Away from home, recalling my amazing storiesSeptember 16, 2016

It was probably the most scenic part of Ho Chi Minh, where a park would separate the Reunification Palace from the Saigon Post Office. Two structures represented two historical events, and both were polar opposites. Whoever thought about the park might be thinking of making peace with the past. There was a cafe in front of the park, which could be the perfect place to muse about the exotic sights in this part of Vietnam. But I was more interested in the conversation of my fellow tourists. They weren't far away from me, and they would list down the reasons on why a backpacker would make the best traveller. I would agree with their reasons.

There was nothing wrong in getting drunk in a faraway land. I wouldn't risk the embarrassment, but I was fortunate not to meet familiar faces. I have nothing against travellers who must join a day-long group tour. Some would fancy sightseeing, while I prefer meeting locals. This won't be one of those days, though. I was getting bored, so I checked my mailbox. My sister told me about the new cafe near the university. She loved the coffee in wine glasses. She couldn't have enough of the hybrid pastry. And she reminded me to try the lobster doughnut burger after my return. I became homesick until I noticed the dark sky. I was curious about the monsoon rain.

What was so good about Finland?

I was awed at the sound of the heavy rainfall, but I was reading Rachel's little worries. My coursemate would point out the high-paying salary of Finnish teachers despite the shorter working schedule. There won't be any assessments. And the students wouldn't dread the homework. I suppressed my laughter after reading the last one, as it reminded me of our group meetings. The road to authorship would be paved with potholes and detours.

I hardly understood Rachel's opinion, as I didn't consider an academic career. I've been in this part of Indochina during the last few weeks, and I haven't figured out my next move. But this was the essence of a gap year. I would take a holiday, if not have a good time. And then an enlightenment along the way. It didn't happen during the long bus trip. (I slept in a narrow bed, which was too small for me.) I might see the sign during the next bus trip. I was told that it would take six hours to travel from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh. I didn't bring my best mate. We might end up as lovers. I was pulling a leg, as I was referring to an Elizabeth Gilbert novel that Rachel read many times. The author was a lucky one, as a majority of divorced women couldn't mend their broken heart by travelling around the world. Vietnam wouldn't be bad at all, though.

The rain stopped. I thought it was high time to visit the Independence Palace. It was my fifth day in the southern metropolis, but I explored the nightlife instead.

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