March 24, 2013

Santa Barbara Schools - Vietnam - Day One

Are we really here?

Palace Hotel, Saigon District One, 1:36 p.m. March 22nd

Twenty-seven hours after hopping on the Airbus in Santa Barbara, we have arrived in Vietnam. Our bellies are full of Pho from "Pho 24" down the street from our hotel, and we have settled in for a quick nap before exploring some authentic Vietnamese cuisine with our guide, Mr. Hau, this evening.

Our three Laguna boys - Carter, Jack and Pierce - will probably not be napping considering they seem to have a never-ending supply of energy. I feel like I've heard enough of Carter's Christopher Walken impersonation for a lifetime, but to these guys it never gets old. You've got to hand it to all of our seven students, though... They haven't complained once through long lines, cramped seats, airline food and all of the other little speed bumps that come standard with long international travel.

Kayla is our least experienced traveler, having never flown further than Washington DC, and she has embraced this whole experience with wide eyes and a smile. The other three - Daniel, Malaya and Bea - are more reserved and reflective. The 30-minute bus ride from the airport to our hotel was a treat in itself. It is semi-organized chaos on the streets, with motorbikes going all different directions and a completely random assortment of architectural styles. There were about 10 puppies being sold in a cage on the side of the road. At first we all admired how cute they were, but it is a little heartbreaking to see them caged up like that...
Okay I miss my dogs terribly.
There will undoubtedly be a lot of roadside scenes over the next week that are commonplace her but very foreign to us.

 It is very hot, humid and sticky. It should cool down later this evening, and when we finally tuck in for the night, it's going to be a deep, deep sleep for us all.


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