated like second rate guests because we didn't pay the full rate. Anyway, after breakfast we decided to go to the War Remnants Museum. Not the most romantic choice for a honeymoon since we pretty much saw a lot of gruesome things that were pretty depressing. We understood that this was all from the Vietnamese perspective and so of course things could have been and problably were somewhat skewed in the way they were presented, but it still made you want to shut up so people couldn't hear your American accent while you're walking around staring at atrocities like mock "Tiger Cages" where men were held captive with their feet constatntly shackled. Sometimes the stories and pictures would show some woman crying over a body and say that her husband was just farming and then the soldiers came and killed him. I have no idea how often a "farmer" was a guerilla insurgent or how often our troops carelessly killed some innocent civilian. It certainly wasn't very fun to think about though. After that museum we decided that we couldn't take any more for the day, and went to lunch at a highly recommended restaurant. It was quite crowded, and looked like it had some really great dishes, Scott and I didn't really know what we were ordering though, so I think we may have accidentally ordered side dishes. They were alright, but nothing spectacular. The menu was in english, but things do sort of get lost in translation sometimes. Much like the "To this way" signs all over the temples in Angkor Wat, or the "Inconvenience caused is regretted" sign that we saw. Scott thought that one meant that if you caused someone to be inconvenienced you'd regret it, I explained that it was just their way of apologizing. After lunch we finished up some souvenier shopping, and hung around the hotel room a bit. Then we went and got some more Pho at Pho 24, the place Scott burned his mouth off. We walked by a bar and for some reason decided to go in and get a drink. We sat at a table and noticed that there were a pair of very familiar looking mugs sitting there. Our good friends Senor Bob and Cha-Cha were sitting amongst the bottles. They even said Macayo's on them, so we know that they came from the same restaurant that we had our wedding rehearsal dinner at. For those of you who don't know, Bob and Cha-Cha are the names of the mugs that you can get at Macayos restaurant. These restaurants are located in Arizona and there is one in Las Vegas. It was still pretty amazing to see them on a shelf in a very random Vietnamese bar. We saw that the place had some dart boards so we asked for some darts and started playing a little. My dart game isn't the best, I'd say it's probably on par with the rest of my athletic abilities. I think most anyone who knows me knows how great that is. I decided that since this was pretty much our last night, I needed to take inspiration from our friends Sky and Anna who come back from every vacation with more friends than they started with. So we asked the couple standing near us to play a game of Cricket. Cricket is a darts game where you have to get certain numbers 3 times before your opponent does in order to start scoring on them. The couple was very nice. They both were visiting from Hong Kong where they worked. Monica was originally from Minnesotta and Pete was originally from Australia. He was familiar with the actual Cricket, but soon caught on to this version as well. Our new friends were quite generous and made sure that neither of us went thirsty that night. In the end the we played 4 and a half games with the final standings 2-2 with the last game unfinished due to an ATM run. A pretty perfect way to leave it all I'd say. I forget why exactly, but at some point Pete decided to write on my leg, I remember telling him that I'd show him that in the morning. We left the bar at midnight since it was closing time and thought we'd grab some food, but everything was completely shut. The only people we saw were a man laying in the middle of the sidewalk face down and spread eagle while he got a massage from some lady. We headed around the corner to our respective hotels and made plans to meet at noon at our hotel lobby to get some lunch.

June 25
Scott and I woke up fairly late, but quite hungry and got ready to see if Pete and Monica would remember to come meet us. When I was in the shower, I looked down surprised to see something funny on my leg. I really wish I'd taken a picture because I can't remember exactly what it said now. Something like "Hi, don't worry... you will get better...lose your family at darts." LOL! Scott had to read it for me since it was nearly illegible. We packed our bags and left them with the front desk since we had to check out by noon and our flight wasn't until midnight. Then we waited for 10 minutes in the lobby and decided we were too hungry to wait any more and luckily Scott remembered that they were staying in the place across the street from us. We had exchanged cards and e-mail addresses so we were able to call their room. Scott and I wandered over to get some more bread from the bakery while they finished getting ready since we were starving, and saw another Pho 24 on our way. Each of the Pho 24s that we ate at were different locations, all within probably less than a square mile of each other. So we met up with our new friends and dashed through the rain to eat some Pho. Fortunately they took our advice and didn't chomp down on any of the hot peppers:) We showed them our Pho eating techniquese which I'm sure they were quite impressed by hehe and had a very enjoyable, but somewhat groggy meal. When we finished eating it was completely pouring outside so we made a mad dash to a coffee house that turned us away since they didn't have enough seating. We mad dashed across the street to an Illy coffee shop, which was kind of funny since there is one of those practically under my office in the city. Speaking of franchises, I didn't see any McDonalds while we were there but I did see a lot of KFC's. After our coffee we said goodbye to Pete and Monica since they had to catch a flight home. We went to pick up all our tailored suits and dresses, and were brave enough to try another museum. This museum was the Ho Chi Minh city museum, and generally showed the history of the city and the people, we avoided the war relics room and explored the tunnels under the building that were used as a command post during the war. We had read in the guidebook that this used to be a governors mansion and that the gardens were often used by couples for their wedding pictures. Sure enough we did see a bride and groom posing for pictures around the house and in the gardens. The place had a double staircase where the bride and groom filmed part of their wedding video. They had her walking down the stairs to meet him at the platform where he was uncomfortably strumming a guitar. You could tell it was a prop and that he didn't really play. The walk back was nice since it had stopped raining and by then we were equipped with an umbrella from the hotel anyway. We walked through a park where every one of the numerous benches was occupied by people sitting out. The parks in HCMC were interesting. They were almost more like medians sometimes, and never bigger than a block or two, but people used them to the fullest. Families would play soccer, and at dusk they seemed to have mass exercise classes where a group of about 80-100 people all stood and did calisthenics in unison. After dark if you walked along the edge of the park it was practically bumper to bumper with parked motorbikes. Each motorbike had a guy and a girl who were very obviously canoodling. Hehe it was a strangely public lovers lane. Scott really wanted to try an Argentinean Steak House that he'd read about so we went there for dinner. It was ok, I think I had some fish and he had blue cheese steak. Scott really liked his. We managed to strech dinner to last about 2.5 hours since we didn't have any hotel room to go to before we caught a cab to the airport. When we did get to the airport, there were huge hoards of people standing outside of it. At first I was glad we got there so early, thinking that everyone was on a departing flight. I could barely even get through the crowd. Then I realized that nobody in the crowd was actually going into the airport. They were all there to say farewell to some loved one. There were lots of very loud goodbyes, I hadn't realized that's what they were at first because I don't speak Vietnamese very well. I tried to learn the phrase "can I take your picture?" from the guidebook, but decided it was easier just to motion with my hands and nod questioningly. I also learned thank you - Cahm Uhn (pronounced ca mun). They sort of laughed and smiled when I tried that. I have no idea what I sounded like. We had a lot of time to kill at the airport and it was nearly midnight, so I decided we needed an airport foot massage. It was actually quite nice, since it got us out of the noisy flourescent lights and into a soothing atmosphere with blue lights. Scott wasn't quite as relaxed because when he sat down he slammed his elbow into the corner of the table in between our chairs. He couldn't even make any noise about it because the room was a big square with comfy chairs around the perimeter filled with people getting massages. The fountain in the middle wouldn't have drowned out his yelp, and I'm guessing would have startled all the relaxers. It was a bit like fast food massage, but it was still nice to get a massage instead of sitting on hard plastic. We had already gone through security, but we had to put our bags through the machine again as they checked our boarding passes and placed us in a second waiting area. This one was for all the passengers on our plane, and didn't have enough seats for everyone though. I think every traveling person had a baby with them and they all seemed peaceful since it was the middle of the night. When we finally got onto the plain and into the air it was a different story. Those babies cried for a good 20 minutes solid. Full out screams!

June 26
It was our goal to stay awake all the way to Korea so we could reset our clocks, but that didn't really work. 5 hours of sitting in a plane doesn't help you stay awake. The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. We spent some time in the Korean airport again, then 13 hours on a plane. When we finally made it to the US I believe our bags were one of the very last ones to come out. It felt like it took forever. New York was definitely the hottest out of all the places we'd been. Phoenix, Vietnam, Cambodia nope NYC was hotter than them all. Some friends of ours had been kind enough to keep our car so we didn't have to pay for parking. so we got dropped off there and went home! The goal was to stay awake until at least 8 or 9 pm. We landed in NYC at 11 am. I think we just rested our heads at about 4:00pm and didn't wake up until 2:00am. Oh well. We're all adjusted now, and we had a very very nice honeymoon.

1 comment:

Recap Defined

ri•cap 1 (rē-kāp') Pronunciation Key tr.v. ri•capped, ri•cap•ping, ri•caps
1. a summary at the end that repeats the substance of a longer discussion
2. To replace a cap or caplike covering on: recapped the camera lens.
3. Ri - a female given name: derived from Adrienne.