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旅行日期: 2016/08/27 21:00

Keep Coming Back and Going

Big and Small

The night we left Vietnam, the city decided to send us off with a gentle rain. We were sitting inside a taxi on our way to the airport, the vehicle moved a several metres and stopped again. We are just a little raindrop in the Saigon traffic. The taxi fall silent as I tried to relive the conversations we had in the past two weeks.


I could vividly recall the name of the chef we met in Ninh Binh. The way he cleared his throat and pronounced his name like a online dictionary. “Paul,” he introduced himself then continued the conversation with mandarin. Paul was working as a chef in the hostel we shortly stayed for a night. Having worked in the southern China, he learned Mandarin from eavesdropping his Chinese colleagues and his boss.


“Who has money for chinese lessons?”


But Paul is working at the hostel not just hoping to cook. “I am also here to learn how to operate a business like this. Especially a hostel like this which provides a chance to meet people from different cultures and places.” He said with much ambition. “Wait till one day when I scraped up enough money then I can go back to my hometown and open up my own hostel business.”


“How much do you need to save in order to open a business like this hostel?”


“Around 100 million vietnam dong (around 35000hkd). But it is exceptionally hard to save up money if we are not like white-collars in an office. Let alone there are no white-collars here in Ninh Binh.”


Then we are immediately translated back into Ho Chi Minh. Our taxi was suddenly behind another green taxi. Looking out the windows the raindrops slide down smoothly with momentum as they gained weight. Trung from the backseat broke the silence and started chatter with the taxi driver.


“Should we get the bags and walk to the airport? It’s just 1 km away.” He firmly suggested. The flight was going to leave in 30 minutes yet we were at the middle of the traffic. We left the taxi under the gentle rain as the surrounding scooters gave us their worried looks. They knew we have a flight to catch.


Trung was working as the receptionist at the hostel we were staying in Saigon. Because of his work, he gets the chance to, again, meet travellers coming from different cultures and countries. But for himself, travelling to another foreign country is never an easy task. Young adults, whether just graduated from college or highschool, are curious about the world outside. Yet they are welcomed by a lot of restrictions such as lacking the financial resources.


“Going or travelling abroad is not just about having enough money.” Trung said.


Twenty-somethings like Trung when applying visas for travelling faces a lot of hurdles. Aside from paying a huge amount of visa fee, the authority requires the applicant to have a certain amount of saving in their bank accounts.


“This is to ensure wealthy people are really travelling but not leaving Vietnam for work and never coming back.”


We reached the airport at last pierced through the scooter sea. 15 minutes till the flight took off as we stood in front of the check-in counter. We hugged Trung one by one, took a picture togeth_MG_9750er and hurried through the departure security.

Saying goodbyes are not necessarily a sad thing. The more you travel then you would realize how small yet big the world is. People come and go and come again to new and old places. We are lucky enough to live in such digitalized era where we can maintain the connection as if in-person, yet it is when we leave our comforts and venture into the big wild world and this is when our minds are ready for the most impact.


城市是空,故事是人寫的。記錄城市的方法有很多種,而越南的故事選擇了我們。 從北越到南越,遊走鄉村與城市,發掘當地人的故事。
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