Monday, September 22, 2008

It's Not What You Think Anymore

The new airport shocked me.

I was expecting to feel the heat hit my body as I left the plane, but I was comforted with air conditioning. This is not the same airport that I landed in during my trip in 2006.

The airport was modern. It looked exactly like SFO, exactly like the airport in Korea. Organized, clean, systematic. The baggage claim section was organized. I was expecting chickens and people gambling on the side. But none of that took place. This was Saigon's NEW international airport and it met international standards from the inside of the building to the pick up and loading zone.

I didn't get hassled like my mom thought I would. It was smooth. It was professional. Bribing seemed to be out of the question now. I observed the boxes that poured on to the conveyor belt. They must be filled with things that people think Vietnam does not have. After all, they escaped war... what were they returning to? It's not what you think anymore.

During customs, they were distracted by someone in front of me. They had to open their entire box. I was scared that I would be taxed for having so many electronics, but I wasn't even looked at. My dad says my it was my grandma that made my trip very pleasant.


My cousin picked me up and took me to his apartment. It was spacious, there was a kitchen and two bedrooms and everything was comfortable. And.. wireless.


It's 2am and I took a stroll by myself. I was nervous, but no longer afriad. I crossed the street like a local- constant speed, no fear, look forward. It helped that there were only 2 motor bikes out. It's good practice.

I went to a 24 hour store to get a toothbrush. I was expecting mom and pop, rickety shelves, mold. But what I found was 7-11. Bright lights, functional cash register, clean shelves. I bought some Oreos to see if they tasted different. 8000VND. That's 25cents. No bargain needed, the price was clearly printed. The items were scanable. No more pulling wads of cash to give change.

Where am I?

I want to take pictures so badly, but I didn't even bring it on my walk. Even though things are changing... I shouldn't be so comfortable to wave my electronics around just because the Airport was amazing the 24 hour store was equally impressive.

My cousin warned me about theft. How things are quickly stolen and grabbed from people's hands.

But in due time. I will try to photograph everything.

I have so much to say, but it's getting late and my cousin needs to sleep. I have to make a to do list. Time is so precious to me now, i want to do everything.

-Buy dress shoes
-Contact other cousin and deliver her gifts from my mom.
-Find a bookstore
-Register for a popping class with my cousin
-Check out the volunteer program down the street
-Exchange money
-Find an apartment that's close to my cousin and has wireless
-Learn how to ride a mo-ped
-Prepare for interview on Thursday
-Make friends
-Live it up

1 comment:

JV said...

the new airport HELLLAA shocked me toooo!! things have changed a lot...but at the same time, you'll find many things (like poverty) that haven't changed at all..