I’ve been really looking forward to write this post, as within it lies a life experience that I’ll always remember and a story that I’ll be telling for years to come.
The story goes like this….
Today is our last day in Saigon, our next destination is Hoi An (the historical city).
To get around Vietnam,a very popular method is taking the “open tour” sleeping bus.
The system of this bus goes like this, there is a source city and a destination city and multiple stops in between, you can stop at any city in between, spend few days if you like, then take the bus again and continue your route with the same ticket.
Our ticket was from Saigon to hanoi with stops at: muinee/nha trang/hoi an/hue
The cost of this ticket was: 36$
We decided to stop at Hoi An, the “estimated” time from Saigon to Hoi An is 24 hours … “estimated” xD
2 cities and a road
The bus moved from Saigon, proceeding according to schedule.
It had its first stop at muinee, then the second stop at nha trang.
Then it had its third stop at ……. the middle of NOWHERE!!!
The flood is COMING!!
All of a sudden, the bus came to a grinding halt, literally in the middle of nowhere, right before dawn .. .. and it stopped it’s engine.
Everyone started to wake up coz of the heat inside the bus due to the turned off AC.
It’s pitch black outside and the bus “crew” is all outside.
After about half an hour of waiting, we went out to ask what was the problem.
We found out that due to heavy rain in the night before, the road is completely flooded and we can’t proceed.
The line of buses and trucks in front of us extended for more than 5 kilometers.
After hours of waiting, we asked about the only sane alternative we can think of … why don’t we go back to nha trang?
That was when we found out that the road behind us was flooded as well right after we passed it in the previous night.
So there we were, stuck between two flooded areas with the possibility of the flood moving to our location.
Every couple of hours, the bus would move for few kilometers before stopping again.
Along this journey we got to see and experience the true rural Vietnam.
From watching Vietnamese poker, to arm wrestling some locals (to which I so easily lost xD)
As the bus would stop at rural areas on the high way, places you’d never get the chance to actually go to on your own.
We met a lot of incredibly friendly locals, their English was nearly non existent yet we understood each others just fine!!
We ate in a local restaurant on our way, where I had the BEST beef noodles soup I’ve ever had since I came to Vietnam for only 20,000 dong ()
We played cards (Uno) and taught the locals there how to play it and we asked them to join us.
A total of 16 hours, we were stuck between the floods, it was long enough to enjoy the rural Vietnam, and for us to make awesome friendships with the other travelers on the bus with us 🙂
The bus started moving, and few hours later we reach hoi an.
We reached the city at midnight, we had no hotels booked, so we had to look for a place to stay.
While we were looking around, we came to a great realisation!!
Half the city of Hoi An was flooded earlier this morning, all the tourists had to evacuate to the other half of the city, hence there was nearly no rooms available except few rooms in fancy resorts that goes for 50$ a night.
A mile outside my comfort zone
After looking around for quite some time, we realized it was no use.
We walked around till we found a nice looking “closed” cafe.
We put our bags on the pavement in front of it. …… and we slept.
Yup we were homeless right out in the open, sleeping in the streets and you know what …… IT WAS AWESOME!!
I’m not gonna lie, I was anxious at first, really uncomfortable, mainly coz I was scared someone would steal my bag along with my passport and stuff, so once I secured my bag, I slept soundly.
The cold ceramic floor, the windy weather and the sound of the trees swaying with the wind were apparently the right combination for a good night sleep xD
It was quite funny seeing the street cleaning ladies walk past us and giggle while watching us xD.
The next day I woke up to the beautiful face of a motorcycle guy asking me “YO WAN HOTEL?”
but more on that later ……
Basel ……… OUT
(All pictures are captured with Samsung Galaxy Note I & Note II phone cameras)