We made it. I am thankful to say we have safely completed our journey through Vietnam and I am now sitting, freshly showered in clean pajamas in my own living room. This morning we awoke to the tunes of blaring, scratchy Vietnamese music played over the intercom system of our Reunification Express train as it arrived in Hanoi, in bunk bed sheets we are certain someone else slept in before boarding in Hue the night before. So, you can see exactly why we are so elated for a shower and clean pajamas tonight!
The last nine days have been full of wonderful new experiences and adventures. Traveling with the children has been tough, I cannot lie. Their high energy and independent natures are blessed traits, but tough when trying to see a country in nine days. Do we expect too much from our kids? Is it fair that we make them adhere to a rigorous itinerary to fulfill our travel desires? At the end of the day they are still kids, and as a whole they did a commendable job. Will we do it again? Hard to say. Traveling with young kids is like giving birth. It is painful and exhausting. There is a lot of yelling. But eventually you forget the pain and think… hey, maybe we want to do this again? Layne gives me two months before the travel bug bites again.
Until I get my act together; unpacking, restocking the larder, conquering laundry hill; here are some random tidbits from our trip:
Orion thinks walking through water buffalo dung is hilarious.
Layne ate his weight in pho bo (beef noodle soup).
Charlotte wowed another Asian country with her golden curls.
At a Christmas Eve presentation, church children sang Frosty the Snowman in Vietnamese to which Orion said to his father “No, no, no, this is a REAL song. It is called Frosty the Snowman!”
My favorite one-sided conversation of the trip which helped put into perspective how amazing this world is and how thankful I am to have the experiences we have:
“Layne, can I just say this aloud to let it sink in? We are hiking through ancient Cham ruins. In Vietnam. Around bomb craters. On Christmas day.”
And I finally found a place so cheap that we ordered beer AND appetizers at each meal ($1 for a plate piled high of handmade fresh spring rolls? Yes, please!).
Also, for the record, I am tired of smug looking backpackers traveling “light” out of one ridiculously sized pack tottering above their heads. You think you’re tough? You want to see hardcore travel? Follow us for a day. Anyone can go solo with one bag. Try many bags and two children in tow who are constantly looking for snacks, toys, wanting to pet rabid looking dogs, wiping little running noses, keeping them from being run down by crazy motor scooters all while touring the Nguyen Imperial Tombs.
And, in the famous words of Robert Frost…
“I have miles of laundry before I sleep,
miles of laundry before I sleep.”