Phillip Cabrera's Blog

March 6, 2011

Loving the locals in Bac Kan

We began our journey to the city of Bac Kan. This included a bus ride back to the airport because we had to pick up the rest of the volunteers who were participating in the mission. We waited there for a little over two hours until we were ready to go. But during this time and after a little exploring, I had my first encounter with the people of Vietnam.

I explored a small alley that was flooded and the only way to get across it was by bricks that were laid there. As I was leaving the area, students took photos of the locals and when the locals saw me, they grabbed at me to see if I was really this big. I learned that they were excited to see someone like me because not many people are big out here, or tall for that matter. No matter how prepared I was to get some unexpected attention from the locals, it was weird the first time I actually experienced it. I did not take any offense to it because they were not malicious about it, unlike in America.

During the bus ride to Bac Kan, I had my eyes glued to the window. Endless fields of rice paddies. Kids playing in the streets literally inches away from moving vehicles. I saw a chopped down tree stump – a monkey waved to our bus, chained to the stump. I wondered to myself, how amazing is to see? An old man and young boy, who was probably his grandchild, laughed hysterically. It was a very heart warming thing to see.

At the hotel we had dinner, which included tofu, chicken, beef, rice, watermelon and pork. I tried everything willingly. It tasted weird but I was hungry, so I ate what I had. I got my own room but there was nothing special about it. The bathroom had mold on the floor because the bathtub could not catch all of the water when it sprayed out.