Tuesday, May 26, 2009

vietnam otra vez

When I go to get a new job (at least one year in the future) and some one asks me what doing this job taught me I am going to say it was an ability to go with the flow and deal with what life dishes out. If you don't have flexibility then you are fucked.
Yesterday I met Jorge, who is L-A-T-I-N-O. Pinche latinos, always f'ing my shit up. I fly 41 hours from Latin America and they still manage to find me and keep me on my toes. Honestly this wasn't really Jorge's fault, I should take the blame, it is all my crazy idea generating mind's fault. The situation goes something like this:
I am sitting in the oasis of JoMa, coffee heaven in Laos: wireless, good coffee, comfy seats. Jorge appears in typical latino fashion: loud, passionate, full of life, and he is freaking out a bit because he is running a trip blind with a tough group. So we do the TL decompression thing: talk about crazy pax, what we have been doing, etc etc. Then we decide to go pay our bills at our local operator. This ends up being more complicated as we get lost, have the wrong address, find a tuk-tuk, get lost again, get found and realize that Jorge doesn't have a Vietnamese visa and he is leaving TOMORROW (which is now today). Of course Jorge is Peruvian and the Vietnamese embassy probably only have a vague idea of where Peru is, and have decided that Jorge is not coming in. I am gringa, si? And though we are a nation of Imperialist puppets we are allowed to go into their proud Vietnamese nation. So now the shit goes down, PINCHE JORGE gets to take my AMAZING group through Laos, and I have to go back to Vietnam. I like Vietnam a lot, but Laos is my place, it is my Guatemala. So man I am pissed.
I guess this is my way of telling you I am going back to Vietnam.

This all is compounded by having an absurd experience trying to get out of Vietnam just 2 days prior. We crossed at what the Lonely Planet dubs, 'a remote crossing,' which was pretty obvious as we arrived during lunch hour and the whole place was empty. Well except for the WC attendant who was very clear that the toilets cost 5oooVND to use. I guess it was worth it, they were relatively clean. Anyhow, after the end of lunch call sounded we loaded all the passports through the WINDOW FOR EXIT OF FOREIGNERS FROM VIETNAM and started to wait. Then it turned out that two of the passports hadn't gotten stamped upon entry. So now we are in 'remote' Vietnam with a man telling me, 'no stamp, no Laos." GREEEEAAAAT. After the man makes 5 phone calls, makes photocopies that he doesn't have a place to file, we finally get our stamps and are allowed to leave. Plus there was a thorough investigation of the extra pages that have been stuck in my passport, they didn't seem to impressed by the taping job that the American Embassy in Costa Rica had done. I just can't wait to do that all over again.
The beauty of it is that as soon as you get out of Vietnam it all immediately shifts to Laoatian smiles and good vibes. Vietnam may have Hoi An, but Laos has my heart.

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