It was my first time to try solo travel, I’ve been saying it a couple of times that it was one of the most amazing experience I ever had.
I volunteered to teach English in a Homestay in Hanoi, Vietnam. During my stay, I met a lot of wonderful people in just that short span of time. Because of them, Vietnam will always have a special place in my heart.
Another thing that I always say in my travels is that, it’s the people that makes my travel more incredible. Whenever I try to recall a place, it’s the people I’ve spent with, the people I met, the people I travel within that specific place who make it memorable. The things we shared with each other stuck more in my memories rather than the picture of the place.
For me, travel will always be subjective. Even though we travel to the same place, we always experience different things. That’s why we cannot compare one another’s travels and journeys. We can only share and listen and that’s also a wonderful thing to learn and to enjoy each other’s company.
One of the things that I want to share is my visit in Thai Binh Province in Vietnam.
I was with a student in Homestay. She is fair-skinned and a bit thin girl. She says “Fuck you” with her very sharp voice.
I went to Thai Binh Province with her. It was a three-hour drive from Hanoi. We took a bus that her father was driving. We did not pay the fare, which made me happy. Haha.
Since we got up really early, we had to sleep in the bus and I’m pretty sure that I was snoring and drooling, but I did not care at all because I was tired.
Exploring Thai Binh, Vietnam
The moment we arrived at the highway, we took a motorbike and I saw that the province was surrounded with rice fields. A beautiful green scenery that reminded me of my home, the Philippines.
We arrived at her house and we settled in. She gave me a dragon fruit from their front yard garden. I ate it and it was delicious. We explored the area for the entire day. We went to temples, ate a lot of Vietnamese foods, and found an old Catholic Church. Which surprised me since they are not a catholic country.
As we were exploring her town, I realized that Vietnamese farmers are more privileged than Filipino farmers. My grandfather was a farmer, and though he was not rich, he had enough since he owned the land that he farmed unlike other Filipinos farmers who do not own the land they farm.
We had lunch with her parents and they gave me a warm welcome even though they do not speak English. They prepared a delicious chicken meal, and vegetable soup. My friend, translated the things her parents wanted to say to me. We had a conversation and it was nice to interact, and laugh with them even though we had a language barrier. I realized that it really doesn’t matter at all.
A New Taste
Just a quick background and story.
The Homestay where we stayed was near the wet market. During the day, vegetables and fruits were displayed on the streets and there were a lot people in the area. At night, filthy rats were sneaking and crawling near the market.
One night, we went out and while we were walking on this narrow street, the rats were climbing on the fences and not to mention, also on the trees. I was disgusted and amazed at the same time how they did it. But throughout my extensive encounters with rats, there was one thing I couldn’t believe, what I actually did in Thai Binh.
At dinner, we dined together with her friends. Only she and I talked in English and the rest were all talking in Vietnamese. One of the dishes was made out of a rat meat. She said “You should try it” . I asked her “Are you kidding? Are you sure this is rat meat?” . She said “Yes!” Since I did not want to be rude and since they were eating it, I was pretty sure it wouldn’t kill me. So I tried it. Surprisingly, it tasted really good!
That night, rats turned from disguising to delicious for me, haha. And that sums up my Thai Binh experience.
For more, you can watch my YouTube video below!