Around the World: Gina’s Travel Diaries
Move over, Magellan! Gina Kemper, a FROSCH Leisure agent in our Denver office, just completed an around-the-world journey with Ker & Downey, one of our preferred tour operators. We’re sharing some excerpts from her travelogue. Check back soon for more!
March 12-13 (Vietnam): Just the word Vietnam conjures up so many emotions, many of them unsettling, and this was one place I was very anxious about visiting. As we drove to the hotel, we found out that is the city of motorbikes. There are 8 million people living in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and 6 million registered motor bikes. I witnessed every type of person on these: business men and women wearing 6 inch heels, an entire family on one bike, a water delivery guy carrying ten 5-gallon jugs, a man with boxes of copy paper and even a woman nursing her child.
One evening we went to the night market, where what struck me the most were the children selling the goods. I had little girls coming up to me to sell me items. I was also approached by young girls holding sleeping babies; this was very hard for me to understand. We went on a little walking tour we visited a beautiful little church, a beautiful replica of Notre Dame in Paris. Then on to the Vietnam War Museum, which really affected Bert and made me understand a little more about that part of history.
The Mekong Delta was very much an eye opener to the fact that even though I may think I understand the word poverty, I had no idea. This was an excursion that I am very glad I took. There are parts of it that is beautiful and then there are parts that will tear your heart out. It began with a journey on a little boat. As we floated past the city we came upon a lot of structures that were big sticks in the ground on which people had placed floors and tin walls. They used the river as their bathroom and trash bin for what they couldn’t burn, so it was very polluted. We ate a lunch of sandwiches, fresh fruit and beverages, and we had plenty of leftovers. A couple of times the captain would blow his horn and pull over to the side and the children would come some carrying their baby siblings to get our leftovers. It caused my heart to ache, but these children were smiling and happy. We stopped in one village in Mekong and a family kindly invited us into their home. There were no doors, there was 1 bed and 2 hammocks, a dining room table a picture of Jesus on the cupboard. This tiny house sheltered a family of 7.
We visited an orphanage, which I was hesitant to see, but I was glad to see that these children were well taken care of and were getting an education. Our return to the hotel in Saigon was jarring after having witnessed those conditions. But I feel that this is an excursion not to be missed. We also learned that our tour guide was one of the lucky children that was able to leave Mekong where his family still lived.
Part 1: New Zealand
Part 2: Hong Kong
Part 3: Vietnam
Part 4: Dubai (coming soon)