Published: March 25th 2006March 23rd 2006
I play it safe the next few days and stick to the sites and restaurants recommended by every backpackers travel bible, the Lonely Planet. I try not to whip it out in public (as if I don’t look like a tourist already), so I spend time in my room studying the maps and names of the streets. The language is really so difficult for me, all of the letters come with accessories meaning they have little accents which range from dots to dashes to squiggly “hats” and pointy shoes, the “D” even has a scarf...and all of them have a different tone. For example, you can say the word MA but depending on the accent and tone it can mean either: ghost, mother, which, rice seedling, tomb, or horse. (?)
I am learning most of my Vietnamese in cafes, since I’m traveling alone, the servers have no problem sitting with me and teaching me some words, actually i think they are just taking pity on me because i "crazy american girl who no have husband" . But they are also trying to learn English so it’s a nice exchange. The cafes seem to be the extent of my social life, and I spend the rest of the time with myself which is most enjoyable. Sitting in the town center yesterday it really hits that there is not one person who knows me within thousands of miles, and no one can reach me (mom, don't read that). This could be considered scary but I considered it peaceful.
In the middle of this thought a young girl from Malaysia sits next to me and tells me in very broken English that my hair is very “special”...I’m not sure if that was a compliment.