WOW, it has been a long time since I have had time to sit down and journal! We are at the point of the voyage where we are only at sea for 2 days in between these ports and it goes by so quickly with all our final journals/papers needing to be done! I know I am almost 3 ports behind so I am going to take it back to March 19 when we went to Vietnam!

Day 1: All I can say about the first day was it was spent in every market there possibly was in Vietnam. It felt like China Town/Canal Street in New York! Every purse you ever dreamed of, every jacket you could have possibly wanted was in one place. We all went a little crazy with our shopping this day, it was the perfect place to buy presents because everything was so cheap yet looked so real! We walked around all day, even in the rain, just enjoying the busyness of the city! There were motorbikes everywhere and it seemed as if everyone was in a hurry! I finally felt I was in a place that worked at the same pace as America. That night was my friends 21st birthday so we went to the sushi restaurant next to the port, it was my first time ever trying sushi and also salmon. It felt weird to actually like it! Now the events of the rest of the night are kind of hard for people not on semester at sea to understand so I will try my hardest to explainback when we were in Ghana, two students that had met at the beginning of the voyage got married. This was not a joke nor did they take it lightly. It was known all over the ship and everyone had thought it was very odd, well last port this couple had left the country we were supposed to be in and ultimately got kicked off the voyage because that is not allowed. To get to the point of the nighttwo students decided it would be funny to get fake married in Vietnam! I have never laughed harder in my whole entire life, everyone got really dressed up and it took place at a local hotel. We all sat in the seats like a normal wedding but when the groomsmen started walking down the aisle wearing wigs and double fisting beers, there was no way it could be taken seriously. A life long learner from the voyage walked the girl down the aisle and behind them written in roses was CONGRATULATIONS! It was such a fun night because a lot of people came together just for the sole purpose of having a good laugh. It was the perfect start to the trip! Oh we also rode on motorbikes that night

Day 2: This day was hard for everyone to wake up for, after enjoying such a fun night our alarms were set bright and early to head to the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Mekong Delta. We started off at the Cu Chi Tunnels, almost a 2 hour drive from our port. We took a tour and walked around inside of them for almost 3 hours. It was amazing to see how many ways they devised to stay hidden but also to actually feel the back pain they must have felt to be bent over for that many hours! The other part to it was there were bats everywhere!!! At one point I turned around and one was just sitting on my friends backpack! We were also told that often times when the US were within close proximity they could spend up to weeks in the tunnels and often times without food. Due to fact they were underground, often times with no food and also with poisonous bugs, death was rampant. The tunnels were such an advantage to the Viet Cong but the one thing working against them was the awful conditions in which they had to live under!

Later in the day we took another car ride to the Mekong Delta, this in which I am unsure of its exact meaning. We spent the rest of the day taking a boat from island to island. At one island we stopped and tried all the fruit that they eat. We had dragon fruit, papaya, pineapple, and a very large fruit that no one could give us the spelling of! I love fruit so I enjoyed this stop the most! The locals played us music while we sat there and enjoyed the fruit. The next island we stopped at was where we learned how to make the tea they all enjoyed. Surrounding us as we sat to learn was thousands of bee hives, the location they get all their fresh honey from for the tea. The tea was very odd, it tasted amazing but had the weirdest ingredients. The ingredients were: honey, seeds from oranges but actual lemon juice, and then a hint of a very dark wine. If I had not known what was in it those would have been my last guesses! Next in islands was where they made their coconut candy they are supposedly famous for! The island was covered in palm trees with VERY large coconuts. We got to sit and observe the process of how they are made. It is actually from the coconut milk that the candies are made, and the rest of the coconut is used to make the coconut flakes we often times see sprinkled on bakery goods. We then got to get on little canoes and go down the river. As we were on the river you would see little kids everywhere carrying those large fruits I mentioned earlier. From this I can assume that they are mostly found along the rivers edge but I would never have expected little kids to be the ones in charge of picking these fruit. Our last stop of the day was a horse/carriage ride to lunch. It was the slowest moving horse and the ride took about a half hour! Lunch was great besides the two large fish that were put directly on our table. I am not a fan of seeing fish in that form!

After our full day we headed back to enjoy another night out on the town!

Day 3: At this point, Vietnam was kind of getting old. We could only go shopping that many times and the heat was getting almost unbearable! Late in the day we took a two hour flight to Nha Trang, a beachy city, and spent the night enjoying the breeze coming off the sea. We went to dinner at a nice hotel restaurant and it felt like paradise. After dinner it started raining so we headed back to our hotel quickly and spent the night on the deck watching the city. It was busy until late in the night and it was almost soothing to listen to the traffic after only hearing waves for 3 months!

Day 4: We spent this day in the 80-degree heat posted on the beach. I fell asleep almost instantly and was completely fried by the end of the day! It had been a while since we had seen good weather so I felt completely unprepared for those temperatures but nonetheless it was the best way to spend a day before going back on the ship. We enjoyed a nice dinner and night before boarding an early morning flight the next day.

Day 5: Back in Vietnam, exhausted from flyingwe spent the day at the markets once again. Getting any last minute things we thought we had forgotten! We had to be back on the ship early that day so we could head out before tides changed! Its so funny the things you never thought you would have to wait for, the tides changing, the wind direction, the wind speed!

I loved Vietnam, at some points it was definitely overshadowed by the humidity and heat we were overwhelmed with but I enjoyed the people and all the places I got to see!


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