The resonating heart beat of the city echoes with each sound of the motorcycle horn. It is a ceaseless pulsating hum that forms the backdrop to Ho Chi Minh. Hanging thick in the air is not the pollution you would expect from a city bustling with seven million people. Instead the air is heavy with the whispers of history that define this city.
As I walk down the haphazard streets, idyllic with terraces painted into the landscape by the brush of an artist bearing his heart with each stroke. It is easy to feel the voices of the past caress through the bougainvilleas draping down the verandas and twisting their way down the door entrances.
A heavy sadness lives here. The faces of the old tell tales that need no words to describe. The deep set eyes that pierce through you are not inhibited by language. Instead these eyes speak a clarity that overwrites any history book. Yet among the grey there is budding blossoms of colour. Much like the lotus flower that is held with such pride, every now and again on the streets you catch a glimpse of hope.
A little girl cradled in the arms of her father as he playfully encourages her to take her first steps on the pavements of Hoi An as endless traffic buzzes by. A mother and son on the night of the lantern festival, as flames of candles flickering in hand sewn silk lanterns cast shadows of red, yellow and green across the moss covered walls. She sits and plays with her little boy, cocooned in a space broken only by the shrieks of laughter as he succumbs to his mother’s tickles.
That laughter is the break in the chain. It is the promise of hope, where one day the past will be a lesson to learn from and not a burden to carry.
Vietnam stole my heart. There was something about the people, and especially the South, that latched onto my heart strings in a way that very few places have. And the food! The food was nothing short of amazing. With each place, each dish we sat down to indulge in it seemed that the culinary experience only kept getting better. I think I may have even eaten my weight in spring rolls.
When I travel, whether it is eight hours on a plane heading north or three hours in a car heading east, my only hope is that I keep myself open to all the possibility that lies in wait for me. Yes, the custom made suits and shoes, the silk dresses, the amazing food are all wonderful experiences to have and beautiful keepsakes to own, but our trip to Vietnam gave me so much more. My appreciation of Vietnam and my deeper understanding of the culture and the truly humble, beautiful people that live there is the greatest memory I have walked away with.
I will be sharing the places where we stayed, the places we loved visiting, shopping in and some fabulous restaurants in another post, so stay tuned.
Have you been to Vietnam? Would you like to go?
Conversations over Coffee ~ Conversations with Expectation ~ link up opens on Thursday March 27, everyone is welcome x