Still feeling a bit lethargic and overwhelmed by Vietnam, I arrived in Hoi An and wasn’t entirely gung ho about sightseeing and taking photos. Despite my mood, the town proved to be a nice place to hang out. The old part of town is a UNESCO site and has some striking examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture. About 5 km away is a surprisingly peaceful beach. Throw in the opportunity to get cheap, custom-made clothes from one of the abundant tailors in town as well as some delicious food and there’s enough to keep a jaded traveler going for a few days.
After Hong Kong I felt another bout of travel fatigue setting in. I flew to Manila and stayed for just a four-day layover, which was meant to be relaxing but instead just added to my anxieties, as Manila is a rather dirty, hectic, and poverty-stricken city. From Manila I flew to Ho Chi Minh City, which was again extremely hectic and stress-inducing. I was not in the mood to sightsee or take a lot of photos, although I did visit the War Remnants Museum which was a sobering way to spend an afternoon.
When I finally got to the beach town of Nha Trang, it was great to relax and eat some delicious, cheap fish dishes. I finally got back into a travel mood and started sightseeing again. One of the few main sights in Nha Trang is the Long Son Pagoda, a Buddha statue and temple situated about a 20-minute walk from the main part of town. I got lucky and ended up being the only tourist there, although when I was leaving a massive group of talkative Russians was coming through the gate. Also detracting from the peaceful atmosphere were rather aggressive “students” selling overpriced postcards. Despite this, the site was worth seeing and spending a few minutes walking around.
I’ve been on the road about six months now and it’s definitely starting to wear on me. Planning and research is a complete chore rather than an exciting exercise in possibility. Packing my bag, which used to be a careful strategy, has now become mission to smush everything together in as little time as possible. Every church and monastery is identical to the last. I can’t be bothered to hike up another mountain, learn a few phrases in a new language, or get excited by unfamiliar food. Staying in bed watching movies for two days straight is the most enticing activity my mind can grasp.