After a few hours arriving in Tapei, Taiwan, Kevin stated that “this would easily be a city that he would live in.” We only spent a week in Taiwan, but we were both impressed by the friendliness of the people, clean streets, city parks, and the FOOD! Kevin also loved the Chinese Mandarin language. And, I was obsessed with the stoplights. They have an animated guy walking or running depending on how much time you have to cross the street!
In a Vietnam hostel, we met a Taiwanese traveler, Jyeru. When we arrived in Taiwan, she reached out to us and offered to meet up. She led us through the night market, pointed us to great tasting street food and shared her stories about growing up in Taiwan. The fact that she took time out of her schedule and rode the train for 30 minutes to meet up with people that she didn’t know really meant a lot to us and demonstrates the friendliness of Taiwanese people.
Vietnam has been my favorite country while traveling throughout South East Asia. Our days were packed with unforgettable adventure experiences – scenic hikes, canyoning, exploring caves, dancing on tables with our new English friends, riding a motorbike through rice fields, tattoos and discussing politics with people from all over the world. It has also been humbling being an American, diving deeper into the impacts of the Vietnam War and witnessing first-hand how forgiving, compassionate and tenacious the Vietnamese people are.
Due to Vietnam’s vertical, narrow “S” shape, most people travel from south to north or vice versa. We started in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) which used to be the capital of Southern Vietnam. The city currently is named after Ho Chi Minh who is the leader of the Vietnamese Independence movement. He was the driver in the reunification of Vietnam during the war and is still memorialized in posters and statues all over this country.
But before we got in, we had to obtain visas. To get them, we had to go to a town called Sihanoukville, Cambodia. It is a port town and in desperate need of Captain Planet.
Nonetheless, we had a wonderful experience watching the Eagles versus Patriots Super bowl at 6 am. Beer and bloody marys flowing, we cheered in an Eagles win and met new friends actually from Pennsylvania.