Thursday, January 5, 2017

Monsoon Season

We arrived in Vietnam just in time for Monsoon season.  And everything we wanted to see and do was outside.  Hiking, waterfalls, spelunking caves, surfing waves and riding motor bikes.   Not to be deterred by my poor travel planning and lack of waterproof apparel, we forged on.  Through the mud.

Did I mention the motorbike ride was 8 hours long?
On the back of a motorbike?
In the rain?
With our luggage?

Even though we were provided with rain jackets, 8 hours of pelting rain on a bike still makes you wet.

Or that after we hiked through the jungle covered in mud, we swam inside the caves with bats flying over our heads?

And no, the water wasn't warm.  
Even though we were wet and cold a lot of the time, we still had fun.  But, what we didn't have was clean, dry laundry.   Because we pack light.  And in Vietnam, like most of Africa and some of Europe, they don't have dryers.  Which doesn't sound like a big deal.  Just hang the laundry up to dry, right?  But when the humidity is really high and the duration of your stay before you move on to the next destination is so short, your clothes never dry.  And forget your shoes.  Your shoes are a swamp.

Sure, we could go to the market and buy all kinds of name brand clothes replacements. Because nearly every article of clothing is made in Vietnam. Quick, go to your closet and check the labels, I'll wait.  So, you can go get yourself a cheap bootleg North Face jacket made of inferior fabrics by underpaid, over worked, oppressed factory worker on every corner.  That's how Communism works.  But, taking time out to shop, means taking time from actually doing things and we already missed 3 days being stuck in Seattle due to weather.  

After a futile attempt to dry our clothes and shoes out with the blow dryer in the hotel room, we did the only thing left to do. We shoved the wet clothes in plastic bags and packed them to bring them to our next destination.  And while the underdeveloped world may lack a lot of the luxuries of the developed world, like clean air and water, there is no shortage of plastic bags. Thank god. But, do you know what happens to wet clothes in a contained plastic bag?  They have a stench more noxious than a bag of rotten potatoes!  And you know people only pack their favorite clothes to go on vacation.  As if it's fashion week or something.  I mean, it's not like you're going to run into someone you know or anything.    

What's my point?  Photos never do justice to a story.  In part because they're not scratch and sniff.  Also, because you can't hear the fighting because everyone's wet, cold, exhausted with jet lag and thus, at their worst.  And because you can never capture the essence of a place on film.  Which is why you need to travel there in the first place to experience it first hand.  Just maybe not during monsoon season. Also, my other point is...I'm the worst travel planner ever!  


Lucy PH said...

And they say us Brits are obsessed with the weather! In fairness it didn't seem to 'dampen' your spirits ��

Joy Page Manuel said...

Happy New Year! If this had been a picture-perfect vacation with no snags and wet, stinky clothes, it would've been shocking and disappointing. Your readers deserve more than the usual, boring stuff we can find elsewhere. This is the Loerzel way and I love it!


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