travel, Vietnam

success

I made it here safe and with no complications. I met a sweet exchange student on the plane who was going to visit her family in Japan. I told her that I would email her and show her around California when I got back home (she is studying in Pasadena).
I got in late last night so I met my group today. It was 91 degrees when I got in at 10pm last night and incredibly humid. It’s going to be a sweaty month! For those of you who knew I was worried because i thought that I did not have an airport transfer, someone was there waiting for me when I arrived. Everyone is very friendly. There is a couple from England, a couple from Denmark and a guy fromEngland, all in their 20s and 30s. We took a walking tour of Hanoi today. Ho Chi Minh is the national hero of Vietnamese independence and of the Vietnam War (which is called the American war here). We went to his house today and saw his body (it is embalmed in a huge marble mauseoleum that is heavily guarded). It was very odd. I looked for pictures online, but couldn’t find any.
Walking around the city at 8:30 this morning, there were TONS of people out. Many were eating noodles from huge pots while sitting on the sidewalks, which is also where people park their motorcycles. Vietnam is where I need to get over my fear of motorcycles. The streets are insane and everyone drives them. There are families of 3, women in mini skirts and heels, and a mother who had her toddler standing in between her legs on the bike. Super crazy. I haven’t eaten anything very traditional yet, except for some spring rolls.
We are leaving in a few hours for Halong Bay and to take a boat ride to the island that we are going to stay on.
I think the time change is like 14 hours. I am surprisingly not too jet lagged.
Thanks for the messages of support! Speaking of messages, I can receive and send texts (although it is relatively expensive for me to send them). Phone calls are $2/minute. I get pretty good reception here. Lots of love, Tess

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