Culture Shock

Twenty hours was a long time to be travelling coach. It was seemingly endless routine of watching the first ten minutes of a movie on my seatback screen, falling asleep, being woken up by the service cart rattling down the aisle, getting up to go to the head, not because I had to, but just to stretch my legs and prevent a DVT from developing, then returning to my seat and restarting the movie from the beginning.

We landed in Saigon just after six PM. By the time we collected our luggage and cleared customs, twilight had settled over the city. Daylight was fading fast, and was just as quickly replaced with halogen and neon. My first surprise? The high rise in the distance capped with logos for Pizza Hut and KFC. Colonel Sanders, Ho Chi Minh’s western doppelganger.

We boarded the minibus Sopheap’s family had hired for us and headed off into the throng of mopeds that filled the city streets. It would be another six hours before we reached Praek Dong and I met my future in-laws.

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