Anyhow, after enjoying our airport latte, we were off to Ho Chi Minh City where Anthony would be flying home from later that night and I would be catching a bus in the morning to move on to Cambodia.
We had been warned a few times about the chaos of HCMC. Its bigger, noisier and more crowded than Bangkok and Hanoi. Having been completely overwhelmed in those cities, we knew one afternoon would be plenty of time to spend here.
I was presently surprised to discover it wasn't all that bad. It certainly was busy and crowded that's for sure, but it was no different than any other major city. In fact, I found it to be much more comfortable than the two previous cities. HCMC was a commerce center, had schools, shopping, cinemas, restaurants (not just for travelers) and all the other "normalcies" of a regular city. This was a place that I could make sense off. Hanoi and Bangkok (especially Hanoi) was a complete gong show of cars, motorbikes, vendor stalls, narrow streets and shoulder to shoulder people non stop. It was loud and fast and chaos. HCMC, while very busy, was civilized, organized and modern. It was a Vietnamese New York City.
We found a perfectly located hotel for the night right inside backpacker central. Everything we needed was within a few blocks - cheap food, shops for last minute souvenirs, travel agents galore and cheap cold beer. After booking my bus ticket for the morning, we were quick to enjoy the later.
Anthony and I said goodbye at 9pm so he could get back to the airport in time. He would be stopping in Tokyo for about 6 hours and I hope he ventures out on his own to explore. Depends on how much I've rubbed off on him I guess.
Right now, I'm catching up on my postings as I ride the bus into Cambodia and so far traveling solo has had some unexpected emotions.
I consider myself an adventurous and independent woman, I never hesitated at the idea of traveling on my own for a few reasons. First, being on my own was never a good enough reason to stop me from doing anything. Secondly, I've actually always preferred to be on my own, I enjoy it and quite often find myself in search of solitude. The last year I've spent with Anthony seems to have had an influence on that however. As I progress thru my years, I've come to know myself pretty well and understand that I just am someone that always needs "me" time. Even from my best of friends, I always need a little break for some time to be alone. This trip has revealed a little something about myself that's really surprised me. I much prefer being with Anthony, anytime.
Everything is more fun when he's there, I am happier with him than alone, he makes me feel safe and I never need a break from his company. Saying goodbye last night, for the first time in a very long time I felt nervous being alone. I didn't like it and even today, my nerves are not settled. I know I will be fine, I will travel smart and safe and I'm sure it won't be long before I met some other travelers to keep me company.
For now, I miss my redhead and am just pouting because I want him to be here with me and not back in the real world (of work and responsibility).
So, from a bus stop somewhere on the Cambodian boarder, I'm searching for my "temporarily misplaced" sense of adventure and independence to make the most of the incredible experiences that lie ahead.