Disclaimer: These are my views and do not reflect the views of the Peace Corps.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

On the way to Vietnam

I came into the Peace Corps office a little early to do my mid-service medical exam and dental cleaning. I still don't like the dentist. My teeth hurt for awhile afterward, but they did something to make them very shiny too. I'm not exactly sure what it was as I just lay there with my eyes closed and mouth open and let them do their thing.

A note of explanation (which will make sense later): I have two passports. My personal passport and a PC issued passport. The PC passport has a label on the front "This passport is not for personal use. Return after service." Seems like a pretty unambiguous message.

I had gotten my Visa a few weeks before and put it in my personal passport. The guy at the Visa office assured me this would be fine. The border guard disagreed. My four to five hour trip to the border of Vietnam, stopped there, and I waited around for a bus to bring me back. I didn't have both of my passports and the PC passport has the Cambodia Visa, which you need to leave Cambodia. Blah. False start. Peace Corps was really great about helping me at this point though. They sent a driver to my site to grab my other passport which I'd left at my host family's house and I was on my way back to Vietnam the next day.

At the border, I ran into a few other Peace Corps volunteers who were coming on another bus, but I got pushed through customs and didn't think I'd see them again (as our phones don't work). My friend Matt had brought both passports and was in the day before. I met some friendly Americans on the bus and went with them to eat street food and find an internet cafe. Coming out of the cafe, I ran into the group of volunteers again, and yet again, wandering the streets looking for Matt. We all ended up in a park together and then went to the mall. Matt and I stayed in Ho Chi Minh, while the other volunteers took off for the beach. We played in the arcade and went bowling that night.

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